About this WINE
The daughter of two doctors, Eva Fricke was born in a small village in Lower Saxony. Inspired by an adventurous grandmother, she decided to take a summer job after her penultimate year of school on a vineyard in South Africa. It was here that Eva’s love affair with the grape first began.
Thereafter, she studied viticulture and oenology in Geisenheim, working at several vineyards around the world, including Ch. Cissac in Haut-Médoc; Schloss Johannisberg in the Rheingau; Castello di Verduno in Piedmont; Dominio de Pingus in Ribera del Duero; and Pepper Tree in Australia’s Hunter Valley.
After graduating, Eva worked at the Tatachilla winery in southern Australia but soon returned to the Rheingau to work as J. B. Becker’s assistant manager. In 2004, producing her first vintage in 2006. She grows only Riesling on the steep slopes of Lorch in the Rheingau. Some of her vines are more than 45 years old, producing wines that perfectly exhibit the minerality of the slate and quartzite soils.
This 3,205 ha Rheingau region extends from Hochheim on the River Main to the evocatively-named Lorch on the River Rhein. The Rheingaus vineyards are located along one long hillside with the thick forests of the Taunus Hills to the north and the Rhein River to the south. They form a single district known as Bereich Johannisberg. This beautiful region, rich in tradition, evolves as you go east to west, from a fairly flat, dimpled landscape to progressively steeper and more impressive slopes. It is on the latter that the finest wines are made.
The names of many Rheingau vineyards are legendary: Schloss Vollrads, Schloss Johannisberg, Jesuitgarten and Marcobrunn to name but four. Many hint at ecclesiastical origins and indeed, like many other regions of Germany, for centuries these vines were tended by monks. As with the Mosel, the Rhine has a moderating effect on local temperatures, protecting the vines from extreme lows but also, when the temperatures peak in mid-summer, providing a welcome cooling effect. The southern-facing exposure, moisture from the river, clay-dominated soil and the almost Mediterranean-style climate combine to produce dense, rich flavours and for Germany anyway - full, masculine wines.
The Rheingau is the spiritual home of the Riesling grape; it accounts for almost 80% of plantings and yields elegant wines typically with a lovely, spicy fragrance, rich, ripe fruit and pronounced acidity. Although far less important, some reasonably full-bodied, distinctive red wines with blackberry fruit are made here from Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir). The best examples come from the steep vineyards around Assmannshausen. The region also makes some divine sweet Riesling; indeed Schloss Johannisberg was reputedly the first vineyard in Germany to have harvested nobly rotten grapes for this purpose.
In 1994 the Rheingau was the first German wine region to be given a (semi) official vineyard classification. Drawn up by the Charta organisation and the VDP growers association, the best sites were designated as Erstes Gewächs (First Growths). The use of this classification is optional but if it is used the wine has to be dry in style or at Auslese level or above. The region is also home to the world-renowned oenological research and teaching institute at Geisenheim which has contributed significantly to the high level of technical competence in the German wine industry today.
Recommended Producers: J. Leitz
Pinot Noir is probably the most frustrating, and at times infuriating, wine grape in the world. However when it is successful, it can produce some of the most sublime wines known to man. This thin-skinned grape which grows in small, tight bunches performs well on well-drained, deepish limestone based subsoils as are found on Burgundy's Côte d'Or.
Pinot Noir is more susceptible than other varieties to over cropping - concentration and varietal character disappear rapidly if yields are excessive and yields as little as 25hl/ha are the norm for some climats of the Côte d`Or.
Because of the thinness of the skins, Pinot Noir wines are lighter in colour, body and tannins. However the best wines have grip, complexity and an intensity of fruit seldom found in wine from other grapes. Young Pinot Noir can smell almost sweet, redolent with freshly crushed raspberries, cherries and redcurrants. When mature, the best wines develop a sensuous, silky mouth feel with the fruit flavours deepening and gamey "sous-bois" nuances emerging.
The best examples are still found in Burgundy, although Pinot Noir`s key role in Champagne should not be forgotten. It is grown throughout the world with notable success in the Carneros and Russian River Valley districts of California, and the Martinborough and Central Otago regions of New Zealand.