Der Rheingauer Spätburgunder

The Spätburgunder is among the oldest cultured vines of mankind, after all, it was probably selected already from wild vines 2,000 years ago. Despite its age the Spätburgunder doesn’t belong to the omnipresent grape varieties, making himself scarce, being capricious, demanding a lot of attention and imposing requirements, in particular to soil and cellar technology. Both aspects are a difficult challenge for the wine grower. Nevertheless, it is this very grape variety – whose cultivated origins date back to Burgundy - which particularly fascinates wine growers and consumers. Enjoying a Spätburgunder is always something special, above all if it comes from the Rheingau.

The wine’s success story in the Rheingau starts with the Cistercians who created a net of monasteries across medieval Europe and with Eberbach Monastery founded their branch in the Rheingau. Present at all times: Spätburgunder, not only the economic basis for many monasteries but also symbol of the Christian mythology of the Last Supper with the blood of Christ. There are many different reasons why the Spätburgunder was ousted by other grape varieties several hundred years later and could only survive in niches. But even today most of these German “Spätburgunder islands“ are related historically to a monastery.

For a long time the Spätburgunder has appeared in many Rheingau vineyards from Hochheim to Lorchhausen but its traditional home in the Riesling country of the Rheingau is the steep slate walls behind the roofs of the small wine village of Assmannshausen.

Set up by Eberbach Cistercians a hell of a good Spätburgunder grows in the world renowned Assmannshäuser Höllenberg. First mentioned more than 500 years ago the red Rheingau wines continue to be discussed until today. A large part of the hill is cultivated by the State Wineries of Hesse Domain Assmannshausen (“Hessische Staatsweingüter Domaine Assmannshausen”) which profoundly shaped the style of the Rheingau Spätburgunder. However, in recent years more and more ambitious wine growers have contributed to the new fame of the Assmannshausen Spätburgunder with the help of harvest reductions, longer mash times and skilful wine processing in big wooden cask or in small barrique barrels and pushed the Rheingau Spätburgunder into the ranking list of the best German red wines long ago.

Aroma spectrum of Pinot Noir

Always fascinating, but also moody and difficult to understand: the Spätburgunder (Pinot noir).

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