Whenever I come across good wine from the Württemberg region, I feel some irrational pride - irrational if you consider that while I have been born there, I left my Swabian homeland many years ago and have never looked back. While I went away, others clearly thought it was good to move to Swabia - at least in the middle ages when the noble family of Hohenlohe acquired property in Öhringen, north-east of Stuttgart. They clearly liked it there and after some branching in and out, some pruning etc., there is still a branch of the famous family residing there, the Hohenlohe-Oehringens.
Instead of quelling peasant rebellions, the Hohenlohe-Oehrigens of today are growing wine, organically of course. Like this grand cru Riesling.
Riesling is just one of many grapes grown in Öhringen. On about 18ha you will also find the Pinots Blanc, Meunier and Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Kerner, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and a few others. Two years ago Julian enjoyed one of the excellent Bordeaux style blends made in Öhringen, and today I have the pleasure of reporting back on the top dry Riesling from Hohenlohe-Oehringen, from a certified grand cru vineyard.
When you see the above sign on a German wine bottle, you are looking at a wine from a vineyard with a good reputation, made by a winemaker who is member of the VDP, Germany's leading association of estates, and made according to certain standards - for instance low yields. If the wine is also labelled as "GG" or "Großes Gewächs" (great growth), you are looking at the top dry wine from such a vineyard.
And now let's turn to the GG Riesling from the Verrenberg vineyard. As becomes a good aristocrat, the bouquet of the Riesling is a little reserved. Not that it does not have much to say, it just does not see the need to shout about it. Lovely delicate herbal aromas, in particular menthol and sage (sage candy actually) mix with a flowery and grassy smell and lemon peel, grapefruit and spicy peach. Overall, especially because of the mineral, a very cool appearance. As my drinking partner commented: "there is strength, but it is hidden".
On the tongue the Verrenberg Riesling is surprisingly lean for a serious wine, but it also has a very pleasant rough side to it - the lovely apple, pear and grapefruit flavours have a touch of bitterness that I really enjoyed. A herbal, cool and clear cut wine, it does have some substance despite the lean appearance, lively acidity too, and a long finish that ends dry and herbal with lots of mineral and faint tobacco notes. Very good to drink, my Swabian friend strikes a good balance between serious and highly enjoyable. Well done!