This Article Contains
Theresa Breuer, her uncle Heinrich Breuer, Hermann Schmoranz, the Estate Manager and Marcus Lunden, Cellar Master for 20 years.
Focus: Super fine, elegant, dry Rieslings from Rheingau. Founders of Charta, who focus on that particular style and champion the ranking of vineyards based on geological features and historical precedent.
- Relatively cold winters, hot, medium length, fairly rainy summers, with long, cool, dry autumns.
- This is a special climate for wine in Germany because of four main factors: Aspect, Elevation, and exposure and the River.
- Historically this was the greatest region for white wine in the world. It is warmer than the Mosel, so vintages were more consistent but Its northerly latitude still put it in the cool continental climate zone. This meant perfectly balanced wines with high acid, but ripe intense fruit concentration and the ability to age for… well…ever.
- A bend in the Rhein river means almost the entire Rheingau hillside faces due south, picking up the maximum amount of sunlight and heat available.
- Its moderate to steep slope also helped push ripeness higher, and being along a very wide river, meant reflection of the sun onto the vines for a boost from below.
- Today, what was once a boon, has helped in its waning reputation. Many winemakers continued to push for ripeness in the warming age of climate change, meaning that wines were over ripe, high in alcohol, with low acidities, were generally unbalanced, and not as ageworthy.
- Top producers, like Georg Breuer, have always sought balance above all else, and are one of a handful of estates making brisk, intense wines, which reflect place, but are not over-wrought or flabby.
- White grapes are the majority but there are some great light reds, like Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier that can also ripen well.
- Warmer vintages: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2015 produce wines with lower acidity, higher alcohols, and richer fruit flavors.
- Cooler vintages: 2021, 2013, 2010, 2008 produce what are now considered “classic” cool-climate wines
- 2022 is an enigma. It was hot and very dry for most of the growing season, but rain and long cold fall ended up giving us wines that taste more like “classic” cool-climate wines than rich, ripe wines.
42 hectares, mostly in Rudesheim
- Berg Schlossberg: Rudesheim, Erste Gewächs.The steepest hillside in the Rheingau with very hard quartzite and slate. Snappy, savory, delicate, lacy with high acidity and beautiful minerality. Some of the finest Riesling on earth.
- Berg Rottland: Rudesheim, Erste Gewächs. Some deep löss, moving into shallow gravel soils with slate and sandstone. A very steep site, in a protected natural basin with great access to water. Stony, salty wines with body and power.
- Berg Roseneck: Rudesheim, Erste Gewächs. Deep Phyllite, clay and quartz slate.
- Nonnenberg (Monopole): Rauenthal, Erste Gewächs. South facing site, deep Phyllite soils with gravel deposit. 15 km east/inland from the winery.
- Lorch: 15 km from the winery to the west, around the bend in the Rhine and down a side valley
- The King of White Grapes.
- High acid, semi aromatic
- A huge variation in style potential from very light and dry, sparkling to the most unctuously sweet wines on the planet.
- Divisive for its high acidity and sugar retaining capabilities
- Perfect in its dynamic nature, ability to transmit the slightest nuance of terroir and being capable of aging for hundreds of years.
11% Pinot Noir / Spätburgunder
- German Pinot Noir wines are vinified as dry red wines with complex cherry aroma with subtle hints of smoke and almond, slight tannins, and high acidity, with a long finish.
- Had a poor reputation thanks to high yielding, work-horse, clonal material.
- Now Burgundy clones dominate vineyards for the best producers showcasing this incredible variety's true potential.
10% Pinot Blanc / Weissburgunder
- A white skinned mutation of Pinot Noir
- The secret weapon of the Teutonics. They make the best versions of this grape, and they don’t share them.
- Germany is now the world’s leading producer of Pinot Blanc
- pale to straw yellow in color, and delicate on the nose. A slightly nutlike aroma is typical. Vinified dry, its medium to full body and fine acidity complement many types of food.
- Good examples age very well, although generally made with the aim of everyday fresh and dry wines in mind. Even these seemingly innocuous wines have the ability to age over decades..Pinot Gris / Grauburgunder
- A pink-skinned genetic mutation of Pinot Noir.
- Likely introduced from across the border in nearby Alsace by Cistercian monks.
- Takes on many styles in Germany.
- The country is the world’s third-largest producer of the grape.
- Typically dry and can range from light and fresh to rich and oak-aged.
- Most of the time, these wines are more concentrated and flavorful than Pinot Grigio of Italy, with notes of apple, pear, and nuts.
- Because of its pink skins, Pinot Gris also makes delicious orange wines.
Ancient grapes: Orléans, Heunisch
- Certified by Fair n Green
- Top sites/wines have yields of 15-25 hl/ha (very, very low for Germany)
- Village and Estate wines yield 45 ha/ha on average (still low for Germany)
- Grapes are picked for physiological and aromatic ripeness, not sugar ripeness
- Botrytis is avoided
- A goal of biodiversity rather than monoculture, part of the AmBiTo project.
- Cover crops employed
- No herbicides or pesticides
- Quick press up to 2 bars
- Settle in dopplestück or stainless steel
- Juice browns out, to help with stability later on
- Inoculate with cultivated yeast for clean, quick fermentations, and to avoid malolactic fermentation
- Experimenting with spontaneous fermentations
- pH of Rheingau Riesling is too high to prevent naturally
- No temperature control, but the cellar is very cold.
- Fermentations get up to 26 degrees celsius.
- Battonage on the fine lees
- Filtered before bottling.
- Reds are kept separate to avoid ML as well
- Reds are low extraction, fermented in open top fermenters
- All top wines are expected to age
Founded in 1880 and slowly expanded over the next 100 years. Bernard Breuer, Theresa’s dad, was the driver behind the Charta organization. Started to promote dry, elegant wines in the Rheingau, and to classify vineyards based on old site names (rather than the land consolidation of 1971).
He was also the first to export the wines internationally. In Europe and domestically these are some of THE most sought out and prized dry wines in Germany. Somms and collectors go crazy for them, a phenomenon that has yet to catch on here in the states.
Sadly, Bernard passed away suddenly at 57 in 2004. Since then his daughter Theresa, with the help of family and a long time, dedicated team have kept up the good work. These are some of the finest dry Rieslings in the Rheingau, from incredible, mostly cooler sites, with very little in common with the historical sweet wines of the region.
Like nothing else in Rheingau, and really nothing else in Germany for that matter. These wines encapsulate purity with the differences in site being expressed by slightly different impressions on the palate. Layers of filigreed texture, stones and salt, cream and silk.
Everything in the lineup is thrilling, linear and precise, from the regional charm wines to the single vineyard bottlings. There are few things as special as the late release project, which give a glimpse into the staying power of these wines. I drank a Schlossberg 2017 in Mainz and it was an unforgettable experience of restraint and power.
Georg Breuer, Riesling GB Charm [Off-Dry], 2021 $23.99 $21.11
More phenolic, slightly softer, chewy same blend as the Sauvage but stainless steel tanks that don't finish fermenting.
Georg Breuer, Riesling GB Charm [Off-Dry], 2022 $25.99 $22.87
Georg Breuer, Riesling GB Sauvage Trocken, 2022 $23.99 $21.11
★ Mineral, slatey, lasers, cut, lean, almost no fruit, waxy-limey finish but not candied or fruit forward at all. One of the very best dry wines I’ve had this entire trip. Whole cluster pressed at low pressure, sedimentation to clarify juice, no S02, no temperature control. It’s rare for me to enjoy the dry version of something over the off-dry, but this is just singing.
Georg Breuer, Riesling Lorch Pfaffenwies Trocken, 2021 $109.99 $96.79
Georg Breuer, Riesling Lorch Pfaffenwies Trocken, 2021 (1.5L) $210.00 $184.80
Georg Breuer, Riesling Lorch Trocken, 2021 $32.99 $29.03
Searing, cutting, no fruit, all rocks. LASER BEAMS. salty. The slate here is called Hunstruck, it is a different type with a unique minerality, combined with the cold side valley of Lorch and you get to enjoy this outstanding ode to stones.
Georg Breuer, Riesling Rauenthal Nonnenberg [Monopol] Trocken, 2021 $129.99 $114.39
Georg Breuer, Riesling Rauenthal Nonnenberg [Monopol] [Trocken], 2021 (1.5L) $240.00 $211.20
★★★★★★ Heavier soils, earthier, austere, grippy, focused, currywurst, spicy, meaty, funky, flowers, high intensity, so concentrated. A pretty perfect wine.
Georg Breuer, Riesling Rauenthal Trocken, 2022 $32.99 $29.03
Set back from the Rhine river with heavier soils, lots of loam and marl. This is warmer, easier, fuller by no means full bodied, the idea of a fruit cup, with some exotic, oriental spices.
Georg Breuer, Riesling Rüdesheim Berg Roseneck Trocken, 2017 $119.99 $105.59
😀😀😀 LOVE this, like what you want Savennieres to be (and Boudignon is). A crazy, waxy texture, salty AF, melon beeswax, floral, rocks, high intensity mineral core and finish! Tastes like breathing out a feeling of calm reflection and inner peace. This is one of my favorite wines of the entire trip.
Georg Breuer, Riesling Rüdesheim Trocken, 2022 $32.99 $29.03
Slate, loess and quartzite vineyards. Almost fruity, almost yellow, medicinal, smoky yellow curry, wild, white peach, a creamier leesy, textural wine, very balanced, great acid, easy “Drinky”.
Georg Breuer, Riesling Rüdesheimer Berg Rottland, 2021 $109.99 $96.79
Georg Breuer, Riesling Rüdesheimer Berg Rottland, 2021 (1.5L) $210.00 $184.80
From the warmest of three main vineyards with weathered blue slate. This is deeper, darker, earthier and more umami.
Georg Breuer, Riesling Terra Montosa Trocken, 2021 $54.99 $48.39
Georg Breuer, Riesling Terra Montosa Trocken, 2021 (1.5L) $200.00 $176.00
Wow, that smells great! Yeast, white fresh cut apples and grass, jalapeño, steel cut edges, waxy, lemon pledge, creaminess, roundness. This is the “2nd wine” (like in Bordeaux) or a “regional” wine like Bourgogne Blanc. Steep site bare soil, the best barrel from each village goes to the top wine, then this is a blend of three villages with the barrels left over.
Georg Breuer, Spätburgunder GB Rouge, 2019 $30.99 $27.27