Deep within a valley of gently rolling hills, bordered by the Nahe River and the Rhine rivers, lies the region of Rheinhessen. Germany's largest wine growing region by area is a land of varying climates and geography. Many different types of grapes, both red and white, are planted, producing medium-bodied wine that is delicately fragrant. Some of the finest white wines in Germany are produced among the Rheinterrassen - the vineyards on gentle slopes directly facing the Rhine near the town of Nierstein. Celebrated Riesling author Stuart Pigott calls this "the dream factory of dry German white wine”. It’s obvious why when you taste the wines of Wittmann and Gunderloch.
Some might say we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to delicious Riesling, and all other things Germany, at CellarHand but every now and then some things are just too good to say no to. Such was the case when Leo Messe, export manager at Weingut Wittmann & Ansgar Clüsserath, excitedly pulled out some masked wines from Weingut Wittmann’s cellarmaster, Georg Rieser, under his exciting new Immel label.
Johannes Hasselbach has well and truly hit his stride after taking the winemaking reins from his late father Fritz a few years back. Warm, charming, modest and brilliant Fritz Hasselbach, who passed away from illness in October 2016, was the man who lifted the estate into the Rheinhessen's top flight. Johannes and the team are taking it even further, turning out stunning wines from top-rated vineyards of the Roter Hang, a steep hill of red slate overlooking the Rhine. The dry Rieslings are intensely concentrated and expressive of the red volcanic soil. The fruity wines are even more so, with their touch of sweetness that acts as a conduit for flavour and aroma. Nackenheimer Rothenberg is one of the great vineyards of Germany. Gunderloch was the first winery in Germany to put its entire range under screwcap and holds the ‘claim to fame’ of scoring a hat-trick of 100-point reviews in Wine Spectator. Named in honour of the late, great man himself, Fritz's Riesling adds a dimension to the line-up and may be the best-value wine in our entire portfolio.
Philipp Wittmann was named Winemaker of the Year 2014 by the Gault Millau Wine Guide, with the judges praising him as "one of the pioneers of organic viticulture and a driving force behind quality developments" in the southern Rheinhessen. "For many years he has produced superb dry Rieslings with fascinating ageing potential," they went on. "Almost single-handedly he elevated the Morstein site to legendary status." Philipp’s ancestors have been winegrowers in the old market town of Westhofen since the mid-1600s. His father Günter put the estate on an organic footing, and it’s been a member of organic farmers' association Naturland since 1990. Philipp then took the step to go biodynamic in 2004. He lays the foundation for wines of exceptional quality through intensive, year-round vineyard maintenance, low yields and the uncompromising selection of bunches by hand. For the most part, the wines ferment in traditional, old oak casks or stainless steel and fermentation often continues into the year following the harvest. Already firmly established as one of Germany’s superstar producers, this young winemaker has a brilliant future ahead of him. Biodynamic producer