Roter Satz 2015
QbA Pfalz, Weingut Rings, 750 ml
A ripe nose of sour cherries and dark berries. Subtle pepper notes. Very juicy on the palate with soft tannins and a balanced acidity.
|Origin:||Germany / Pfalz|
|Grape variety:||Portugieser, Sankt Laurent, Dornfelder, Cabernet Sauvignon|
|Ripening potential:||1 to 5 years|
|Serving temperature:||16 to 18 °C|
|Food pairing suggestion:||Italian antipasti, Apéro riche, Roast veal with morel sauce, Crispy roast chicken, Pork fillet with plums|
|Vinification:||fermentation in wooden barrel|
|Harvest:||strict selection, hand-picking with simultaneous grape sel|
|Maturation:||in large wooden barrel/foudre|
|Maturation duration:||11 months|
Weingut Rings, part of the Palatinate’s vineyard premier league, lies embedded in the sun-drenched Palatinate, right in the middle of the Freinsheim winegrowing district. For more than a decade, the new generation of the Rings family has been passionately concentrating on the ecological production of high quality dry wines. The hallmarks of Weingut Rings are well-balanced, dense wines with pronounced character and great cellar potential.
The Palatinate region, also known as the German Tuscany, really is a charming district. Its mild climate enables almond trees to blossom, figs and bergamot oranges to ripen, pines and cypress trees to grow and the finest wines to thrive. No wonder that the Romans felt so at home here!
The Rings family are based in Freinsheim, a few kilometres north of the small and picturesque spa town of Bad Dürkheim. In 2008, brothers Andreas and Steffen took over responsibility of the vineyard from their parents. The two highly qualified vintners restructured the entire production so that the company would carry out its own bottling. Before this, their father exclusively produced cask wine, as well as being involved in fruit cultivation. Their indefatigable striving for quality ensured that experts soon took notice. Quite deservedly, in 2012 the brothers were awarded the German Red Wine Award for their Portugieser Reserve 2009, and were therefore distinguished as THE newcomers. In 2015, the estate was accepted into the VDP (Association of German Prädikat Wine Estates), and in 2017 was distinguished with 4 grapes by the Gault-Millau Wine Guide.
The original 12 hectares has since been expanded by a further 19 hectares. The estate owns high quality vineyards in the municipalities of Freinsheim, Ungstein and Kallstadt, and which have completely different soil properties. The most well-known sites are: in Freinsheim Das Kreuz, in Ungstein the Weilberg (around the Roman villa with its sensational view of the lowlands) and in Kallstadt the Saumagen. For a long time now, the brothers have been employing organic cultivation methods, and are currently in the process of becoming a certified organic winery. Their approach is to interfere with vinification as little as possible. The grape musts are fermented spontaneously without the addition of yeasts, and are in part only lightly filtered, or not at all. The yields are strictly controlled, and especially in the case of the single vineyard wines are kept very low.
The range of grape varieties grown includes international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, as well as varieties typical of this region, such as Riesling, Silvaner, Saint Laurent and Dornfelder.
Steffen and Andreas Rings’ motivation is to coax out the unique character of every site or indeed plot, and so to add their personal signature to each of their wines.
The backbone of Bordeaux
The Cabernet Sauvignon gives the Bordeaux its backbone, yielding deep violet wines with powerful tannins and endless ripening potential. It is the top dog in Médoc, and is placed in all five premier crus of Bordelais. When young, it often appears strict and unapproachable, but with advancing years, its tannins round off. It is wonderfully velvety, and yet always maintains its freshness. Typical flavours include cassis, graphite and cedar. Wherever Cabernet Sauvignon is found, Merlot is not far away. It complements the robust structure of Cabernet with softness, fruit and richness. The Cabernet Sauvignon is the most-exported vine in the world. It delivers persuasive qualities in Italy as an ingredient of the Super Tuscan, or as the flagship variety from California. There, it is lovingly titled “Cab Sauv”. Meat fans should be aware that it fantastically accompanies a grilled entrecôte. The family tree of Cabernet Sauvignon is surprising: its parents are Cabernet Franc and the white Sauvignon blanc.
The grape with the halo
The berries of the Saint Laurent fade from the tenth of August, St. Lawrence’s day, the patron saint of chefs. In its homeland in Austria, the variety was formerly called Laurenzitraube. With its aroma of fresh sour cherries and elegant tannins, it appears to be a more powerful version of Pinot noir. However, the two are not related. The Saint Laurent is currently undergoing a boom. Its wines are deep-red, velvety, full-bodied and aromatic. Above all, the qualities from the oak barrels delight lovers of softer, fuller reds. Yet the largest cultivation area is not in Austria, but the Czech Republic. A little anecdote: the Saint Laurent lost its halo there during the Soviet era, and was allowed only to be called Vavrinecké instead of Svatovavrinecké.
Historical, though shady
The source of this variety source is not entirely understood.
According to the story, these shimmering blue berries get their name because they found their way to Austria in 1772 from the historic Portuguese city of Porto.
Historical documents relate that “The Earl of Fries was the Austrian emissary in various countries, including in Portugal. He had vineyards on his property in Vöslau. In 1772, he brought varieties from abroad to Vöslau, allowing them to grow in his vineyard.”
Curiously, however, this vine is completely unknown in Portugal, and so it is suspected to have come from Austria or Hungary.
Portugieser is characterized by its low demands in terms of climate and soil conditions. It also reliably produces high yields. Planted on around 4,500 hectares, this vine is one of the most important red wine grape varieties in Germany today.
The reliable German Growth
This red grape is the most successful German new variety. The Dornfelder was created in 1955 at the State Institute and Research Station for Fruit and Wine Growing in Weinsberg by crossing the Helfensteiner and the Heroldrebe. The variety got its name from Immanuel Dornfeld, who founded the wine school in the 19th century.
Since then, Dornfelder has spread far, as this vine demands little of the soil, matures reliably, and has large, high quality yields. In Germany, around 10% of vineyard area is planted with Dornfelder.
Pfalz: Riesling meets Burgundy
Palatine winemakers manage the feat of vinifying top-tier crus from both white and red varieties. In addition, Riesling presents the same class here as Chardonnay and other Burgundy varieties. This versatility at high quality levels makes Germany’s second-largest wine region a trove of discoveries of all kinds. Tranquil winegrowing towns with a diverse range of culinary offerings and hotels make the Palatinate region a perfect wine travel destination.
Germany – Into the elite the hard way
Sitting in the heart of Europe, the hilly, lake-dotted landscape of Germany provides ideal, fertile soil for the most diverse vine varieties. From Albalonga to Zweigelt, over 140 different grape varieties are grown on about 100,000 acres, cared for by nearly 50,000 vintners. Most of these vintners are young, modern, internationally trained, inquisitive and urbane. It is hardly surprising, then, that German wine has a good reputation well beyond the country's borders.