This wine, for many, many years, has been my favorite Rosé.
Not that I think it's the best in the world, ever; just that I absolutely love it.
Take it away on holidays: check.
Open it on the first summer/spring/sunny/remotely warm evening: check.
Recommend to friends and family: check.
Visit the winery and thank them for it: check.
This is a delicious wine that happens to be rosé. Crisp as the single-vineyard Riesling wines for which this family-owned winery is famed, yet with nuanced raspberry, strawberry and cream flavours and a bright, zingy, citrus finish. It broadens in the mid-palate to show a little weight and texture, but then moves swiftly to leave your mouth watering and wanting more. And because it's 11% alcohol, it's not hard to water it further.
Delicious with or without food, this is an excellent pairing for seafood, shellfish and lightly grilled meats, as well as salads (obviously) and even some spicy dishes too.
Wagner-Stempel is a really interesting winery. Established in 1845, it was, as is so often the case, a municipal farm doing everything that the land would support. Fortunately, the land included the two spectacular vineyards of Höllberg and Heerkretz, planted with Riesling, that became world-renowned in the early 20th century and the wine business grew to be able to take over as the major part of the family's activity.
Ninth-generation Daniel Wagner took over the running of the winery in the early 1990s and since then has converted to organic vineyard management, with a special focus on Riesling. There's no more generic agriculture in the family these days either, but they haven't forgotten their history - the logo on the label is a pillar from one of the original farm buildings that forms the beautiful winery courtyard; it's a pillar with a ring on it, as is the case for all of the pillars in the barn, which is where, back in the 1840s, all of the cattle were tied. That's the sort of connection to the land that they have in the winery and it's very much the way we like it in the Allotment.
Their location is something of a discussion point. The winery is based in the very far west of the large German wine region of Rheinhessen. If you mention high-quality wine-making in Germany, it is not very likely that you'll use Rheinhessen in the same sentence, which is a shame. After all, these guys and our friends in Geil, make really elegant, interesting and high-quality wines... but they are the exception. Wagner-Stempel are such an exception that when discussing them with a German wine specialist, I was told that in all fairness, Wagner-Stempel were really to be considered from the Nahe region. Blimey, I thought, that's a bit tough... But it's closer to the truth than I'd realised. Yes, there is sunny south-facing vineyard area that is typical in the generous Rheinhessen, but there is much more of the volcanic hills, rocky soils and porphyry rock for which the Nahe is so famous, and these are the facets of most of the Wagner-Stempel sites (Heerkretz and Höllberg in particular). So, they put Rheinhessen on the label because it's the truth; but it's Wagner-Stempel's Rheinhessen, which in particularly in one of the finest versions you can get.
Grape(s): St Laurent, Pinot Noir
Style: Vibrant, Vegan Friendly, Organic, Mineral, Medium-Light, Fruity, Fresh, Electric, Crisp, Complex, Bright
Best food matches: Spicy, Seafood, Salads