Guest post by Cary Chappell:
Recently, I visited the Assmanshausen producer, Weingut Robert König. They were a VDP producer, but recently left the VDP because they felt the rules were too restrictive and did not allow them to express their personal style.
Robert König produces approximately 50,000 bottles of wine a year. Their wine offerings are mostly Spatburgunders (Pinot Noirs), which Assmanhausen is known for; but also includes Riesling, and even a red sparkling wine. Quite a novelty for this area and most other sparkling producers, save Lambruscos.
Of note were Robert König’s Blanc de Noirs and Weissherbst wines. In Germany, in order to be a Blanc de Noir, the wine must be white, without any blush or rose hue. A Weissherbst on the other hand, can have the blush or rose tinge to it. These wines were refreshing, and were ideal for the unusually warm day we were having. Robert König has a large range of Pinot Noir wines from different delimited vineyards, all providing a distinct taste from their respective terroirs. For example, the wines from Frankenthal vineyards have more cherry notes and tannin. These wines are barrique-aged, which also added greatly (if not too much) to the taste and aromas of the wine. The Frankenthal vineyards are from an area containing more quartz.
The area of Hollenberg contains slate, which lends an elegance and fruitiness to
the wine. The winemaker ages Hollenberg wines in well-used casks. Their Hollenberg RK reserve was especially nice and will definitely grow more elegant after some bottle aging. We tried a 2015 and it was intense and complex with red berry notes.
Looking for something a little lighter on such a hot day, we stopped at the Ohlig
bottle shop. Ohlig is a Sekt (German sparkling wine) producer. Many of their wines are Riesling based, and they even sell a “Privat” collection, which contains grapes from Spain and Italy. We did not taste these as we were focused on wines from grapes of the immediate area, Rheingau. Their Rheingau collection, which contains only wines made from grapes from the Rheingau area, includes Riesling sekts, that follow an off-sweet (‘halbtrocken’) to brut and extra-brut (extra-trocken) continuum.
Ohlig also has a “Method Rurale,” which is a lightly sparkling wine, similar to the Italian Moscato d’Asti. Much like Moscato d’Asti, it only undergoes one fermentation, versus two fermentations like most other sparkling wines. The single fermentation method preserves more of the aroma and natural sugars, allowing for a slightly sweeter and lightly fizzy wine. The palate finished long with the taste of candy corn.
Ohlig also produces a special selection of sparkling wines that are from grapes from specific delimited vineyard areas. Of note, was the 2012 Edition Anton Ohlig Erbacher Macrobrunn - Brut. This wine is made of 100% Riesling. However, despite its varietal, which one associates with aromas of citrus or stone fruit depending on residual sugar levels, ripeness as harvest, and age, it had a very distinct aroma and taste of ripe strawberries. It was so pleasantly surprising and would be the perfect sipper for spring or summer, especially with any strawberry-based dishes. Interestingly, when sipping this sekt directly after the Method Rurale, there was a fun play of taste that reminded one in our group of strawberries and cream.
So, there you go! Get a bottle of each and have some brunch (or anytime) fun!
Now your it’s your turn! Get out there and drink some wine!