Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Winemaker of the Year - Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2018: Carolin Gillot-Spanier and H.O. Spanier, Weingut Kühling-Gillot and Weingut Battenfeld-Spanier

Picture: Carolin Gillot-Spanier and H.O. Spanier, Weingut Kühling-Gillot and Weingut Battenfeld-Spanier, are Winemaker of the Year - Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2018. See: Germany’s Best Winemakers and Wines – Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2018 Awards: The Award Ceremony in Mainz, Germany

Carolin Gillot-Spanier and H.O. Spanier, Weingut Kühling-Gillot and Weingut Battenfeld-Spanier, are Winemaker of the Year (Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2018).

Carolin is one of Germany’s gifted female winemakers. After her studies at the University of Geisenheim, she took over her family’s winery Weingut Kühling-Gillot in Bodenheim, in the Northern part of Rheinhessen, not too far away from Frankfurt. Carolin not only took over her family’s winery, but she also married H.O. Spanier, who came with a famous winery, Weingut BattenfeldSpanier in Hohen Sülzen in the Southern part of Rheinhessen. And he also is a gifted, ambitious winemaker. So, you have 2 very talented winemakers, running together 2 of the best German wine estates.

Legally, it is one entity: Weingut Carolin Spanier-Gillot & H.O. Spanier GbR (Gesellschaft bürgerlichen Rechts), with 2 brands: Kühling-Gillot and BattenfeldSpanier.

Inevitably, when you drink a Weingut Kühling-Gillot wine or a Weingut BattenfeldSpanier wine you have the handwriting of both Carolin Spanier Gillot and H.O. Spanier in the glass. At some point, Carolin was saying that the handwriting of her husband was dominating both brands.

Pictures: At the Award Ceremony in Mainz. See: Germany’s Best Winemakers and Wines – Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2018 Awards: The Award Ceremony in Mainz, Germany

Weingut Battenfeld-Spanier

The Weingut Battenfeld-Spanier is in Hohen-Sülzen (Wonnegau area) close to the city of Worms in Southern Rheinhessen. The Spanier family has been making wine for generations. The vineyard area totals 18 hectares, with holdings in: Kirchenstück, Rosengarten und Sonnenberg (Hohen-Sülzen), as well as Frauenberg (Flörsheim). More than 50% of the area is planted with Riesling, as well as with Pinot Noir (20%), Pinot Blanc (8%), Silvaner, Chardonnay and other varieties.

Annual production is around 70.000 bottles of wine. The estate is a member of the VDP association. H. O. Spanier has been a member of the ECOVIN organic growers association since 1996. Weingut Battenfeld-Spanier is now fully biodynamic.

The wine of Weingut Battenfeld-Spanier are available in the US through Fass Selections: Battenfeld Spanier is the most popular German winery that I sell and for a good reason. HO Spanier has the magic touch and everything he makes is simply stunningly well made and delicious from the least expensive wine to the top of the list. He is easily one of the top 5 makers of dry white wine in Germany and located in the top region for dry white wine, the Rheinhessen.

Picture: Philipp Wittmann, Weingut Wittmann, and H.O. Spanier, Weingut Battenfeld-Spanier and Weingut Kühling-Gillot, with Annette Schiller in Mainz. See: VDP.Rheinhessen Invited to a Gala Dinner: The World Class Wines of the VDP.Rheinhessen Winemakers and the World Class Food of Philipp Stein (1 Star Michelin, Favorite), with Klaus Peter Keller, Philipp Wittmann, H.O.Spanier, Caroline Gillot-Spanier and Other Rheinhessen Stars

Weingut Kühling-Gillot

Weingut Kuehling-Gillot is in Bodenheim (Nierstein area) in Rheinhessen in Germany. In its present form, it came about by marriage in 1970 of Caroline Spanier-Gillot’s parents. It has over 200 years of history behind it through the Kühling and Gillot families.

Over the years, the estate has acquired some of the best sites in Germany on the Rhine Terrace and added an architectural gem: its unique park and Art Deco pavilion, and stylish reception hall, tasting room, and vinothek. These have proved popular for a wide variety of events, including our tasting.

The vineyard area of Weingut Kuehling-Gillot totals 11 hectares, with holdings in: Burgweg (Bodenheim), Kreuz and Sackträger (Oppenheim), Ölberg and Pettental (Nierstein) and Rothenberg (Nackenheim). Grape varieties planted are Riesling (4,3 ha), Pinot Noir (0,9 ha), Pinot Gris (0,8 ha), Portugieser (0,8 ha), Chardonnay (0,5 ha) and Scheurebe (0,4 ha).

Annual production is around 70.000 bottles of wine. The estate is a member of the VDP association. Caroline Spanier-Gillot is a member of Message in a Bottle and Vinissima. Weingut Kuehling-Gillot is now fully biodynamic.

Weingut Kuehling-Gillot owns five Grosse Lagen (Grand Cru) sites. These are: Spätburgunder Bodenheim Burgweg, grown on sandy marl limestone; Riesling Nackenheim Rothenberg, grown on red slate; Riesling Nierstein Pettenthal, grown on red slate; Riesling Nierstein Ölberg, grown on red slate; and Spätburgunder Oppenheim Kreuz, grown on shell limestone/loess.

Pictures: At Weingut Kuehling-Gillot. See: The Wine Maker Couple H.O. Spanier and Carolin Spanier-Gillot, with Roland Gillot, Lead Wine Tasting of Kuehling-Gillot and Battenfeld-Spanier Wines at Weingut Kuehling-Gillot, Germany

Biodynamic Wine Making

Carolin and H.O. are very much into “green winemaking”. They share a comitment to leaving a legacy of healthy soil and great wines. To that end, when it comes to the vineyard, they employ biodynamic methods and constantly strive to maintain healthy soils with the capacity to sustain vines. As for making the wine in the cellar, they share the philosophy of what H. O. calls “controlled laissez faire”.

Pooling

Although both estates continue to produce wine under their respective names – Weingut Kuehling-Gillot and Weingut Battenfeld-Spanier - certain functions have been pooled. The tasting room and sales office for both estates is in Bodenheim at Weingut Kuehling-Gillot. As winemakers, both have stamped their wines with a unique signature, but H.O. is taking the lead in terms of winemaking at both estates. Essentially, when it comes to the wines of Weingut Kuehling-Gillot and Weingut Battenfeld-Spanier, they carry the signature of H.O. Spanier.

Picture: Tasting at Weingut Kühling-Gillot in Bodenheim, with Frank Schuber and Roland Gillot. See: Wine Tasting at Weingut Kühling-Gillot in Bodenheim: Kühling-Gillot and Battenfeld-Spanier Wines – Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

A View from the UK

justerinis.com (UK): Kuhling-Gillot and Battenfeld-Spanier represent two estates brought together by marriage but produced by one winemaking team in one cellar. Their focus is on producing great dry wines from top Rheinhessen vineyards with a minimum of intervention. In doing so they favour the savoury and the mineral over the overtly fruity. The Kuhling-Gillot vineyards are located in the Northern Rheinhessen, close to the river, in the red slate heartland between the villages of Nackenheim and Oppenheim. The estate’s history dates back over 200 years, though under different names: the family’s female side has run the estate for generation. Battenfeld-Spanier is a younger affair, set up by the ambitious Oliver Spanier in 1993. His vineyards are a further south, centred around the villages of Hohen-Sulzen, Nieder-Florsheim and Molsheim. Both estates are run to certified Biodynamic principals and without the use of fertilizer or pesticides. After hand harvesting, the grapes are kept on their skins for between 8 hours and three days depending on the vintage, before being fermented spontaneously. Vinification for all dry wines is done in 1200 litre wooden barrels, with constant topping up to minimize oxidation, the wines staying on their fine lees until the day of bottling. Of the two estates, the Kuhling-Gillot wines tend to be planted on slate soils while the Battenfeld-Spanier wines are all on limestone. The differences between the two soils types are rendered beautifully clearly because of the identical winemaking; the wines from limestone soils quiver with energy and cool minerality, those from slate tending more to tranquility and warm, fluid minerality. These two estates, run by the young, enthusiastic husband and wife team of Olivier and Carolin, are making some of Germany's most exciting dry wines and we are delighted to be bringing them into the UK for the first time.

Pictures: Annette and Christian Schiller with H.O. Spanier, Weingut Battenfeld-Spanier and Weingut Kühling Gillot at Prowein 2015 in Düsseldorf

Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2018

The Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2018 was released on Friday, November 24, 2017. I participated in the presentation of the Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2018 in Mainz, Germany. The Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2018 is at the same time a new and an old German wine guide.

Picture: Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2018

2 days after the publication of the Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2018, on Monday, November 27,  the Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland 2018 was released. The Gault Millau WeinGuide 2018 was published by Zabert + Sandmann, which had aquired the license for the Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland in June 2017 from the Christian Verlag. The latter had published the Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland for many years.

The Gault MillauWeinGuide Deutschland 2018 was put togather by a newly established team of tasters, all of them highly regarded, led by Editor-in-Chief Britta Wiegelmann. Previously, she was Editor-in-Chief of the Vinum Wine Journal. She took over the position from Joel B. Payne, who had been the Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland Editor-in-Chief (earlier with Armin Diel) since it was first published in 1994.

Joel B. Payne - along with his Deputy Carsten S. Henn - stayed with the Christian Verlag, managed to bring on board the Vinum Journal and decided to continue publishing a wine guide under a new name: The Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland was borne.

The Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2018 was put togather Joel B. Payne, Editor-in-Chief, and Carsten Henn, Deputy Editor-in-Chief, with the same team that put togather and rated the wines and winemakers of the Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland 2017, published 12 months ago. The Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2018 looks very much like the Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland 2017 except for the color of the cover, which is red and no longer green. Also, the winemakers do not receive 1 to 5 grapes anymore but 1 to 5 stars.

Joel B. Payne made clear that he sees the Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2018 as an update of the Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland 2017 and in a row with the previous 24 issues of the Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland, the production of which he led as Editor-in-Chief. Red is now the new Green, said Joel B. Payne at the presentation of the Vinum Weinguide Deutschland 2018 (which is red), while the cover of the Gault Millau Millau WeinGuide Deutschland has been green during the past 24 years and continues to be green.

schiller-wine - Related Postings

Ombiasy Wine Tours 2018: 3 x France and 3 x Germany - Ombiasy Newsletter December 2017

Falstaff Winemaker of the Year 2015: Carolin Spanier Gillot, Weingut Kühling-Gillot and Weingut BattenfeldSpanier, Germany

Doepfner’s im Maingau Meets Frankfurt/Wein, with Weingut Battenfeld-Spanier and Weingut Chat Sauvage, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Germany’s Best Winemakers and Wines – Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2018 Awards: The Award Ceremony in Mainz, Germany

The Wine Maker Couple H.O. Spanier and Carolin Spanier-Gillot, with Roland Gillot, Lead Wine Tasting of Kuehling-Gillot and Battenfeld-Spanier Wines at Weingut Kuehling-Gillot, Germany

VDP.Rheinhessen Invited to a Gala Dinner: The World Class Wines of the VDP.Rheinhessen Winemakers and the World Class Food of Philipp Stein (1 Star Michelin, Favorite), with Klaus Peter Keller, Philipp Wittmann, H.O.Spanier, Caroline Gillot-Spanier and Other Rheinhessen Stars

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Tour and Tasting at Hugel in Riquewhir, Alsace, with Jean Frédéric Hugel - Germany-South and Alsace 2017 Tour by ombiasy WineTours

Picture: Tasting at Hugel in Riquewihr with Owner Jean Frédéric Hugel

Owner Jean Frédéric Hugel was our host. We toured the winery, which is situated right in the center of Riquewihr, and then sat down for a most impressive tasting, including a wine fom 1945.

I had established contact with Jean Frédéric at the 5. Riesling Rendezvous in Seattle, Washington State. See:  5. Riesling Rendezvous in Seattle, Washington State: Overview

Picture: Alsatian Team and Steffen Christmann, Cornelius Dönnhoff, Oliver Haag and Philipp Wittmann

Picture: Felix Meyer of Domaine Meyer-Fonne, Jean Frederic Hugel and Christian Schiller

Hugel is represented in the US by Frederic Wildmann.

Hugel

Hugel is one of the major producers of Alsace wine, and has been an important force in the Alsace wine industry in its developments during the second half of the 20th century. For over 370 years and with 13-family generations the Hugel family has unrivaled experience and knowledge of Alsace vineyards and winemaking. Known today for their passion and modern outlook, the dynamic Hugel family, located in the picture-postcard fortified village of Riquewihr, has earned a worldwide reputation for their Alsace wines.

Pictures: At Hugel in Riquewihr

Hugel was founded in Riquewihr in 1639 by Hans Ulrich Hugel, who was a Swiss national who left his home country during the Thirty Years' War. It has remained in the hands of the Hugel family since then. As a logotype, they use a family crest which was carved in 1672, to decorate the doorway of a house built in Riquewihr by one of Hans Ulrich's sons

In 1902, Hugel moved to its present location in the centre of Riquewihr.

Hugel produces its high-end wines from its own vineyards, and also operates a négociant business, which sources additional grapes under long-term contract from various growers. Hugel is highly export-oriented, with almost 80 percent of the wines produced being exported.

Pictures: Jean Frédéric Hugel Receiving us

Wine Cellar

After receiving us in the small tasting room in the corner of the old Maison Hugel building in the center of Riquewihr, Jean Frédéric Hugel took us on a fascinating tour of the Hugel wine cellar.

Wine Dude: Hugel makes about one million bottles of wine annually, exporting them to over 100 countries, and is fond of testing out new tech in the cellar (to wit: they claim to be the first company in the world to employ a robo-palette). But that cellar dates from 1543, and happens to be near the center of the improbably precious town of Riquewihr. The oldest barrel therein dates back to the early 1700s (full disclosure: I might have crawled inside of it… also, they generate some downright impressive tartrate deposits). The combination of relatively large production, modern touches, and ancient surroundings requires the careful use of their restricted (and highly regulated) space.

Pictures: Touring the Hugel Wine Cellar with Jean Frédéric Hugel

Vineyards

Hugel holds slightly over 25 hectares, all located around Riquewihr. More than half Hugel’s 25 hectares are in what the Hugel family now calls Grossi Laüe vineyards, which translated from Alsatian dialect means Great Growth, the equivalent of “Grand Cru” in Burgundy or “Grosses Gewächs” in Germany. This nomenclature change underscores the Hugel family’s proud ownership of these finest estate vineyards. In particular the Schoenenbourg Grossi Laüe and Sporen Grossi Laüe vineyards are a special source of pride, planted to Riesling and Gerwürtztraminer, with small parcels of Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir.

In addition, grapes from over 100 hectares of Alsace vineyards are bought in for the négociant business.

When we arrived in Riquewihr and parked the car, we could watch the pickers of Hugel inaction in a Hugel vineyard.

Pictures: Grape Picking in Hugel Vineyards

The Wine Portfolio

Hugel's range of wines consist of the following levels:

Gentil Hugel - a blend like the “Edelzwicker” but only allowed for blending the four noble grapes of Alsace: Riesling, Pinot Gris, Muscat, Gewürztraminer

Hugel Classic - basic level wines produced from bought grapes. Includes most Alsace varieties and some blends.

Hugel Estate - A new selection "parcellaire" of carefully chosen plots of the Famille Hugel estate situated in Riquewihr in its most prestigious crus. Most of the plots chosen for this new wine are being converted into organic viticulture

Hugel Tradition - intermediate level wines, from the four "noble" white grapes

Hugel Jubilée - top level dry wines from Hugel's own vineyards

Hugel Grossi Laüe - Grossi Laüe signifies the finest vineyards in Alsace dialect and represents an equivalent to the German Grosses Gewächs or the Burgundian Grand Cru

Hugel Vendange Tardive - late harvest wines

Hugel Sélection de Grains Nobles - wines from botrytised grapes

Tasting

The visit ended with a most impressive tasting, including a wine fom 1945.

Pictures: Tasting

The Wines we Tasted

2016 Hugel Gentil

The perfect introduction to Alsace wines as it combines the qualities of all our white varietals.
This wine revives an ancient Alsace tradition that wines assembled from noble grape varieties were called "Gentil". Gentil "Hugel" allies the suave, spicy flavour of Gewurztraminer, the body of Pinot Gris, the finesse of Riesling, the grapiness of Muscat and the refreshing character of Pinot Blanc and Sylvaner.


2010 Hugel Pinot Noir Grossi Laüe

Grossi Laüe signifies the finest vineyards in Alsace dialect and represents an equivalent to the German Grosses Gewächs or the Burgundian Grand Cru. A Pinot Noir with real minerality, profound and deep which year after year comes closer to that of a Côte d'Or !The heart of this Pinot Noir comes from a vineyard planted in 1966 in our family estate in the Pflosting slope. The grapes are destemmed and macerated for about 2 weeks, with manual immersion of the cap (pigeage) to ensure the best possible extraction. The wine is matured for almost 10 months in small oak barriques, which are partially renewed each year.

2008 Hugel Pinot Noir Jubilée

Climatic conditions were a carbon-copy of the excellent 2007 vintage.

1983 Hugel Pinot Noir Jubilée


2011 Hugel Riesling Grossi Laüe

Produced in a selection of the finest plots of the Hugel estate in the heart of the grand cru Schoenenbourg. This fantastic historical terroir has been almost exclusively devoted to Riesling for centuries. Keuper, marl, dolomite and gypsum, rich in fertilising agents, overlaid with fine layers of quaternary siliceous gravel, Vosges sandstone and Muschelkalk, with at its eastern extremity outcrops of Lias marl limestones.

2013 Hugel Riesling Estate

2015 Hugel Riesling Classic

This is the Famille Hugel signature wine. This dry Riesling stands out for its finesse and frankness and is the ideal partner to fish and seafood thanks to its wonderful balance and elegance.

2009 Hugel Riesling Schoelhammer

As far back as family memories go, the Schoelhammer, at the heart of the historic Schoenenbourg vineyard which overlooks Riquewihr, has always been amongst our most favoured single vineyards. From 2007 we decided that the Riesling from this exceptional site, traditionally vinified apart, also merited to be bottled separately. Schoelhammer seeks to reveal the unique character of a dry, mineral Riesling from a marl-rich terroir, deep and suave in style, and which takes time to express itself fully.


1945 Hugel Riesling Réserve Exceptionnelle


Most Impressive Line-up

Thanks very much Jean Frédéric for a great visit including a most impressive tasting.

Picture: Most Impressive Line-up


schiller-wine: All Postings (Published and Forthcoming): Germany-South and Alsace 2017 Tour by ombiasy WineTours: Baden, Alsace, Pfalz and Rheinhessen

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The World Class Wines of Alsace

In the world class white wine region Alsace

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