Tasting & Dinner at Schloss Schonborn 2011


Very excited to visit Schloss Schonborn again this week as a student in the Masters of Wine education program.

The first time I went was on a trip sponsored by the German Wine Institute and the European Union for its Destination Riesling program. I remember being very impressed by the Schloss and our host Peter Barth, technical director.

Today the event was sponsored by the VDP Baden, a region known for its sunnier skies, warmer growing season, and red wines. The Baden wines represented included whites, mostly Riesling, and Pinot Noir. As was the case last year, the open tasting format allowed students (as well as Masters of Wine) to get a sense of the red wines in the area. Wines varied considerably, especially the Pinot Noir, depending on the style of the producer. Overall, my sense was that these wines had more overt new oak and a richer, riper flavor than other old world reds.

More about Schloss Schonborn

In Germany, the word “schloss” means castle or “manor house.” These are historic structures, many first built during the Roman times near the very best vineyards in the land. The idea was to create a grand estate to showcase the quality of the vineyards and the wine.

With wineries in San Ynez, California considered old at twenty, a 650-year-old winery seems very ancient indeed. Yet this is the age of Schloss Schonborn in Germany’s Rheingau region, which goes back to 1349. Owned by Paul Graf von Schonborn-Wiesentheid, it is the largest family owned estate in the Rheingau comprising some 125 acres (50 hectares) of top vineyard sites. The winery has recently been modernized with stainless steel tanks. Many of the wines produced here make their way to Asia and North America so look for the brand on your wine store shelf.

What makes the Riesling of Schloss Schonborn special are the south facing vineyards which face the Rheingau river, reflecting the sun and warming the vines. The family had been active in the Catholic church for centuries, hence their ability to get the best vineyard sites.

Visit the ancient, dust- and spider web-covered cellars and you realize that some of the very old bottles inside have survived the Napoleonic wars, the Franco-Prussian War, WWI, and WWII. Many of the bottles date from 1735, and our host, Peter Barth, technical director, describes that they have held up well over the last three centuries.

the Rheingau valley, the Domänenweingut Schloss Schönborn has long stood for premium wine culture.

Many of the vineyards along the slopes bordering the Rhine river have been part of the Schönborn family estate since 1349, which has been added to continuously since then. Several top sites were acquired in the 17th and 18th centuries, giving the estate a real boost. The estate now covers 50 ha, of which 90% are planted with Riesling. The remaining vineyards feature Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc. The Schloss Schönborn wine estate is one of the founder members of the Association of German Prädikat Wine Estates (VDP) and has for many years been managing its valuable vineyards in tune with nature.

Weingut Schloss Schönborn
Contact: Herr von den Benken
Hauptstr. 53, 65347 Hattenheim
Phone: +49 (0)6723-91810, Fax: +49 (0)6723-918191

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