The village co-operative that’s a white wine pioneer
Wednesday 30 March 2022
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Königsbach wines have been highly valued since the late Middle Ages, and winemaking remains a proud part of this famous village’s culture and economy. The Königsbach Winzergenossenschaft (wine growers association), which produced the wine in this month’s box, was founded in 1902 and merged with its sister organisation in the relative metropolis of Neustadt in 1978. The combined business went through a major modernisation in the 1990s, which included a major upgrade to the winery and connected premises, and in 2004 changed its name to the current Weinland Königsbach-Neustadt.
The foundation of the co-operative is, of course, its 86 winegrowers, whose passion for viticulture forms the basis of every glass. Its vineyards, Königsbacher Ölberg and Königsbacher Idig – the name of the latter being a reference to the medieval Christian community that first cultivated this area – stretch to the south-east here, protected from the cold air and moisture by the largest contiguous forest reserve in Europe. Fine limestone as well as loam and red sandstone in the soil ensure balanced character and, combined with the favourable microclimate, are ideal for the grape varieties the company traditionally grows.
Of these cultivated grape varieties, Riesling is particularly popular, accounting for more than a third of the vineyard area, with Müller-Thurgau, Dornfelder, Portugieser and Pinot Noir making up around 10% each.
In the winery itself, deep oenological knowledge meets tireless effort, especially at harvest time, to capture and enhance the quality of the fruit, bringing the wine to its full potential. Weinland Königsbach-Neustadt’s modern cellar technology enables it to finely control every aspect of the fermentation process for each type of wine, creating the best conditions by minimising exposure air, while cooling to promote the development of fresh and fruity aromas.
Its approach has been pioneering, particularly in the area of preparing fine, fruity white wines. Former cellar master Mr. Kohlmann was one of the first German winegrowers to use so-called biological acid reduction in white wines, in which the primary alcoholic fermentation is followed by a secondary ‘malolactic’ fermentation. This second fermentation converts the sharp malic acid in the wine into the more pleasant lactic acid, and has enabled a boom in the popularity of more acidic grape varieties such as Riesling both at home and abroad.
Its red wines, on the other hand, are aged in Palatinate oak barrels. In contrast to white wine, they should develop strong aromas and therefore need air flow, provided by the wood pores.
The underpinning philosophy of Weinland Königsbach-Neustadt is, therefore, to combine its traditional wealth of experience with new and innovative methods, in order to achieve the full potential of its vineyards and its almost Mediterranean climate.
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