(Continued from “The Standard-Bearers of Württemberg IV” on 1 September 2017)
Besides being the capital and the largest city of Württemberg and indeed Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart is one of the very few major cities in Europe with vineyards within its city limits, totalling about 400ha. Stuttgart is not merely a city but a conurbation of 23 districts (Bezirke), granted, but a clear of majority thereof does possess vineyards, as reflected by names such as Stuttgarter Abelsberg, Stuttgarter Berg, Stuttgarter Mönchhalde and, of course, the city’s very own Stuttgarter Kriegsberg.
Vinous field trips usually take place entirely in the country, but not necessarily in the case of Württemberg. The fact that vineyards still exist in a metropolis wherein land prices are easily amongst the top 10 highest in Germany is clearly an anomaly, but such is the Wurttembergian spirit, through good times and bad.
Situated along the Neckar Valley, Stuttgart enjoys favourable climatic conditions, e.g. mitigation from the river and shelter from the Black Forest (Schwarzwald), resulting in a long growing season, but hailstorms remain a major threat. In late spring / early summer 2017, as late frost ravaged through much of Europe, vineyards in and around Stuttgart were devastated. As the nonagenarian Mr. Gerhard Hummel of Weingut Gerhard Aldinger explained, he had thitherto never witnessed such climatic abnormality in such severity.
Due to, inter alia, steep slopes, vineyards in and around Stuttgart generally have thin layers of clay, loam and marl, and so vines must dig deep to the rock unto the rock layer for nutrients, hence the structural depth and saline minerality of the wines. Keuper (Gips) is the predominant soil formation, supplemented by shell-rich limestone (Muschelkalk).
Now a suburb of Stuttgart, Untertürkheim is less than 7km away from the city centre as the crows fly. This largely residential suburb is home to two outstanding Große Lage vineyards, namely Untertürkheimer Herzogenberg and Untertürkheimer Gips. The former is a south-facing 15ha vineyard, a monopole of the Wöhrwag family, whereas the latter is south-facing 10ha vineyard, a monopole of the Aldinger family. Situated in Untertürkheim and Fellbach respectively, Weingut Wöhwag and Weingut Gerhard Aldinger are two shining stars of VDP Württemberg. Whereas the former showcases cold fermentation and minimal intervention, the latter demonstrates what reductive winemaking can achieve in purity and vitality.
To be continued…
Tasted at Weingut Wöhwag (W: www.woehrwag.de; E: firstname.lastname@example.org) and Weingut Gerhard Aldinger (W: www.weingut-aldinger.de; E: email@example.com) during a press trip organised by Mrs Diana Maisenhölder (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Mr Dietmar Maisenhölder (email@example.com) of VDP Württemberg (www.vdp-wuerttemberg.de).
Limpid citrine with flickering golden reflex, the precise nose offers green apple, guava, verbena, crushed rock and lemon blossom. Buttressed by buoyant acidity and sturdy minerality, the structured palate delivers grapefruit peels, calamansi, lime leaves, rock salt and frangipane. Medium-full bodied at 13.5percent, the tangy entry persists through a vibrant mid-palate, leading to a cleansing finish. A well-built Riesling with excellent cellaring potential.
Radiant citrine with shimmering golden reflex, the pristine nose furnishes pomelo, white peach, citronella and crushed shells. Anchored by brisk acidity and linear minerality, the meticulous palate supplies grapefruit, mirabelle, lemongrass and rock salt. Medium-full bodied at 12.5percent, the alluring entry carries onto a vigorous mid-palate, leading to an uplifting finish. A benchmark for clarity and purity.
Rich garnet with crimson-ruby rim, the aromatic nose effuses cranberry, plum, cinnamon and geranium. Supported by generous acidity, fine-grained tannins and clear minerality, the layered palate emanates raspberry, red cherry, clove and rose petal. Medium-full bodied at 13percent, the composed entry evolves into an expressive mid-palate, leading to an elongated finish. A rare example of a lightly oaked Lemberger at the Erste Lage / Großes Gewächs level.
Bright garnet with cardinal-ruby rim, the seductive nose reveals mulberry, black cherry, balsam, incense, fine chalk and fur. Underpinned by tantalising acidity, velvety tannins and talc-like minerality, the melodious palate releases boysenberry, cassis, Qimen red tea, sandalwood, forest mushroom and leather. Medium-full bodied at 13percent, the sensual entry continues through an intricate mid-palate, leading to a harmonious finish. An irresistible, feminine expression of Pinot Noir rivalling the finest of Volnay and Chambolle-Musigny.
David Rouault is a professional classical musician, part time wine consultant and full time wine lover, holding WSET Level 3,
Certified Specialist of Wine and Introductory Sommelier diplomas. www.dionysos.com.mo