Once Upon a Time, our Director of Operations Chef Josh was invited by wine importer Valckenberg to go on a VIP guided excursion through selected regions of German wine country. After much cajoling and arm-twisting, he reluctantly agreed to take one for Team Hollerbach, got on a plane to Frankfurt and suffered through the tedious drudgery of an all-expense-paid whirlwind educational tour of over a dozen wine estates spread across several wine-growing regions, including the Mosel, Rheinhessen and the Pfalz . Our new wine list at Hollerbach's is the result of the things he learned on that trip (and the occasional wine or two he may have sampled…)
German wine? It’s all about those sweet Rieslings from the Mosel, isn’t it?
In the famous words of Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau: not anymore. Ever heard of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir? All are among the varieties grown in Germany - in fact, Germany is the number three producer of Pinot Noir (one-third of wine grapes grown in Germany are now red) and the number one producer of Pinot Blanc (sometimes referred to there as Weißburgunder) in the world.
With the exception of three French reds, all of the wines we now feature at Hollerbach’s are German imports – and we think the diversity of our new wine menu, which includes several offerings that have never been imported to the US before, will be a pleasant surprise for many of our guests! Let’s dive right in:
Valckenberg Madonna Liebfraumilch
Liebfraumilch is not the name of a grape varietal, but rather a style of white semi-sweet wine that originated in the vineyards of the Liebfrauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) in Worms, thus the name, although it is no longer made there. It is not a Riesling, although Riesling grapes are typically employed in its production.
Selbach-Oster Riesling Kabinett
Rieslings are named after a white grape variety that originated in the Rhine region and is still the most-grown variety in Germany. Riesling wines range all the way from dry to very sweet. This particular Kabinett Riesling is medium to semi-sweet.
Selbach-Oster Riesling Spätlese
Spätlese means late harvest, which results in a higher sugar content. Not all wines designated Spätlese are necessarily sweet, but this one can definitely be described as semi-sweet.
Selbach-Oster Riesling Auslese
Auslese means select harvest – these grapes are picked well after the normal harvesting time when they are very ripe. Our two Auslesen (this and the new JJ Prüm) are the sweetest wines we have.
Gewürztraminer grapes tend to produce a more aromatic or “spicy” wine (thus the name), and they range from off-dry to semi-sweet.
Valckenberg Zeller Schwarze Katz Riesling
Named for the town of Zell in the Mosel region and for the black cat on the label, Zeller Schwarze Katz is a semi-sweet Riesling. Medium-bodied, crisp and refreshing.
This dry, full-bodied white made with the Silvaner grape is the only one of our wines that comes from Franconia (a region in South Central Germany, where two of our servers are from.
Pflüger Buntsandstein Riesling organic
Dry and medium-bodied with a clean pure finish, this Riesling has been a staff favorite at Hollerbach's since we first tried it.
Pflüger Sauvignon Blanc organic
Delivery expected summer 2019
Pflüger Chardonnay vom Quarzit organic
Although it’s among the most popular wine grape varieties in the world, Chardonnay accounts for less than 1% of German vineyard acreage – but Josh found a good dry but fruity one in the Pfalz. The Chardonnay grape is used to make a wide variety of wines, including, of course, Chardonnay.
Prinz Salm Two Princes Riesling
This well-balanced off-dry Riesling is an estate-grown wine from Weingut Prinz Salm in the Rheinhessen wine appellation – the oldest family-owned vineyard estate in Germany. Although nobility titles are neither conferred nor recognized by the German federal government, yes the head of the family is in fact a real prince!
Schloss Saarstein Pinot Blanc
Like Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc is a mutation of Pinot Noir. The Saarstein Pinot Blanc is a medium-bodied, dry white wine with notes of pear and yellow apple on the palate, and an herbal and spicy mineral finish that gives the wine complexity and body. Perfect with shellfish, smoked duck, salmon or trout, and white meats. This is an estate-bottled wine from a single top blue-slate vineyard along the Saar river.
P.J. Valckenberg Undone Dry Riesling
Unoaked, crisp and dry, with citrus notes such as grapefruit and gooseberry standing out on the palate. Reminiscent of Sauvignon Blanc, Undone is vibrant and finishes very clean.
The grapes for this estate-bottled dry Riesling are grown in the small vineyard of the Liebfrauenstift-Kirchenstück in Worms, Rheinhessen. Evidences more body and extracted flavor than other dry Rieslings.
Franz Keller Pinot Gris
This crisp, dry Alsatian-style Gris - made from the same grape as the popular Italian-style Pinot Grigio - features a zesty acidity and deep minerality. Excellent with pork and poultry.
(all are dry with the exception of Valckenberg Dornfelder)
Graf Neipperg Spätburgunder
Spätburgunder (“late Burgundian”) is known as Pinot Noir outside German-speaking regions. Germany is now the world’s third-largest producer of Pinot Noir, which is the most widely planted red grape in Germany. This well-balanced vintage has a red fruit bouquet, distinctive tannin structure, woody and smoky notes, dry finish.
Graf Neipperg Lemberger
Cultivated almost exclusively in Württemberg (southwest Germany), the Lemberger grape can be used to produce a diverse array of wines, including this light-bodied dry red from the eastern side of the Black Forest. The estate is owned by a Count (“Graf”) who is a direct descendant of Charlemagne. Known as Blaufränkisch in Austria.
Pflüger Dürkheimer Pinot Noir organic
Pflüger means “plowman,” an image that reflects this winery’s commitment to sustainable and environmentally-friendly viticulture and winemaking. In fact, the ploughman image on the log is actually Alex Pflüger himself, who is a certified biodynamic and organic grower. Named for the spa town of Bad Dürkheim in the Pfalz region, Pflüger’s full-bodied Pinot Noir is estate bottled from a single vineyard.
Fruity, sweet, fragrant and full-bodied – our only sweet red. Dornfelder grape cultivation has expanded considerably in German in the past couple decades, and it is now the second-most grown red grape in Germany behind Spätburgunder.
Undone Pinot Noir
This different kind of Pinot Noir experience from the Rheinhessen growing region gets its smoothness, lighter color and body from being “un-oaked,” or casked in stainless steel instead of wood.
Maison Castel Cabernet Sauvignon (France)
“Cab Sauv” is grown in nearly ever wine-producing region in the world. This lightly-oaked selection from the south of France is powerful and full, with coated tannins and a long, toasted grilled finish.
Château Pey la Tour Bordeaux Supérieur (France)
A Bordeaux is not a grape, but rather any wine produced in the Bordeaux region of southwest Frankreich, as we call France in German. This supple, medium-bodied and well-balanced number is a blend of 90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc.
Château de Jarnioux Beaujolais (France)
Named for the wine-producing province of Beaujolais in Burgundy, this exceptionally light, fruity high-acidity Rotwein is featured in our own Jimmy & Eckhard’s “No Beer on Sunday” crowd-favorite Schunkelabend song.
Johann Josef Prüm Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett and
Wehlener Sonnenuhe Riseling Auslese
Both of these premium Rieslings from the Mosel - an area famous for its sweet, long-lived Rieslings - feature an excellent delicate balance between sweetness and acidity. JJ Prüm is one of very few Five-Star wineries in Germany, and its Rieslings are all rated 90+ every year.
2008 Huber Rosé Brut sparkling
Made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes, this premium sparkling Rosé from one of Germany’s top Pinot Noir producers and 2009’s Best Winery in Germany gets it color from reduced contact time with the grape skins.
Schmitt Söhne Relax sparkling white wine blend