Monday morning came way too early, and after a quick dip in the salt water pool, I met our group in the lobby with suitcases and backpacks to start on our new adventure heading south.
Less than 20 minutes via bus, our crew came to Weingut Gunderloch located in the Nackenheim village of the Rheinhessen. We were met at the winery by a teddy-bear-like Fritz Hasselbach, husband of the owner Agnes Hasselbach. He greeted us with with open arms and invited us to into his family’s breakfast room that looked right out into the vineyard Egelsberg.
Gunderloch began growing vineyards in 1890, and Fritz kindly invited us to taste through a host of his different Rieslings of many styles, including an Auslese. He mentioned that in the summertime, he and his family sat in the exact room where we were sitting and enjoyed a nice glass of Riesling before lunch. Interestingly enough, two small tanks sat in the corner of the room. He later informed us these were the 2011 Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese that needed a warmer environment than the winery so that they could achieve minimum alcohol levels.
After a fabulous tasting, Fritz led our bus up to the top of some of his vineyards to enjoy a fabulous view and educational dialogue.
From the steep vineyards of Nackenheim, we moved onward into Saulheim, a village also in the Rheinhessen. Delicious Riesling, Weisburgunder, Silvaner and Spatburgunder met us as we stopped at Weingut Thorle for lunch. Very exciting, the wines of Thorle are brought into four states, and North Carolina happens to be one of them. The wines were stunning, and I cannot be happier that I will be able to enjoy them again once we get home. The handsome Thorle brothers, new generation winemakers, put on a super yummy picnic of meats, cheeses, spreads and bread. It was a perfect spring time lunch, and I couldn’t help myself but take pictures.
After our glorious lunch, we travelled to Weingut Wittman in Westhofen where the beautiful Eva Clusserath-Wittman and Phillip Wittman representing the estate of Weingut Keller greeted our group.
We tasted through the 2010 vintage of both estates as well as travelled to the vineyards where they grow these fabulous grapes. It was a fantastic afternoon of tasting and taking photographs, and by 5:30, we had arrived in the Pfalz at the charming Steigenberger Hotel in Deidesheim.
No time for chit chat or for a nap, we convened in the lobby promptly at 7 p.m. to walk a few blocks to Ketschauer Hof for a three course dinner paired with the weins of Dr. von Basserman-Jordan.
Sebastian Wandt, the estate’s sales manager, met us at the door and welcomed us into one of the most modern-looking dining establishments in Deidesheim.
Beautifully decorated and super sleek, we enjoyed a meal of Aspragus Soup, Pan Seared White and Green Aspragus and Cheese.
In case you are wondering, yes, Grosses Gewachs Riesling from the Pfalz is a stunning pairing with Asparagus.