Von Winning - deidesheim, Pfalz Wine
We weren’t exactly looking for another German producer to add to our roster, but in addition to being utterly delicious and stunningly complex, Von Winning’s wines are fearlessly idiosyncratic. To put it simply, they’re exciting in a way that’s completely different and viable. Now, to quantify this…
Weingut Von Winning is the rejuvenated 40-hectare estate of Dr. Deinhard, an historically-celebrated property in Deidesheim, Pfalz that like so many once-important German estates had been resting on its laurels for some time. There has been substantial investment made in regards to the cellars (including the setup of a complete gravity-flow winery) and operations, not to mention that the ownership includes parcels in some of the most legendary vineyards in Forst, Deidesheim and Ruppertsberg.
Brilliantly unhinged winemaker extraordinaire Stephan Attmann is at the helm and for the spontaneously-fermented, cask-raised, (usually) single-vineyard dry wines, the name “Von Winning” is applied in tribute of Leopold Von Winning who was a forerunner of the VDP and instrumental in the winery’s success 100 years ago. For their crisp and fruity, steel-fermented offerings, the Dr. Deinhard label is retained. Everything is farmed biodynamically and new plantings have been made at 9000 vines/ha – common in Burgundy but virtually unheard of in the Pfalz.
The Von Winning bottlings consist of profound wines, rich even for the Pfalz but note that this does not mean high alcohol levels or a lack of freshness. The wines even have a distinct salinity but it’s the textural components that are the most striking – minerality is a given but there’s cereally and savory aspects to an extent that I’ve never encountered in Riesling before.
Attmann loves oak for both fermentation and élevage and since there’s a fair amount of newly purchased oak vessels of every imaginable variety in the cellar, there’s a lot of buzz going around about how he’s making “oaky” Rieslings. However, the preference is for the vessels themselves, not for the aroma and flavor of wood that they may impart in their youth. As the barrels become seasoned, the naysayers, who should already be regarded suspiciously, will be silenced completely. Consider the unorthodox regime partly responsible for the profound and inspiring texture of the wines first and foremost. If you haven’t tried Von Winning’s Rieslings then you haven’t tried anything remotely like them and you’re missing out.
The Dr. Deinhard range is equally compelling but for very different reasons. Most importantly they provide some of the greatest values that you could imagine in the form of zesty, fruit-driven Rieslings with commendable complexity, sustained peachy power and loads of Pfalz sunshine… At a price that allows you to drink them every night of the week if you so choose.
After an unforgettable tasting with the eminently accommodating assistant winemaker, Andreas Hütwohl, an experience that traversed vineyard and cellar alike, we couldn’t resist cramming our German section even further with a bunch of new Rieslings as well as the less likely but equally amazing Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc.