Tag Archives: vdp

Four Levels of Elegance

We reach for the glasses, noses approach the rims. Expectations and curiousity. These glasses contain something special. It is not that often you are poured a wine from ungrafted vines. This Palatine Riesling is an exception. Old vines, original vitis vinifera rootstocks. We smell, taste and scribble in our nootebooks. Expectations met.

Siegrist VRudus 2012

Siegrist √rudus 2010 is mindblowing. Riesling at its best. Graceful aromas of petroleum, citrus, minerality. Delicious complexity. Plus that pure, cristal clear impression. A wine steeped in the hallmark of Siegrist, elegance.

According to the wine list, √rudus officially qualifies into the third level of elegance. We, we would put it on the fourth and highest.

The grapes comes from an old plot in the Leinsweiler Sonnenberg. Old Riesling vines, slowly but surely reaching the end of their time on earth, perhaps only five vintages more to harvest. Sad, because this is a marvellous wine. Aged one year in new barriques, something we wouldn’t have guessed, but on the other hand not surprising to learn. Barriques is another hallmark of Siegrist.

Weingut Siegrist, Leinsweiler, Pfalz

We sit in the “probierstube” and have tasted a range of beautiful white wines before reaching the √rudus. The first impression we got at the Sommelier’s Day in Gothenburg has been confirmed. Weingut Siegrist, Leinsweiler, Pfalz, Germany, owned by the families Siegrist and Schimpf, is the origin of the most delicious wines.

The white wines dominate Siegrist’s production, counting for about 70%. Riesling is on top of the list with 30%, followed by Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay. However, Thomas Siegrist decided early on to go seriously for the reds. The result are beautiful Pinot Noirs, but let’s start with the whites.

Monika DapprichWhen we arrive, we get a copy of the wine list. As being one of the first winery visits on our Pfalz-Baden wine tour, we are not (yet) used to the multitude of wines. The list makes us a bit overwhelmed and slightly confused. It comprises about 30 wines. We through a glance at Monika Dapprich with slight despair in our eyes. What to taste? Then Monika asks us to turn the paper. And see! Another long list of wines, the top qualities. In total almost 50.

Later on our journey we understand that these long wine lists are common. No, not just common, it is the standard. Many grape varieties, many plots with different soil and micro climat and many quality levels. A big share of the wines are sold locally and we are explained that there is a demand for the large range of wines. Although confusing at first. As newcomers in the region we need some guidance to find the “passion line for  wine lovers”. So we gratefully take the advice from our hosts at each winery and learn.

Seigrist Hermes logo

Siegrist’s wines are divided into four quality levels corresponding to the VDP (Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter) classification:

  • The entry level line of VDP.Gutswein is named Solidus, latin for “solid” (and originally the name of a Roman gold coin).
  • Concretus, the VDP.Ortswein, comes next. The mid line, where the wines so to say get more serious, more concrete.
  • Then the Primus, wines from the prime vineyard plots, classified as VDP.Erste Lage.
  • On top of the quality pyramide, the Grosses Gewächs from the very best plots, the VDP.Grosse Lage, that is the Grand Crus.

The common denominator throughout the four quality levels is elegance. The wines share a graceful clarity and purity. Add thereto exquisite aromas in layers of nuances, an attractive vibrating nerve and a backbone of precise acidity and you have some of the touchable components of the Siegrist elegance. We find these elements already in the Solidus entry level, they grow in the Concretus and reach a delicate crescendo in the Primus and Grand Crus. Four levels of elegance.

Siegrist Solidus Riesling and Pinot Blanc 2013

From Solidus, the entry level, we taste some nice 2013 including young, fresh and variety true wines from Riesling, Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay. The still Pinot Noir Blanc de Noir gives an impression between red and white and we agree when Monika suggests it to be a lovely companion to lightly spiced Asian food, for example with some coriander.

The Solidus Sauvignon Blanc 2013 is a rather new arrival in the Siegrist grape family, included when Thomas Siegrist’s wife Gisela came up with the idea for the replanting of a plot.  It has the typical Sauvignon Blanc cursors, but expressed in a nicely restrained version. Fresh, light and clear with minerality.  As a charming gentle summer breeze.

Siegrist cellar

Siegrist is a renowed barrique pioneer in the region and the practice was already in the mid 80ies an important part of the winemaking. Since some years the wood has its origin in the Pfälzerwald, i.e. the Palatine forest, the home of slowly growing oak trees.

“We cut the oak in the Pfälzerwald and then send it to a cooper in Burgundy where the barrels are made. The quality of the Palatine oak is so good that the French now come and buy it for their own barrels,” Monika tells us.

Barriques are used both for red and white wines. The √rudus Riesling is one white example. In the Concretus line it is usual to give a part of the wine some time in barrique. Reaching Primus and Grand Cru level, barrique ageing is rather the rule.

From the Concretus line we taste a beautiful quartet of 2012:s. The Riesling Heidenbäumel is gentle with nice body, precise and clear, stylish, delicious and pure. The Chardonnay Hagestolz lovely with restrained power and a delicious texture. The Pinot Blanc  is almost crispy with nice body, luscious floral notes and minerality. The Pinot Gris charming, tight and very dry.

“We like the wines as dry as possible,” says Monika. “Very often people in the region say that Siegrist makes the driest wines.”

Thomas Siegrist
Thomas Siegrist.

As the attentive reader perhaps already has noted, Siegrist uses consequently the international (French) names of the grapes. Easy for many not that familiar with the German names. For example is Pinot Blanc the same as Weissburgunder. And, when mentioning that grape, we have to admit that it is here, in Siegrist’s tasting room, our new crush for Weissburgunder really takes off.

If the Concretus Pinot Blanc sowed the seeds of Weissburgunder passion, the Primus Pinot Blanc Lössriedel 2012  consolidates the love. Grapes from a soil of six to eight meters of dusty loess, which gives a delicious creamy texture, complexity in flavours, nerve and tension. Elegance in a nutshell.

Siegrist’s Chardonnays impressed us already in the entry level. The Hagestolz added to our admiration. When we reach the Primus line, i.e. the VDP.Erste Lage, we meet the Chardonnay Reserves.  Raised in lightly toasted oak from the Pfälzerwald, seductively pure, balanced and complex with almost eternal length. 2011 more powerful than the 2012. Both exquisite.

To round of the tour of dry whites we return to the Leinsweiler Sonnenberg, right across the village from the winery. A beautiful southfacing slope with calcareous soil, where Siegrist owns a good part, 2,5 hectar of the total eight. A grand cru slope for Pinot Noir and Riesling.

We taste the Sonnenberg Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2009. It is gorgeous. So much Riesling, with a promising life ahead.  The fourth level of elegance.

Sonnenberg old vine

And the Pinot Noirs? To be continued…

You first read the story “The four levels of elegance” on Lovely Wine GrapesAll posts on Lovely Wine Grapes about our visit to Weingut Siegrist in March 2015:

Links to Weingut Siegrist homepage and on Facebook.


Treat for petroleum lovers, Leitz Rüdesheimer Berg Rottland 2009

Such a beautiful Riesling from Weingut Leitz in Rheingau, Germany! Made of grapes from younger vines, grown at premium site Berg Rottland in Rüdesheim. In the hands of this renowned VDP grower and Riesling expert turned into a delicious wine.

Leitz Rüdesheimer Berg Rottland 2009

2009 Rüdesheimer Berg Rottland, Weingut Leitz
Lovely nose with petroleum,  citrus and minerality. On the palate, very good acidity lingered with the aromas found in the nose. Very good length with palate filling fresh fruitiness.
Great backbone and such a treat for us petroleum lovers. Delicious!

Sommeliers’ Day 2015

Sommelierernas Dag 2015A weekend in Gothenburg permeated by wine in several dimensions. A great opportunity to explore a lot of beautiful wines, to add knowledge and contacts in the world of wine, and not least, to have some great fun .

Last weekend was the 15th anniversary of Sommeliers’ Day in Gothenburg. This year a new venue, Clarion Hotel Post, and, thanks to the anniversary, the one day event had extended into two. Master classes and tastings on Saturday and beverage fair on Sunday. A great concept, which we hope will be here to stay.

Choices were necessary on Saturday. Three out of eight seminars were possible to get into the personal agenda. Of course we joined the Spanish Garnacha master class held by Michel Jamais. Garnacha has become a favourite and we have given it some extra attention over the last year.

While He continued with micro breweries and then destilled beverage with Jamais, yours truly went to Germany and Joel B Paynes master class on VDP. 18 wines later a seed  had been sown, a desire to dive deeper. We have so often just jumped over Germany and started to follow the wine routes more to the west. Time to do something about that.

The day ends back in Spain. Sherry master class with Anders Öhman. An overview of the different styles, as per Gonzalez Byass. All so delicious, but it is the 30 year old Apostoles VORS that steals my heart.

Sunday begins with a right-hand turn. There they stand in line, the German VDP producers. To our great surprise we don’t need to queue to get a chat and taste. We take the turn twice. First the white one, then the red with Spätburgunder in focus. The enthusiasm from yesterday’s VDP seminar gets more fuel and we sense the beginning of a German love affair.

It is always particularly fun to talk directly to the producers. No wonder that we stop and let Sandrine from Domaine Thibert pour some lovely Chardonnay from the villages in French Macôn.

To choose was unfortunately necessary also on Sunday. A lot of exhibitors and limited opening hours. Time flew, but we got the chance to taste some more nice wines: French, Spanish, some Austrian, Australian and a couple of American from Oregon. No one mentioned, none forgotten. Soon enough we will return. Full scribbled note books and many interesting leads to follow make that a promise.

Congratulations to Sommelierföreningen Västra Sektionen for a great event!

Sommeliers' Day 2015 glasses