Weingut Ratzenberger / Fam. Ratzenberger
The most beautiful way of traveling to Bacharach on the Rhine is by boat, passing the famous Loreley cliff. To the left and right of the Middle Rhine, medieval castles and picturesque villages follow in quick succession. Bacharach is one of the most beautiful towns in the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Once there, the locality of Steeg can be reached on foot within half an hour or by car in just five minutes.
Steeg is located within a narrow valley of the same name, situated at a 90-degree angle to the Rhine. The steep vineyards, covered mostly with Riesling, with names such as St. Jost, Posten, Kloster Fürstental or Wolfshöhle, benefit from perfect southern exposure. The dangerous and strenuous nature of winemaking is clearly illustrated here, with a slope angle of up to 70%! On reaching the top, after a short break you can savour the view over the mighty river and all the way over to Burg Stahleck.
Various types of slate form the ground on which the Riesling wines evolve with different characters, from fresh “feinherb” wines, Spätlese (late harvest) bottlings with subtle sweetness, to complex Grosses Gewächs, which reveal their full potential with advancing age. In Jochen Ratzenberger’s dark rock cellar, slumbering bottles of old vintages impressively prove this point. And there's a wonderful Riesling sparkling wine which is produced using traditional methods and is riddled by hand – a true discovery for novices and connoisseurs alike. Last but not least are the sumptuous Eisweine (ice wines), precious nectars which nature only provides once every few years in tiny quantities.
For three generations, everyone in the family has contributed to the estate, especially during harvest time. The Ratzenbergers also have two charming holiday apartments, far away from mass tourism, that can be rented for wonderful hiking holidays. www.weingut-ratzenberger.de
Sparkling wines from Weingut Ratzenberger / Fam. Ratzenberger
White wines from Weingut Ratzenberger / Fam. Ratzenberger
Sweet wines from Weingut Ratzenberger / Fam. Ratzenberger
Azienda Agricola Pratello
In Padenghe sul Garda, a small medieval village at the south-western end of Lake Garda, lies the traditional but also progressive Azienda Agricola Pratello.
Nicolas Feuillatte, a visionary and gifted entrepreneur, presented his Champagne for the first time in 1976. It quickly became the trendy brand in jet-setter circles in the USA, Australia and England, circles which Nicolas Feuillatte regularly frequented. In just 30 years, Nicolas Feuillatte rose to become the No. 1 Champagne brand in France, and in 2016, exactly 40 years after its founding, it became the third largest export brand worldwide.