20 Nov 2012

Debra Meiburg MW Meets the Winemaker 146: Helmut Plunien, Bischöfliche Weingüter

Debra catches up Helmut Plunien of Bischöflichen Weingütern, a winery which has vineyards in the Mosel, Saar and Ruwer Valleys, and a history dating back to the 2nd Century through the Hohe Domkirche. He explains that he’s seen and worked in these ancient cellars and that they are wonderful, but enormous – in fact even requiring a bicycle transportation to get around – and have fantastic old oak barrels, perfect for Riesling.

Helmut tells Debra how they choose which wines to put in oak and which wines to put in stainless steel barrels, and how they manage the process of replacing these old oak barrels over time. He and Debra also discuss the volume of the barrels and how they compare to other regions. They go on to discuss the particulars of Mosel Valley Riesling, the unique challenges of the region and the 2009 vintage.

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13 Nov 2012

Debra Meiburg MW Meets the Winemaker 145: Hanno Zilliken, Weingut Forstmeister Geltz-Zilliken

Debra meets with Hanno Zilliken of Weingut Forstmeister Geltz-Zilliken, a winery located in Germany’s Mosel Valley. Hanno tells Debra that Riesling needs tough extremes to thrive and produce the very best aroma, and how when it is “too easy” for grapes to grow, you may get a fantastic fruit size, but no concentration of flavor. He further illustrates his point comparing great aromatics in Riesling with greenhouse-grown tomatoes.

Hanno concludes by discussing why, at the time of the interview, he is so nervous about the 2009 vintage because the grapes were in such a fantastic position with incredible potential that they were going to risk holding off harvest for at least another two weeks.

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30 Oct 2012

Uncorking Business Opportunities

The HKTDC Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair gets underway next month. The fair’s fifth edition opens 8 November and continues through 10 November at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Exhibitors from Azerbaijan and Russia are
first-time participants, while France and Italy will feature the largest pavilions. Master of Wine Debra Meiburg previews wine from some of the 930 exhibitors taking part in this year’s event.

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23 Oct 2012

Debra Meiburg MW Meets the Winemaker 143: Mario Fontana, Cascina Fontana

Debra meets with Mario Fontana of Cascina Fontana, located in the Barolo region of Piedmont, Italy. With the winery situated in the Monforte d’Alba commune, Mario tells what differentiates his village from the others in the region, and he goes on to explain the history of his family in Barolo and how, as the sixth generation, making wine is not work or a business, but a natural continuation of his family’s tradition.

Mario tells Debra what the challenges of working with Nebbiolo are, along with his favourite vintages, and what makes a high quality Barolo (and how the balance of wine and the balance of life are so closely linked).

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23 Oct 2012

Debra Meiburg MW Meets the Winemaker 144: Sofia Thanisch, Weingut Wwe. Dr. H. Thanisch

Debra meets with Sofia Thanisch of Weingut Wwe. Dr. H. Thanisch, a specialist Riesling producer located in the Mosel Valley, Germany. Sofia is the great granddaughter of the winery’s founders, and the fourth generation of women involved in the business. Debra and Sofia talk about just what causes Mosel Riesling to be so elegant, and why she believes it to be the very best grape variety worldwide. She explains why Mosel Riesling (vs Riesling from the rest of the world) is such a niche product and how the style varies from most other Rieslings, and why this is a compliment to Asian cuisine. They talk about what makes a truly great wine, what makes or breaks a vintage and why Mosel Riesling is drinkable vs sippable.

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16 Oct 2012

Debra Meiburg MW Meets the Winemaker 142: Willi Schaefer, Weingut Willi Schaefer

Debra chats about all things Mosel Riesling with Willi Schaefer of Weingut Willi Schaefer, who explains about the long hang time for grapes in the region and why you can drink Mosel Riesling all night and wake up in the morning feeling good. They go on to discuss the steep slopes of the Mosel Valley which means everything is done by hand, and the why most of the vineyard workers are born and bred in Mosel.

Willi tells Debra how to judge when to harvest the grapes, and how in the past, they’ve done two rounds of harvesting two weeks apart. He finishes by sharing his secrets to great aromatics in Riesling and offers some thoughts on the 2009 vintage.

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