Why is this Wine so Yummy?
For Johannes Hasselbach’s “A piece of me”, he decided to push an imaginary reset-button and look back at how his grandparents made wine. The focus is on the grapes and he wants to use every part of them (e.g. long maceration time on fully crushed grapes up to 72 hours; minimal clarification; natural yeast fermentation; long time on lees) but he also wants to make sure not to lose or alter anything (no artificial yeasts; no fining; no aromatisation of any kind). 100% healthy fruit comes from young vines in the top site Nackenheimer Rothenberg, blended with grapes from a parcel of 35-year-old vines from Hipping in Nierstein to create a tautly strung wine with extraordinary aromatic expression.
100% healthy fruit from young vines in Rothenberg, blended with grapes from 35-year-old vines from Hipping. Every part of grape used (long maceration on fully crushed grapes up to 72 hours; minimal clarification; natural yeast fermentation; long time on lees) and nothing lost or altered (no artificial yeasts; no fining; no aromatisation of any kind).
The Hipping Vineyard is located in an exposed position on the Roter Hang where the southeast facing slope and south-facing slope meet. Its position in the Rotliegend rock strata between Brudersberg and Oelberg is significant and unites several outstanding preconditions for vines. The warmth of a broad lake-like section of the Rhine and intense sun exposure in a steep yet protected red shale site allow small Riesling grape bunches to develop intense aromas and flavours. Our prime parcel in Hipping is protected by a row of houses and the steep flank of the Brudersberg. These attributes create a very special microclimate that yields wines of incredibly expressive exotic fruit and significantly creamy texture.
Tangent to the south end of the Rothenberg Vineyard is the well-known site Pettenthal. The soil of this famous vineyard is also comprised of red shale, but is slightly more weathered. The extremely friable, in certain parcels even sandy texture, yields wine of lighter structure with vibrant elegance. Despite the vineyard’s proximity to the Rothenberg, the two resulting wines differ greatly. The wines of the Pettenthal are distinguished by exotic fruit aromas from the moment of their youth and retain their refreshing character for many years. The steepest parcels of our estate are located in this vineyard.
The Rothenberg Vineyard encompasses around 20 hectares directly on the Rhine River on the north end of the “Roter Hang” between Nackenheim and Nierstein. Around 5 hectares of this comprise the heart of the Rothenberg. The vineyard has a slope of 30 to 80% and is comprised of 290-million-year-old red shale plates. Family Hasselbach of the Gunderloch Estate own around 4.5 hectares of this prime vineyard made up predominantly of very steep parcels. The Nackenheimer Rothenberg is without question our most prominent vineyard mountain. It yields wines of striking mineral character paired with a broad spectrum of expressive spice and fruit aromas.
Johannes Hasselbach has well and truly hit his stride after taking the winemaking reins from his late father Fritz a few years back. Warm, charming, modest and brilliant Fritz Hasselbach, who passed away from illness in October 2016, was the man who lifted the estate into the Rheinhessen’s top flight. Johannes and the team are taking it even further, turning out stunning wines from top-rated vineyards of the Roter Hang, a steep hill of red slate overlooking the Rhine. The dry Rieslings are intensely concentrated and expressive of the red volcanic soil. The fruity wines are even more so, with their touch of sweetness that acts as a conduit for flavour and aroma. Nackenheim Rothenberg is one of the great vineyards of Germany. Gunderloch was the first winery in Germany to put its entire range under screwcap and holds the ‘claim to fame’ of scoring a hat-trick of 100-point reviews in Wine Spectator. Named in honour of the late, great man himself, Fritz’s Riesling adds a lovely dimension to the line-up.
At the Moment the Hasselbach Family cultivates 24ha of vineyards which are planted with 85% Riesling. Working with our vineyards we feel obliged to preserve the plants and the sanity of the soil for the generations to come. Already with cautious pruning, we are aiming for very low yields around 50 hl/ha. It is our ambition to find the perfect balance of aromatics, fruity acidity and the typical minerality of our slaty soils. of the Grape-Berry. We are fascinated by the harmony between concentration, liveliness and a strong mineralic-deepness.
According to the philosophy of the Hasselbach family, wine is created in the vineyards. Humans can only accompany the creation process and should intervene as little as possible. In their understanding it is never the right way to put their demands over the need of the vineyards. They try to find the right measures to help the vine to find its natural balance in the given circumstances of the growing season. They want to train the vine away from a yield-driven thinking to a more balance seeking approach. Throughout our work with the vines, the growing season in the vineyard, and the vinification process in the winery, it’s the guideline of the Hasselbach family to always seek harmony and balance. Conscientious interaction with nature is an absolute imperative and they treat their vineyards as an irreplaceable treasure. They strive to intervene less and less in the course of nature and focus on their goal of sustaining this natural treasure for future generations. And this is how the wines should taste: unmistakable Ambassadors of our Terroir. Therefore Riesling, as the Terroir variety, plays the main role in our vinery. 85% of our 24 ha of vineyards are devoted to Riesling. But also Silvaner, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Noir play a more and more important role. In addition, we also own smaller plantings of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Portugieser.
Where in the World are Gunderloch’s Wines Made?
Gunderloch is based in Nackenheim in the northern part of the Rheinhessen with vineyard holdings a little farther south in Neirstein including the Grand Cru sites of Hipping and Pettenthal.