A couple weeks ago, I made it out to the annual Roter Hang tasting in Nierstein, which takes place directly on the Rheingau’s famed red slope. As one walks along the Grosses Gewächs vineyards halfway up the hill, a pavilion is set up in front of each major vineyard, showcasing the Rieslings from different estates which produce a wine there.
Touching the soft red soil from which the vines draw their character, I sip on the different Rieslings, swapping glasses with friends to compare, and eventually lose myself completely in the wonderful scenery and festive atmosphere. This is how wine tasting was meant to be! The opportunity to try the wines side by side in a group sparks discussions. We talk about the vineyards, the producers (I tend to think the latter are more influential on a wine’s style) the aromas, but most importantly ourselves: what we like… who we are.
Tasting in the vineyards appeals to both our rational and romantic sides. Rare are the opportunities to compare, benchmark, understand. I’ll confess that this was my initial reflex as well, but somewhere along the way, the mood wins us over and the memories we create (with a few gaps due to the generous servings) are more focused on the moment than the raw information.
In the end, what I took away from this day was a couple of nice discoveries, such as the very classic and elegant Rieslings of Staatliche Weinbaudomäne Oppenheim, Eckehart Gröhl‘s structured “Barock”, Domtalhof‘s ultra-mineral Pettenthal, as well as the well established Gunderloch estate’s delicious Rothenberg.
More importantly, I now have a personal connection with the wines of the Roter Hang, and the wines will forever taste a bit more charming to me because of this!