• Simon Reilly

A busman holiday in Baden part 2 - Schloss Staufenberg

The extensive morning tasting at Weingut Danner (see A busmans holiday in Baden Part 1) had built up a bit of a hunger. Fortunately I had been invited to lunch by a prince, just up the road.

Prince Michael of Baden, yes he is a real prince, owns and runs (with his brother) the family estate Schloss Staufenberg on the outskirts of Durbach. It sits high on a hill overlooking the town and surrounding area. Built in the eleventh century, it is a towering building surrounded by vines.

I wrote an article for Jancis Robinson about the 1782 Club of Durbach, which talked about the excellent Mosel cloned Riesling I tasted at Schloss Staufenberg. But I did enjoy a number of other really good wines there and had a lovel lunch with Prince Michael and his charming vine maker Volker Faust which that article didn't touch on.

Here are some pictures of the estate and cellars with Volker and Michael

Here are my notes on the wines i tried that day. Again, everything I drank there was excellent and come highly recommended although I did drink the more premium wines. They do produce a lot of cheaper stuff which i didn't try.

1. Riesling 1782 Erste Langhe (German for Premier Cru), 2014 - This is from a single vineyard planted with cloned vines brought from the Mosel in 1782, hence the name. Really powerful nose of tropical fruits. A nice dark golden colour this is very fruity on the palate with a strong mineral finish. Really distinctive, this reminds me of a Hunter Valley Semillon. €17

2. Grosse Gewachs (German for Grand Cru) Riesling Schlossberg "M" 2013 - From the Merineberg vineyard but can't name is as such due to the German laws so they Called it M, "as in James Bond!", jokes Volker. Quite a closed nose but a lovely mouthful of lemon and minerals followed by bracing acidity on the long finish. Really refined stuff. Only 4,500 bottles made. €35

3. Gewurtztraminer 2015 - the estate's only "orange" wine. Apparently the younger winery assistants were keen to make a natural wine so Volker said, "go on then, do one". Made as a natural wine with no sulphur. Interesting nose, smells of Campari. Tart orange peel flavours continue on the palate with a bit of spice, followed by a bit of acidity on the finish. Interesting. €17

4. Spatburgunder, Bermatinger Leopodsberg "B", 2013 - Pinot Noir from their other estate in Lake Constance near the Swiss border, which has its own little micro-climate thanks to the lake. It stores the heat and gets cold air from the lake frosts, resulting in a long growing season with harvest not until late October. The gravel soils give the wien a great minerality. Red cherry aromas lead to a beautiful mouthful of tart yet sweet red fruit. The finish is long, elegant and refined. €45

5. Spaburgunder Durbacher Schlossberg "Sophienberg", 2012 - A deliciously fruity Pinot Noir from this estate. Much darker in colour than the Lake Constance wine the fruit flavours are more dark berries and cherries and the palate is fuller-bodied. Long and balanced, this is so fruity and goes amazingly with the beef cheeks we had for lunch. €45

Just to make you hungry, I'll leave you with a picture of my hearty lunch of beef cheeks and Spätzle (another first) which went very well with these Spatburgunders. Who says german food is rubbish?