A Chat with Weingut Robert Weil

On December 17th, Keeper Collection (@KeeperColl on Twitter) hosted a Twitter #sommchat featuring winemaker Wilhelm Weil and sommelier Nicolas Pfaff from Weingut Robert Weil. (Robert Weil wines are available in the US via Dr. Loosen Imports.)

If you’re on Twitter, you can see the entire conversation by searching #sommchat for December 17th. And/or, you can enjoy this excerpt:

Keeper Collection
Wilhelm, what got you interested in the wine business and when did you first get interested?

Weingut Robert Weil
A Spåtlese from the very famous vintage 1971, which I tasted over the summer in 1973 directly from the cask.

 

Keeper Collection
What is going on in your vineyards in Germany right now – is this a quiet time?

Weingut Robert Weil
This is the pruning time, which is the basis of the new vintage. Pruning will determine the yields and the quality for the vintage – so it’s very important wine work.

 

@MattMcGinnis
What are the biggest markets for your wines outside of Germany?

Weingut Robert Weil
Definitely USA, Scandinavia, Korea and Australia.

 

Keeper Collection
Can you describe your last vintage in Germany?

Weingut Robert Weil
2013 had a cold spring, so late and flowering small clusters, hot summer, lots of rainfall during harvest, great wines.

 

International Wine Cellar
What were the ups and downs of the 2014 harvest for you?

Weingut Robert Weil
2014 had a warm spring, early flowering, cold August, rainfall during harvest. Our vineyards have great drainage, so great wines.

 

Keeper Collection
Tell us about the winemaking philosophy of Robert Weil Wines.

Weingut Robert Weil
Considerable time on the fine yeast and the use of stainless steel tanks and wooden barrels in dependence of wine style.

 

Keeper Collection
Wilhelm, what makes the Weingut Robert Weil conditions ideal for growing late-harvest Riesling?

Weingut Robert Weil
Because of our hillside sites, we get loose clusters of small, flavored berries with a fine acidity and complexity.

 

Keeper Collection
Are there any winemaking techniques you have continued from your forefathers?

Weingut Robert Weil
We still use traditional barrels called Doppelstuckfass and spontaneous fermentation.

 

International Wine Cellar
How often are you able to produce TBA?

Weingut Robert Weil
In our GC vineyard in Grafenberg, we produced 26 vintages in a row with limited quantity (unfortunately).

 

Keeper Collection
Are the 26 vintages of TBA all alike or do they change from vintage to vintage?

Weingut Robert Weil
The warm vintages of TBA 2003 and 2007 are different than the cold vintages of 2004 and 2013. The warm vintages have more botrytis, but both are good!

 

Keeper Collection
Tell us a bit about the environmentally friendly practices used in Weil vineyards.

Weingut Robert Weil
Organic fertilizer is used as needed. Green cover is planted in alternating rows. Herbicides are not used.

 

Keeper Collection
Do you taste with other German winemakers for pleasure or for learning and, if not, why not?

Weingut Robert Weil
We taste with German winemakers both for pleasure and for learning. We also taste with our colleagues at Grosses Gewachs 4 Rheingau.

 

@noblewines
Do you produce any sweet wines from Rieslaner or other oddities?

Weingut Robert Weil
No we are focusing on Riesling 100 percent because Riesling is Rheingau and Rheingau is Riesling. The Rheingau produces the highest percentage of Riesling worldwide, currently around 80 percent.

 

Keeper Collection
Nicolas, what is your approach for pairing food and wine?

Weingut Robert Weil
I always have a close look at the spices and aromas of the dishes and which wine helps to emphasize them.

 

Keeper Collection
Can you give us some specific food items you like with your wines?

Weingut Robert Weil
Fish (trout) with dry Riesling. Spicy food and spicy German sausage with off-dry Riesling as well as noble sweet wine. I really like to pair spicy crossover food with our Riesling Tradition and roast beef with a well-aged Gråfenberg.

 

@noblewines
Did you make less TBA in 2004 and 2013 and more BA due to less botrytis?

Weingut Robert Weil
We always make more BA than TBA because TBA is made from only the most concentrated grapes. It does not depend on vintage. We always make less TBA.

 

@Path2Wine
You described different weather in 2013 and 2014. What differences will we see in the bottle?

Weingut Robert Weil
The differences are not that big because, thanks to the drainage in our vineyards, it balances out the wet conditions at harvest time.

 

Keeper Collection
Tell us a bit about the different terroir of the Robert Weil vineyards.

Weingut Robert Weil
Turmberg and Gråfenberg are dominated by phylitte-slate while Gråfenberg also has loess and loam. Phylitte is the oldest slate. It looks greyish, pre-Devonian. It’s metamorphic and produces saltiness in the wine as well as acid and tropical fruit flavors.

 

@noblewines
Do you think the added complexities of the classifications Grosses and Erstes have helped in marketing Rheingau worldwide?

Weingut Robert Weil
They’ve helped with all high-class dry German wines from the VDP members.

 

@ATXFoodnews
What is your “guilty pleasure” when wine/food pairing?

Weingut Robert Weil
Low budget currywurst with a TBA and, in the US, lobster rolls with a dry style trimbach.

 

@Path2Wine
You mentioned well-draining soils and slopes. Anything else in the vineyard that allows you to make incredible wine?

Weingut Robert Weil
The mixture of soil, microclimate, southwest exposure and the cool climate coming off of the hillside sites makes it ideal.

 

Keeper Collection
Wilhelm, what positive major changes are you seeing in your Geramn wine area?

Weingut Robert Weil
We are experiencing a renaissance of the Rheingau as the premium Riesling region of Germany right now!