In honor of the 50th celebration of Earth Day on April 22nd, the wines showcased this week demonstrate Germany’s dedication to sustainable viticulture and winemaking.
Germany is considered one of the world’s most environmentally conscious nations, with a long history of organic farming. The country is home to one of the first natural wine groups, the Verband Deutscher Naturweinversteigerer, founded over a century ago in 1910, and plantings of organic vineyards in Germany have increased by more than 100% since 2007 and about 300% since 2000! The whole notion and science of Biodynamic farming, which seems to not only be all the rage amongst winemakers, but is proving to be be difference between the terrific and the truly outstanding wines coming into the global wine-trotter scene - and it all started in Germany.
The biodynamic farming movement began around the start of industrialization in the west. A group of farmers in Germany were noticing the impact of agro-industrial practices and the use of chemical fertilizers, which were impacting theirs soils and yields. They were convinced there had to be a more holistic view on farming and working with nature's eco-system. So they approached the father of biodynamic farming, Rudolf Steiner, for his input and inspiration on agriculture, based on his philosophical work on the topic. Ok, Steiner is Austrian, but you see where this is going.
We'll cover the topic more in the future, but for now, let's focus on this week's sustainably-produced German selections. We'll spend the next few days pouring four wines from the following three glorious wine regions in Germany:
THE MOSEL: The Mosel River is the spine of the Mosel valley, changing direction so often as it flows northeast toward the Rhein that it meanders nearly 250 km, to cover about half that distance as the crow flies. Geographically, is my favorite wine region, spanning from Koblenz to Luxembourg and probably some of the most stunning landscape Germany can offer. Together with its two small tributaries, the Saar and the Ruwer, the Mosel composes one wine growing region, considered the oldest in Germany. Here you'll find wine presses from Roman times, a testament to the long history of viticulture here and the large scale of its introduction by the Romans. Around 5,000 winegrowers cultivate 9,000 hectares across 125 wine towns here in the Mosel. As the fifth largest wine region in Germany, it's amongst the most difficult conditions for any winegrower, with its steep, extreme vineyards. Today half of the vineyards are on steep and terraced sites with a slope of over 30 degrees, some planted at an astounding 70-degree gradient! On these precipitous inclines, nearly all grapes have to be picked by hand. The Mosel 'category' is HOT right now, up almost 40% last year (measured by bottles demanded) worldwide by wine aficionados. The Mosel winegrowers rightly see themselves as Riesling specialists, as this noble white variety thrives in the conditions here. The protected valley location makes the region one of the warmest climates in Germany. The steep slate slopes above the rivers store the sun's heat during the day and release it again at night. The roots of the vines penetrate deep into the ground to seek water and minerals. In this way, the winemakers can produce uniquely fine, fruity wines that have an enormous depth of flavor and a relatively low alcohol content - ideal for easy enjoyment.
THE NAHE: The Nahe region is named after the river that traverses the valleys of the forested Hunsrück Hills as it gently flows toward Bingen, on the Rhein. It is a peaceful landscape of vineyards, orchards and meadows interspersed with cliffs and striking rock formations. The wine-growing region on the Nahe has 2,000 years of wine-making tradition. Protection against cold winds by the high Hunsrück, mild temperatures and lots of sunshine create an excellent climate for winegrowing in this sunny valley with low-rain. Although the Nahe is one of the smaller German wine regions, its extraordinary range of soil types is second to none. This is because of its turbulent geological history. For this reason, the region is able to grow a range of varieties and produce a large diversity of wine styles. The steeper sites of volcanic or weathered stone, and those with red, clayish slate seem predestined for elegant, piquant Riesling wines of great finesse and a light spiciness. More than a quarter of the vineyard area of 4,200 hectares is planted with it. Anyone who has enjoyed the Nahe wines, will know the fresh fruit, fine acidity, mineral notes and rich aromas it embodies. No wonder Nahe wine is an insider tip among connoisseurs, a true hidden jewel from Germany's southwest.
THE PFALZ: The Pfalz has many superlatives: the world's largest wine festival in Bad Dürkheim, and also the first and best-known wine route, the Deutsche Weinstraße. For over 85 uninterrupted kilometers, Pfalz's vineyards sweep across this remarkably pretty, peaceful land, linking the 130 wine towns of the region between Bockenheim and Schweigen on the border with Alsace. With 24,000 hectares of vineyards, the region is the second largest wine-growing area in Germany and is made up of two areas, Mittelhaardt-Deutsche Weinstraße and Südliche Weinstraße. The main focus of the winegrowers in the cultivation area (protected by the Pfälzerwald forest) is on classic grape varieties, especially Riesling. The king of white wines has become the undisputed leader in the Pfalz with nearly 6,000 hectares cultivated. Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris have also been on the rise with now over 3,000 hectares planted. In addition, Silvaner, Müller-Thurgau, Gewürztraminer, Kerner and Morio-Muskat belong to the diverse range of white wines in the Pfalz, as well as lesser known varieties (which we love) like Scheurebe, a wine we're featuring on our flight! The Pfalz's proximity to France can be felt everywhere, not least in the preference for good food. Top chefs have now established themselves along the Deutschen Weinstraße, who successfully experiment with regional cuisine and the premium wines here which complement their culinary creations.
Join us this week, for "WEEKEND WINES" from Germany, sustainably made wines to celebrate Earth Day 2022!
"WOCHENENDE WEINE" AUS DEUTSCHLAND:
Fio Wines "Piu Piu" Pét Nat NV - $34
Schloss Lieser "SL" Riesling Trocken 2020 - $25
Weingut Hexamer "Quarzit" Riesling 2020 - $27
Müller-Catoir "MC" Scheurebe Trocken 2020 - $30
Flight of 4 - $18/person (2.5 oz. pours)
Thursday/Friday 5-7:30pm and Saturday 1-7:30pm
Or take home the 4-pack! - $116 retail for all 4 bottles