Reviews Wine and Food Diary of Giles MacDonogh

A Tasting Marathon in Wiesbaden

The last Monday in August is generally the first of two days tasting in the old pumprooms in Wiesbaden. They are dedicated to the ‘Grosses Gewächs’ or dry, ‘grand cru’ wines produced by the VDP organisation in the previous vintage. The VDP (Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter) has around 250 members, and almost all the top estates are members. It is therefore a marvellous opportunity to bring yourself up to date on which is happening in Germany, who is on the way up and who is on the way down and just what was the quality of the last harvest.

I flew out on Sunday morning because Caro Maurer MW had very kindly got me involved in tasting in Nierstein on the Rheinterrassen organised by Felix Peters at St. Antony. Together with the famous neighbouring estate of Heyl zu Herrnsheim, St. Antony is owned by the Hanover clothing magnate Detlev Meyer. Meyer had recently acquired some new land up on the renowned Roter Hang (the Red Cliff) which looks east over the Rhine from the estate of Franz Karl Schmitt and with it he had mopped up about 300 bottles of very old wine. Some of it going back well over a century. According to Peters, Schmitt’s was one of the best wineries in Germany before the war. It was that we were going to taste that Sunday.

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Giles MacDonogh

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