Discover Germany, Issue 52, July 2017

Page 26

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Made in Germany

Frank Schönleber.

Sustainable winegrowing with a centuries-old tradition The first indication to viticulture in Monzingen can be dated back to the year 778. The forefathers of winegrowers Schönleber have held onto their winegrowing traditions since the middle of the 18th century. TEXT: INA FRANK  |  PHOTOS: WEINGUT EMRICH-SCHÖNLEBER

The viticulture at VDP-Weingut EmrichSchönleber is based on three principles: their wine offers true drinking pleasure; it is authentic, showing unflatteringly its origin; and it has a distinctive character; wines that are ‘only’ good are not enough. These principles have been natural long before they were actually formulated and set out in writing, as Frank Schönleber, holder and winemaker of the estate, explains. “Our principles are based on our own experiences in drinking wine. Of course, we try many different wines, but we always realise that we only empty the bottle if one can assume that that the principles were fulfilled for that specific wine. That’s why it has been always our aim to produce these kind of wines.” The Emrich-Schönleber estate is located in Monzingen, in the region of Nahe. The grapes grow very closely to the winery, 26  |  Issue 52  |  July 2017

within a radius of only three kilometres. In total, Emrich-Schönleber’s vineyard area has a size of 19 hectares. Riesling is their favourite variety and makes up more than 85 per cent of the cultivation, along with Grauburgunder, Weißburgunder and Müller-Thurgau. In the past 25 years, recultivation has been an important issue to Emrich-Schönleber’s vineyards. “Some of the best sites in Monzingen were not used for decades and then overgrew,” Schönleber tells. “We have been recultivating about five hectares of these areas since the beginning of the 1990s.” In 2007, the steepest part of the Halenberg vineyard was cleared and the soil was loosened for the future young grapevines. On the steep slope, the vines had to be planted by hand. The hard work paid off – particularly in 2007, there were optimal conditions for the quick growing

of the vines, it was not too hot and there were quite a few extensive rainfalls. Today, ten years later, the wines from this site are already of great quality. Yet, it will take some more years before they show enough depth to carry the name of the famous VDP.GROSSE LAGE® (grand cru) Halenberg on the label. These wines from Monzingen have been awarded with the rating ‘world class’ in the relevant wine guides in Germany. So, what is the wine expert’s insider tip? “My favourite Riesling is the Mineral,” Schönleber reveals.“It has a strong, special character and one can always discover new exciting aspects of it.” Wine cellar.