(Continued from “The Standard-Bearers of Württemberg VIII” on 29 June 2018)
This Württemberg series has come a long way since the publication of the first article on the estate of Herzog von Württemberg (https://macaudailytimes.com.mo/standard-bearers-wurttemberg.html), the erstwhile owner of all chattels and things in the entire region. Equally representative of Württemberg and its fine wine is the formidable Weingut Drautz-Able, whose proprietor Markus Drautz-Able serves as the incumbent President of VDP Württemberg.
Situated in Heilbronn, Württemberg’s 3rd and Baden-Württemberg’s 7th largest city, Weingut Drautz-Able can trace its history back to 1496, sometime between Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press and Martin Luther’s Ninety-five Theses. During the reign of Holy Emperor Maximilian I, the vintner family was granted the right to use the coat-of-arms with the pigeon being prominently featured. Numerous generations since, this motif still adorns every bottle of the estate’s fine produce.
1496 may predate the establishment of many states on the world map, but in a region as historic as Württemberg, Weingut Drautz-Able stands out not by longevity but by ingenuity. Inspired by the minerally driven style of Alto Adige’s aromatic varieties, the visionary in Markus Drautz-Able’s late father Richard Drautz-Able planted the first shoots of Sauvignon Blanc in Württemberg back in the 1980s. He also co-founded Studiengruppe Neues Eichenfaß, the precursor of the Württemberg-wide H.A.D.E.S., which led to the establishment of the nationwide Deutsches Barrique-Forum.
A graduate of the Hochschule Geisenheim University, Markus Drautz-Able has inherited his father’s legacy of pioneering Germanic Sauvignon Blanc. Unreservedly quality-driven, the 15ha Weingut Drautz-Able is a microcosm of Württemberg, possessing a diverse portfolio comprising 16 grape varieties, none of which constitutes even 20% of total plantation, grown on a variety of terroirs ranging from gipskeuper, loam, marl to sandstone. Vineyard is where the journey of H.A.D.E.S. wines begins, as the grapes must be hale and hearty enough to deserve and withstand premium oak.
That Württemberg produces only easy-drinking Trollinger is a misconception as outdated as the other one that Germany offers nothing else other than sweetish Riesling. Württemberg’s vinous landscape has changed beyond all recognition since the days of the Trollinger-Republik in the last century. It is, in a nutshell, an underrated yet outperforming wine region that combines heritage with innovation, the two central elements of the Württembergian psyche. Württemberg’s wine is akin to Maultaschen (dumplings) and Spätzle (noodles) – adored by those in the know, yet unnoticed by the multitude. Quality without frills and gimmicks, it appears, is a Swabian virtue.
The following wines were tasted in the presence of Markus Drautz and Stéphanie de Longueville-Drautz, the couple at the helm of Weingut Drautz-Able (W: www.drautz-able.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).
To be continued one day…
Drautz-Able Sauvignon Blanc H.A.D.E.S. 2011
Incandescent citrine with radiant golden reflex, the majestic nose exudes gooseberry, jackfruit, tomato vine and flint. With pulsating acidity and steely minerality, the spectacular palate oozes grapefruit, guava, nettles and crushed shells. Bone-dry and full-bodied at 13%, the imposing entry continues through a structured mid-palate, leading to a glorious finish. An absolute tour de force.
Drautz-Able Sauvignon Blanc H.A.D.E.S. 2007
Rich citrine with saturated golden reflex, the vigorous nose presents pomelo peel, passion fruit, blackcurrant leaf and crushed rock. With dynamic acidity and crystal-clear minerality, the assertive palate furnishes rambutan, bell peppers, elderflower and rock salt. Thoroughly dry and full-bodied at 13%, the high-spirited entry persists through a sumptuous mid-palate, leading to a lingering finish. A benchmark of German Sauvignon Blanc.
Drautz-Able Sauvignon Blanc H.A.D.E.S. 1989
Luminous amber with copper-tawny reflex, the evocative nose effuses loquat, dried fig, macadamia and pear pie. With unrelenting acidity and polished minerality, the haunting palate emanates persimmon, dried kiwifruit, pine nuts and rhubarb pie. Medium-full bodied at merely 12%, the silky entry evolves into a melodious mid-palate, leading to an ineffaceable finish. 1989 was the inaugural vintage of Sauvignon Blanc in Württemberg, and the following year – 1990 – saw the first Württembergian Sauvignon Blanc in a reunified Germany. With hindsight, both Württemberg as a wine region and Germany as a nation were venturing into a brave new world, embodied by this time capsule.
Jacky I.F. Cheong is a legal professional by day and columnist by night. Having spent his formative years in Britain, France,
and Germany, he regularly writes about wine, fine arts, classical music, and politics in several languages