Quality Riesling Spatlese Wine Has Fascinating Roots
The 2005 Gunderloch Estate Riesling Spatlese (late harvest) wine is certainly worth buying and appreciating not only because of its undoubted class but the interesting story of its early beginnings. Gunderloch Estate formed in 1890 by a banker named Carl Gunderloch who purchased the "Gunderloch" manor house in
The roots of this Riesling wine begin with the story of Carl Gunderloch who it is believed used to trek from Gundersblum, the town where he was born situated on the left bank of the Rhine approximately 25 km south, to his bank in Mainz. On his daily travels he astutely observed how the sun played off the hills all along the Rhein Terrace, an area that can trace its first vineyards back to around 20 B.C. and is ringed by protective hills and forest. These observations inspired him to purchase vineyard property that appeared to collect the most sunlight. Today the estate, as a result of these astute acquisitions, unquestionably holds the best vineyards in one of the most celebrated wine villages of the Rheinhessen (Rheinhessen, the largest of 13 regions largely devoted to vineyards producing German wine, Riesling among them). Varied soils and favorable climate make it possible to grow many different grape varieties.
The Gunderloch Estate has an interesting tie to the German dramatist Carl Zuckmayer.
Zuckmayer (Zuckmeyer, Zuckmeier), who became a
Carl Zuckmayer, German screenwriter, playwright, essayist and poet, began writing lyric poetry and then plays. By the 1920s, Zuckmayer was hailed the successor to dramatist Gerhart Hauptmann. His most successful works included comedies which drew upon German folk traditions, like The Merry Vineyard; The Captain from Köpenick, which was twice filmed in 1931 and 1956; and The Devil's General (1946), which became a German film nine years later, portraying the dilemma of an anti-Nazi German army officer and satires on the militarism of Nazi Germany. Zuckmayer used the Gunderloch Estate for the setting and Carl Gunderloch as the main character for his very first play "Der froehliche Weinberg" (The Merry Vineyard). In this play, Zuckmayer renamed Carl Gunderloch "Jean Baptiste" which is where the brand name used on the Gunderloch "Jean Baptiste" Kabinett is borrowed from. He also wrote the German screenplay for The Blue Angel in 1930 that brought fame to Marlene Dietrich.
Because his mother had been a Jew, Zuckmayer found himself persecuted by the Nazis. After Hitler banned his plays, Zuckmayer moved to
The only winemaker ever to receive a perfect 100 points score for three wines.
In 1920, Gunderloch transferred the estate to his granddaughter Elisabeth Usinger and her husband Dr. Franz Usinger. They managed the estate until 1965 when their son Carl Otto took over. Today, the estate is managed by Carl Otto’s oldest daughter Agnes Hasselbach-Usinger and her husband, Fritz Hasselbach, a viticultural engineer and highly accredited
The property in the Rothenberg (65% of the estate's 28 acres of vineyards holdings) and Engelsberg vineyards, consisting of 24 acres planted with Riesling, Silvaner, Ruländer and Gewürztraminer, are split between the single vineyard of Nackenheim Rothenberg and holdings in the nearby village of Nierstein, which is still the nucleus of the Gunderloch Estate and has remained in family control ever since.
Riesling wine grape from the Rothenberg and the Silvaners from the Engelsberg are of the finest in Rheinhessen and
2007 Gunderloch Estate Riesling Spätlese wine can be described as opulent and concentrated, exhibiting mango, passion fruit and herbal aromas and flavors that melt into the fleshy frame. This wonderful Riesling wine has enough acidity to match the richness and keep it focused on the extremely long and harmonious finish confirming the undoubted class of this wine. Drink through 2020. The Gunderloch Estate is a member of the Rheinhessen VDP.