How we can and may travel next year is still in the stars. What is certain for me is that the glass (click: the coolest wine glasses in the world) should always be half full. And therefore nothing is closer than to cure the wanderlust and to bring small pleasure walks home. As a message in a bottle. That’s why I’ve put together a personal wine bucket list, with wines that have thrilled me personally, and which I can most wine-lovingly recommend to try in the coming year – as a single, with friends or at late-night cake with grandma. So: pack your taste suitcase, we travel across Germany, Tuscany, visit Argentina or the USA, discover great white wines, red wines and yes also high-quality sparkling wine. Everything with a fair price / performance ratio, from easy entry fun for the buddy evening to the noble wooden barrel fruit salad for very special moments.
FLEURIE 2020, JULIEN SAUNIER (France)
Mix & Match. The charming noble look of the bottle keeps inside what it promises outside.
Why I like wine magic? You can create mental paintings so beautifully. Today along the lines of picking up an ice cold red card. Just imagine sucking on a wild berry candy while jumping into a cool pool in sunny France. That’s exactly the image evoked by each sip of Fleurie from Julien Sunier, an up-and-coming young winemaker from France’s Beaujolais region. Harvested by hand, pressed in an old traditional vertical press after 10 days of macération carbonique, and fermented with wild yeasts, a liaison with 15-year-old barriques then awaits.
Pours a flirt of wild berries that can be enjoyed wonderfully chilled: the charming red wine Fleurie of Julien Saunier from France.
And yes: You can also cool down red wines sometimes. Then, in this case, which I found at the experts of Wein am Limit, a cool berry bath with tongue kisses from raspberries, wild strawberries and Co, plus a pinch of vanilla and lots of desire for the next glass. Here the train really has no brake.
Fleurie 2020, Julien Saunier, Price: around 27 Euros, via shop.weinamlimitde
Secret wine tip 14:
2019 SIDDÙRA Spèra DOCG (Sardinia)
Ready for the island? With the white wine here’s glasswise patronage straight outta Sardinia tipped in. Siddùra is located in the heart of Gallura, and this wine takes you with a gentle hand and a lot of heart to the region northwest of the Costa Smeralda. In just a few years, the Siddura winery has worked its way to the top of Sardinia, but has always stayed grounded. And that gives the fruit salads from the island – like the Spèra – so much style and whimsy. The soils of the vineyards of Siddùra are a mixture of granite, sand and clay. Their loose and dry nature provides ideal conditions for viticulture, as the vines “suffer hunger and thirst” and thus produce the best results. What I like about this winery is, on the one hand, the design of the very clean but elegant labels, and on the other hand, the website, as cool as it is informative, which also tells a lot about the producer through videos.
Likes to open a barrel for good mood wines: Siddùra estate director Massimo Ruggero
Dress code: strong character restrained attractive: the Siddùra Spèra.
The Spèra (translated “ray of light”) is a single varietal Vermentino. So with dry humor and intense fruitiness that behaves like an Italian beach flirt: makes you want more. And sea. How? With very subtle tongue-sounding aromas of tropical fruit and a slight hint of bitter almond. The proximity to the sea, the Mediterranean climate, as well as the granite-rich soil shape the elegant, unexcited character of Spèra. Served ice-cold, it is obligingly fresh, then pithy and straightforward, and a little bit creamy, as if you were surfing over relaxed waves off the coast. Puts you in a good mood without taking itself too seriously. Definitely makes a date!
2019 SIDDÙRA Spèra DOCG, Price around 14 Euro, via www.brogsitter.de/siddura-spera-docg
Secret wine tip 15:
Ihringer Grauburgunder, Weingut Dr. Heger (Germany)
or this wine tip, which you should try in 2021, the journey goes all the way to the southwesternmost tip of Germany. Just a tiny spot on the map, but for (entry-level) wine lovers a place with great appeal: Ihringen am Kaiserstuhl. Here you will find the Dr. Heger winery, a member of the Association of German Prädikat Wine Estates, and a synonym for great wines not only in the Kaiserstuhl region. Joachim Heger runs it today together with his wife Silvia. And both make sure that these great wines are also approachable and accessible as well as affordable for beginners and the curious.
The name of Dr. Heger’s winemakers is inseparably linked with the Ihringer Winklerberg, one of the world’s most famous vineyards, and the Achkarrer Schlossberg. Extremely steep, extremely hot and extremely stony, they offer optimal conditions for the production of expressive terroir wines of the varieties Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Riesling but also Silvaner, Chardonnay and Muscat. State-of-the-art knowledge in terms of ecology and plant care, seeding and organic fertilization make it possible for the team behind the Gute-Laune wines from the Kaiserstuhl to express the terroir even better. Above all, however, this enables us not only to preserve our most precious asset, the vineyard ecosystem, for future generations, but also to constantly optimize it.
In recent years, Joachim Heger has increasingly focused on his exceptional vineyard “Ihringer Winklerberg”, analyzing it in detail and differentiating step by step in which parcel which variety grows into a Großes Gewächs or Erstes Gewächs. VDP.ORTSWEINE with the label Dr. Heger has been searched in vain. Until now. Some sites that were still too young have now reached the right age and thus the potential for a local wine. One of these is Ihringer Grauburgunder, which costs just about as much as a burger in Munich, but gives pleasure for much longer and makes more people happy at the same time.
Dress code: Get dressed up! The Pinot Gris is classy, elegant but also the encouraging friend for all situations.
For me, the Pinot Gris smells very slightly of glacier candy. A good start, and it gets even better. Because after the first sip, you know with this white wine: I’m smitten, I want more, this is going to be an evening (or day, whenever you want to drink it) that puts you in a great mood and puts any worries on the back burner. The Pinot Gris is juicy, creamy, but without being too cheesy. No pretense, no wannabe vibes. A smooth entertainer that tickles with flavors of fully ripe pears, compote of Golden Delicious apples, a few spices and said glacier candy flavor until you can’t stop grinning. A date with depth, but which does not make it too complicated and reflects on the best wine entertainment – and compellingly demands a sequel.
Ihringer Grauburgunder VDP Ortswein, Weingut Dr. Heger, Price around 15 Euro, via www.heger-weine.de
Secret wine tip 16:
Luogotenente, Weingut Graf Toggenburg (Italy)
It doesn’t happen that often, but in this case I have to say: I took a sip of this red wine, and while I was still drinking it, it was clear – this is going to be a long-term relationship. Do you know the feeling when you see a great suit or a beautiful pair of trousers, and not only does it fit immediately when you try it on, but when you wear it you immediately feel that special elan, that feeling of feeling a bit more comfortable. You smile softly. That’s what happened to me with the Luogotenente, which wine tailor Eberhard Graf Toggenburg produces today at the Poggio Rozzi winery, in the middle of the Chianti region of Tuscany. One of five Tuscan wines. Each one carries a piece of family history into the world and honors the strong personalities behind it. The royal wine indulgence (at a very fair price, but we’ll get to that later) is already foreshadowed by the very exquisite label, which comes across as very classy but not kitschy.
For this red wine, Count von Toggenburg has courageously brought the spice shaker into the cellar and called the Trentino Teroldego into recall to the grape variety duet Fogliatonda and Sangiovese. The love for autochthonous varieties works. The grapes come from the three vineyards Vigna del Cimitero, Vigna del Poggio and Vigna del Poggino. The soils of these hillside vineyards are rich and thus provide an excellent foundation for full-bodied, round wines – perfect, in other words, for wine enthusiasts who don’t like to be completely blindsided with gloominess when it comes to red wines. The magic number in the aging process is six: after six months in wooden barrels, the wine is aged for another six months in steel tanks for harmonization and enjoys another six months of bottle aging after bottling.
Perfectly patterned on all levels: the Luogotenente from Graf Toggenburg is red wine infatuation that lingers in the memory.
“Luogotenente” stands for an imperial and royal governor, as Georg Otto Ritter von Toggenburg, the great-great-grandfather of Eberhard Graf Toggenburg, already interpreted it 170 years ago with character and vision. According to the winemaker, the wine is supposed to embody restrained elegance, and that’s exactly how I can sign it. While drinking, I somehow have Giorgio Armani in mind, cruising through Tuscany in a Maserati. Typically understated, all-black look, plain, simple Tshirt, everything elegantly adjusted, the power where it is needed, on the playlist the soundtrack of the dark berry gang. So flowing-smooth is also this red wine, which brings a fine spice that constantly goes along on the trip like a gentle earworm. Most striking, however, is the beautiful acidity that clings to the back of the molar and animatingly goes along with every turn and makes you want to take the next sip – no matter what comes, the main thing is that a second bottle is waiting behind the next fork in the road.
Luogotenente Poggio Rozzi Rotwein, Weingut Graf Toggenburg, Price: around 28 Euro, via www.toggenburg.it
Secret wine tip 17:
Riesling Gutswein, Weingut Prinz von Hessen (Germany)
A winery that I unfortunately came across only recently (but fortunately in time for me) is the Prinz von Hessen winery in Geisenheim-Johannisberg in the Rheingau. Visually, the design of the labels was love at first sight, I was allowed to taste some wines also under the guidance of winery director Bärbel Weinert (pictured, left) – then came infatuation with the inner values of the bottlings. And the relationship (not only) with the Rieslings will become a firm and long-term.
The Rheingau winery was founded in 1957 and has developed an unmistakable Riesling style to this day: clear, pure, lively. The environment is also pleased with sustainable management, starting with natural viticulture and ending with the winery’s own photovoltaic system, which provides three-quarters of the energy required. The foundation for high wine quality is already laid in the vineyard. On the 33 hectares of cultivated land, yields are consistently reduced. The grapes thus gain in extract. Only the best grapes are selected by hand and brought to the cellar. Gently pressed and fermented under refrigeration, each wine is individually vinified. As a rule, the white wines are stored in stainless steel tanks, sometimes for several months on the lees. The red wines, on the other hand, are rounded off in barriques or in traditional 1200-liter wooden barrels at the winery, which is run by Landgrave Moritz von Hessen and his son Prince Donatus. And you can taste this curation, because somehow every wine I was allowed to taste is allowed to let its own character out into the air.
For beginners, for example, the estate wine Riesling is a good ticket to the aroma playground of Prinz von Hessen, as winery director Bärbel Weinert (picture, left) explained to me. For the white wine, even Sleeping Beauty would end her slumber and kiss her way from glass to glass – is now my opinion. The trademark of the Prinz von Hessen winery is the coat of arms of Heinrich I, the red and white striped lion. It is also the coat of arms of the state of Hesse and can be found translated into modern design on the bottles. The label is clearly more classically designed than that of the Dachsfilet, which I will present to you later, but at the same time it shows that tradition is being served here, which has been translated into the present with determination and charm.
Cozy, fluffy, fancy: With the Riesling you can super relaxed together (w)eingeschuscheln.
Clear, fresh, smooth: The Gutswein Riesling represents its Hood Rheingau with street and vineyard credibility, but always remains quite approachable and inviting. The Gutswein is like a Tropicana party on the Rhine, but one that keeps the decibel level in check, not banging on loudly, preferring to come around the taste corner quietly seductive with yellow plums, green apple, a bit of quince and subtle lemon balm. Not too acidic, not too tart: I like to be sprinkled with this from January to December.
Riesling Gutswein, Weingut Prinz von Hessen, Price: 10 Euro, via www.vinothek-prinz-von-hessen.de
Secret wine tip 18:
Riesling Dachsfilet, Weingut Prinz von Hessen (Germany)
I already introduced you to the Prinz von Hessen winery yesterday. It is one of the most famous producers of Riesling and since the beginning of its existence a member of the VDP, the Association of German Prädikat Wine Estates. The Riesling soundtrack from the Rheingau should definitely be melted on the tongue.
That one drinks oneself with the Riesling Dachsfilet into a rousing and multi-layered wine story, one feels already with the label. I’m just totally celebrating, and the tangible lettering embossing makes the anticipation even greater. One thing in advance: This is a white wine that you have to get involved with, where you should have a desire to discover. Take time, smartphone aside, best with someone who shares the wine quirk – father, mother, best friends – to Gemüte lead. Because the different character traits come out only gradually, with each sip you get to know each other better, understand each other better.
Pure label love: The fine Dachs is not a sprinter, but a pleasure hike that brings everyone to the good-mood destination.
The Dachsberg site has developed excellently due to the climate change of recent years. Located at 180 meters above sea level, Dachsberg is the highest, steepest and windiest site of the winery. The stony soil forces the vines to root deeply, giving the wines a mineral style. To me, the Riesling with its very fine acidity somehow reminds me of Alice in Wonderland, except that a white badger picks you up with a wine picnic basket, invites you into the badger’s den, you bathe yourself in a colorful fantasy fruit basket through creamy, juicy waves of apple, pear, peach, apricot and dried fruit before waking up and competing with the Cheshire Cat. This may not be apparent to one or the other until the second bottle, but that’s a) beneficial for everyone involved and b) you’ll certainly have something to talk about. Only please do not make a novel out of it, the wine would like to be drunk most simply.
Riesling Dachsfilet, Weingut Prinz von Hessen, Price: 22,50 Euro, via www.vinothek-prinz-von-hessen.de
Secret wine tip 19:
Cuvée Terlaner, Cantina Terlan (South Tyrol)
That I have a crush on South Tyrol is no longer a secret, and the travel experiences this year in the Vinum Hotels such as the Ansitz Plantitscherhof (click: here’s to the hotel report), the Plattenhof (click: here’s to the hotel report), or the Matillhof (click: here’s to the hotel report) have already awakened the wanderlust and desire to continue next year. Therefore, a South Tyrolean wine had to be on the list of wine secret tips that you should definitely try in 2021. And the Cuvée Terlaner from Cantina Terlan is a feast for all those who like refreshing, seductive white wines.
Terlan’s home, South Tyrol, is a melting pot of contrasts that grow into a harmonious whole: in the midst of this northernmost province of Italy, alpine peaks merge with Mediterranean scenery. About halfway between the cities of Merano and Bolzano, is the wine village of Terlan. The wide Adige Valley runs in a southeasterly direction here, and the village and vineyards nestle against the red porphyry rocks of the Tschöggelberg on the ortographically left side of the valley. Founded in 1893, the Cantina or Terlan Winery is today one of the leading winegrowers’ cooperatives in South Tyrol. It currently has 143 members, with a cultivated area of 190 hectares. The modern winery produces 30 percent red and 70 percent white wines, all of which carry the D.O.C. designation (controlled designation of origin).
How mesmerizing can white wine be? Just let yourself be mesmerized by the Cuvée Terlaner from the Terlan Winery in South Tyrol!
The composition of the three most traditional Terlan white wine varieties, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, is a multi-layered and seductive wine experience that both refreshes and hypnotizes. Pinot Blanc, which forms the main part, provides freshness and a good acid structure, Chardonnay softness and warmth while Sauvignon complements the cuvée with its fine aromatics. Terlaner tastes like the moment to dive into the outdoor pool with a view of the South Tyrolean mountains in the sunshine, to block out all stress, to forget about time, knowing that there will soon be a stunning three-course meal complete with local wine accompaniment. A switch-off wine as a glass journey to South Tyrol, on the passenger seat and the back seat breathe you fresh green apples, peach, lemon balm and a bucket load of mineral kisses. Makes mood, remains in memory – and is still absolutely fairly affordable. Attention: Danger of falling in love!
Cuvée Terlaner Alto Adige DOCG, Cantina Terlan, Price: around 14 Euro, via www.hawesko.de/terlaner
Tenuta Luce, Lucente 2018 (Italy)
For me, good wine also means (re)experiencing great moments. Lastingly impressive was the tasting of the Luce red wine from Tenuta Luce. An Italian with a release for just before triple digits, rumored to be one of George Clooney’s favorite wines and something like the Champions League trophy. For beginners, however, there is fortunately a closer ticket to the Luce vineyard playground: the Lucente, quasi the younger brother of the light figure.
On the coaching bench: Lamberto Frescobaldi. He has the task of successfully leading the Luce della Vite winery, which was founded in 1995 out of a dream of two game changers in international winemaking history, Vittorio Frescobaldi from Florence and Robert Mondavi from Napa Valley/California, right next to Castelgiocondo, into the future with oenological skill. Tenuta Luce is one of the highest situated wineries in Montalcino, with 350 to 420 meters of altitude. It covers 192 hectares of land, of which 77 hectares are covered with vines.
The average yield of Tenuta Luce is kept very low, around 30 hectoliters of wine per hectare, in order to strengthen the character of the grape varieties and allow the terroir to fully develop. The varieties are harvested separately and are only blended together towards the end of November after fermentation is complete. Lucente means luminous, radiant, the symbol of the sun with the twelve lambent rays of flame is found in many places in Tuscany on facades and archways. No wonder the Frescobaldi family uses the name Luce for another winery in Montalcino. The light makes the vines grow and gives the wine its strength. A playful blend of Merlot and Sangiovese grapes. Unlike the Luce, the Lucente features a higher proportion of Merlot compared to Sangiovese – already somewhat unusual for the region, as oenologist Alessandro Marini reveals to me during our joint digital tasting, but a tactic that pays off.
All pleasure hiking trails lead to the sun, better: the Lucente.
For the list of wine secret tips to try in 2021, this red wine is as set as Andrea Pirlo in the gentleman’s club. The cuvée is, so to speak, the entrance ticket to the aromatic experiences made by Tenuta Luce. And what does the Lucente bring to the square? Plums, black cherries, cassis and balsamic notes meet under floodlight atmosphere, the entry velvety, the tension dense, but the play briskly fluid. The red fruits kick balls back and forth with toasty notes, juicy but elegant, and felt each sip has a very dynamic energy. You want to delay the drinking game so you can take it all in, too, but in the end I can only make one wish: overtime, please!
Lucente 2018, Tenuta Luce, Price: around 28 Euro, via www.bremer-weinkolleg.de/TENUTA-LUCE
Secret wine tip 21:
LE VOLTE DELL’ORNELLAIA 2018, Ornellaia (Italia)
Once stay in this hotel, once drive this dream car, once own a tailor-made suit from this tailor – once play for this club: The Tenuta dell’Ornellaia stands for the special, is a Bucket List Goal for many people with wine quirk, is one of the most famous wineries in the world, so to speak Vine Champions League. Many wines of the Tuscan winery, picturesquely located in Bolgheri, are considered a safe investment. But then I wouldn’t play along anymore, the fruit salads belong on the square, want to be drunk and experienced after all.
The vineyards of the exceptional family winery extend partly along the Via Bolgherese and in Bellaria, in the northwest of Bolgheri. The winery relies on classic Bordeaux varieties in its plots. Depending on the subzone, the soils are characterized by alluvial, volcanic or marine origin. The proximity to the sea and the protection provided by the neighboring hills favor a microclimate in which the grapes can ripen perfectly. Gentle sea breezes soften the summer heat, and in winter the hills protect against icy winds. All that’s really missing is a coach to mold all the individual players into a delicate team. This is the job of winery director Axel Heinz.
Has the vine synphony in mind: Ornellaia estate director Axel Heinz.
The grapes from each site are fermented separately, as each base wine should express the different facets of its parcel of origin – the soils, the sun exposure and the grape variety. Only after one year of barrel aging are the wines “married” together. Even in difficult years, the estate manages to produce remarkable drops. The exceptional shield, so to speak the Champions League cup, is the “Ornellaia”, which is one of the best (and most expensive) red wines in Italy. But because it is important to Ornellaia that you not only dream, but also enjoy, there are also beginner tickets to the winery world, and in front of these wines you do not have to be afraid, they also do not want to condemn to poetry analayse. Wines like the “Le Volte dell’Ornellaia 2018” show accessible, entertaining but sensitive, where the journey to Tuscany can go. And so much in advance: the journey melts on the tongue. By the way, I find the designation second wine almost too bad, because the Le Volte gives a view of the big brother, but has its own character.
A Tuscan journey in which you want to get involved again and again: the Le Volte dell’Ornellaia.
I always wonder what the wines tasted like that the protagonists in Game of Thrones, especially Tyrion Lannister, have enjoyed. And when I taste the “Le Volte dell’Ornellaia 2018”, I somehow see him and Oberyn Martell in front of me, looking out to sea under palm trees with a jug of it. It smells of red berries and balsamic, you can feel a light floral spicy windy breeze, plus a tray full of chocolate. Drinking it, you get a cherry on the cherry in the most royal way, a red wine that flatters but is not at a loss for some pithy acid arguments. In short, a trip to Italy that is as entertaining and tasty as it is demanding to be continued.
Le Volte dell’Ornellaia 2018, Ornellaia, Price: 20 Euro, via www.superiore.de
Secret wine tip 22:
Cuvée S, Weingut David Klenert (Germany)
Personally, I think multi-talent is a very overused word, but if it fits justifiably, then I throw the word into the room and let’s be honest: Everyone can tolerate a multi-talent in his vicinity. Whether that’s a partner who, in addition to listening, can cook as well as assemble 3000-piece Ikea kits in seconds, or a wine in the fridge that you can rely on for all situations, that entertains, cheers up, comforts and amuses.
The Baden winemaker David Klenert, whom I already introduced to you at the beginning of the list of wine secret tips that you should try in 2021, has a lot of multi-talent wines in his luggage. After I have already presented the Cuvée Rot here, here comes a tip for all white wine fans: the Cuvée S – S as in Scheurebe.
Can be wild as well as cuddly: Cuvée S is a multi-talented white wine that is always fun to drink. Except when it’s empty.
Cuvée S is a wine for all occasions, where even Colt Seavers would invest his deposit in a bottle again. Why? You want to celebrate a good date? Then nix the Cuvée S. Consoling yourself from a bad one? Cuvée S. Can’t sleep at night? Cuvée S. Barbecue or cake with grandma? Cuvée S. An entertaining, refreshingly honest wine that makes you want more, and is simply your best friend. With everything an animating white wine should bring – in this case, a gentle bark of mango, lime, peach and pear. More words need not be said about this wine, he himself does not want, because he has only one request: drink me!
David Klenert, Cuvée S, Price: around 10 Euro, via Mail at klenert-wein.de/unsere-weine
Secret wine tip 23:
Cuvée Hilda, André Macionga x Weingut Disibodenberg (Germany)
n German-speaking countries, the term “Cuvée” stands for a blend of different grape varieties. The aim here is to achieve the best possible quality of the wine by blending the individual grape varieties in an optimal balance. It is possible, for example, to blend the grape varieties already in the wine press, the so-called wine press. This means that the grapes are harvested and pressed together. Another option is to mix the grape juice in the fermenter. However, the most famous and classic method is to blend the already matured wine. Accordingly, here you take the varietal and already stored wine, take a sample, after which begin the experiments in search of the perfect wine beat. These cuvée soundtracks from already matured wines are the metier of André Macionga.
Always has inventive ideas: Cuvée tailor and sommelier André Macionga.
Not only has he long been head sommelier for celebrity chef Tim Raue, but he has also been developing exceptional cuvées together with some of Germany’s best wineries for over ten years. In the wine cellar, together with the winemaker, he tastes barrel after barrel. Through this series of tastings, André Macionga sensory assembles a taste picture. He asks himself the question: What could go together, what not? Through his experience, he quickly has a conversational vision of what might emerge from the various flavors. Whether with the Franconian top winemaker Horst Sauer, Jochen Dreissigacker from Rheinhessen, Markus Schneider from the Palatinate or the grand seigneur Heymann-Löwenstein from the steep slopes of the Mosel: Reben-Maßschneider André Macionga brings liquid wine couture into the glass and because among them is also an affordable entry to the exquisite dress codes for beginners, I’m happy to have him on the list of my wine secret tips for 2021 and to have the opportunity to try one of these mixtapes.
Already the fancy outfit of the “Hilda” white wine cuvée from André Macionga & the winery Disibodenberg shows: Here is an elegant, characterful fun maker waiting for the opener. The current Disibodenberg winery (formerly the Klostermühle Odernheim winery) is located in the heart of the Nahe wine-growing region in Rhineland-Palatinate. It originated in the early Middle Ages as a farm of the Disibodenberg monastery and thus stands for over one thousand years of winegrowing tradition.
Taste light figure: the Riesling Cuvée “Hilda” by André Macionga.
A well blended blend does not do one thing above all: dazzle. But the danger does not arise here at all, you notice already at the first olfactory flirt that producer André Macionga as well as the pourers (so I and soon you) may take the mouth full properly. At this point would now actually come a longer description, but I was so flashed after tasting, as it really rarely happens. One of the best five white wines I have ever drunk, and this is only the entry into the Cuvée world of André Macionga, which then starts at around 50 euros. “Hilda” has to be drunk, discovered, it’s hard to put it into words, but I’ll try to at least give you an idea of why you’re investing those 18 euros in an experience. The Riesling cuvée is a wine that comes across as absolutely unarrogant, almost shy when you smell it – although with the mixture of hay and iced tea, you already suspect that this could be an unusual ride. And it will be. The first sip is a massage of lemon balm, apple, grapefruit, lime and caramelized pineapple. You get the impression there’s something wanting to get out of its bottle prison, and it gets more and more impressive the longer it’s allowed to play in the glass. After the fourth sip, an incredibly sexy acidity comes into place and sets up camp in the mouth. “Hilda” reminds me of the Netflix hit “Dark”: unusual, partly complex, multi-layered, entertaining, you want to know more, stay tuned, are curious about what comes next, then the flavors go back to the beginning, new ones are added, you wonder what twist is coming again now, and in the end you are just: addictively flashed. The wine should be streamed in 2021 urgently.
Cuvée Hilda, André Macionga x Klostermühle Odernheim, Price: 18 Euro, via andremaciongacuvee.com/shop
Secret wine tip 24:
Robert Mondavi Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (USA)
Nappa Valley is a bit like Maranello for wine fans: a place of longing (especially if you’re sitting here in Munich) from which elegant fun makers come. The advantage here, using the example of the red wine from the Robert Mondavi winery: You can afford the fun makers even as a normal citizen. Ok, the Cabernet Sauvignon is not a wine for times fast in between, on which one looks forward quite consciously and goes just for it once less fast food eat. It’s tastier anyway. And it’s worth it.
Best wine accessory: The Josephine No 3 glass completes the wine experience with the Californian red wine.
Snuggle up in sun-drenched Nappa Valley. And that without hours of flying.
With a great deal of experience, innovation and experimentation, Robert Mondavi set new standards in cellar technology and the resulting exceptional quality elevated Robert Mondavi and the winery, founded in 1966, onto the Wine Bucket List wine map. Today, highly decorated head winemaker Geneviève Janssens carries on the philosophy of Mondavi, who died in 2008. I was totally blown away by the Cabernet because it really takes me in the direction of California when I drink it. You smell, sip, close your eyes, and feel transported to the pool house of O.C, California, standing at the edge of the pool in a slightly unbuttoned tailored shirt and chinos, and forgetting all the hustle and bustle around it. Everyone has the soundtrack in their ears? Then: Wine time, California here we come! Blueberries, black currants, cherries and blackberries splash with vanilla and herbal notes, spirited, sophisticated, but totally relaxed and moody. Keep pouring instead of switching off here. I say replay!
Secret wine tip 25:
Signature Edition, Weingut Thomas Diehl (Germany)
Another vintner’s secret tip, another young vine DJ whose wine beats I warmly recommend to you is Thomas Diehl from the Diehl Winery in Stuttgart. The Diehl winery was founded in 1972 by Helmut Diehl, today son Thomas sits on the bench and plays the tactics board. Quality and sustainability throughout the production process is particularly important to the family. In the production of the wines, Thomas & team place great emphasis on yield reduction and a selective hand harvest. These are complemented, where appropriate, by state-of-the-art methods in cellar management. The natural fermentation processes are interfered with as little as possible to preserve the character of the grapes.
For me, Thomas is one of the cool young savages who show a sense of style in both dress code and etiquette. For example, Thomas supports the organization Frauen Helfen Frauen Stuttgart with his new Hamster Winter Edition. (For me, the Hamster wine series is one of the best and, with its lovingly designed labels, arouses real collector’s fever – I’ll present the wines to you again explicitly separately.) But the wines are also tailored ready for enjoyment and have an excellent outfit in the truest sense of the word: With Thomas’ entry, the corporate design of the family business has also undergone a transformation, which earned the winery the Red Dot Design Award 2019 and the German Design Award 2020. The focus of this refreshing getup is the migratory hoopoe, an endangered bird.
For centuries, this cultural successor in the vineyard was a welcome beneficial insect and helper, until one day it disappeared. It was not until 2017 that it reappeared in the region. Every year, the hoopoe comes from Africa to breed in the Stuttgart vineyards. He embodies the values of the family business: cosmopolitanism, loyalty to the region, and modesty. The Diehl family also dedicates its estate wines to the hoopoe, as well as the cuvee edition “The Hopoe Edition”, which I can only warmly recommend – honest, unagitated fun wines that bring elegance without wanting to take center stage. Nice!
The company’s seven hectares of vineyards are located around Württemberg, on sites on the Mönchberg, Götzenberg, Schlossberg and Altenberg – their horizon lines can be found on the labels. This is also the case with the Signature Edition, (in addition to the Hamster Edition) my wine secret tip, which you should try in 2021 at the latest. The collection, which is available individually or practically as a tasting package, consists of the red wine cuvée “Manifesto,” the white wine cuvée “Pragmatist,” and the rosé cuvée “Elliot” – all of which are dry, by the way.
Elegant but unagitated, classy but very approachable: The Signature Line by Thomas Diehl.
Manifesto is perfect for those intimidated by or unable to tolerate heavy red wines – you’ll be taken by the hand here in a very light filigree way. The red wine smells like mist on a mountainside just before the sun rises. Smells of red berries, lays with very fine discreet spice on the tongue and then goes down smoothly-melted-easy, clean, horny, accessible elegant – best wine entertainment for all generations who have fun enjoying without wanting to write a dissertation on the wine. In short: very dry humor from Stuttgart. The white wine cuvée Pragmatist and the rosé Elliott also exude this par excellence.
The Pragmatist is an unusual white wine. It does not have the classic – but just also expected – structure, but rather reminds me of horny, freshly pressed apple juice without any additives. I always drank it as a child, when we brought the apples from Grandpa’s garden to the small fruit press in the neighboring village and juice was pressed from them. Absilut pure, soft, melting, and then suddenly comes a horny acidity around the corner, which tickles the palate and simply makes incredibly hot for the next sip. This is a wine that also makes women’s hearts beat faster, because it is wonderfully uncomplicated but incredibly charming. The same applies to the Rosé Elliott – it prefers it short and crisp anyway: to get into it. No self-promoter, but authentic summer mood made in Stuttgart. Great stuff!
The Signature Edition, Weingut Thomas, Diehl, Price: 39 Euro, via www.weingut-diehl.com/wine-tasting-boxen