The Rheinhessen has been seen as the lesser of the great German winegrowing regions by wine enthusiasts over time. The Mosel, Nahe, Rheingau and Pfalz appearing to offer more interest and excitement, especially with their greater focus on Riesling. The Rheinhessen wines could be seen as ‘charming’, with softness and more gentle aromatics. But those in the know have accepted this and seen this as balance, and are aware of the more subtle expression, the wines having as much character and reflection of site and soil as those from the other regions.
Weingut Wittman has Rheinhessen roots going back over 350 years and are intimate with the best sites, influenced by limestone, around the town of Westhofen. The Wittmann family have honed their craft to grow ecologically and biodynamically and they have maintained their reputation and that of the Rheinhessen as a source of great German wine. They’ve come into their own with the increasing favour of dry wines, the Rheinhessen naturally more gentle in alcohol, and more disposed to balance – something the makers in the other regions may have to work harder at. They’ve stayed true to what they have been doing for centuries.
Our bottle shared with the Sticker Queen and King was the 2014 Wittman Westhofen Aulerde Riesling GG Trocken. From the estate’s warmest site, clay plays a greater part. The wine is indeed broader, denser and more minerally and earthy. The youth obvious with some bottling sulphur. But in the glass, the beautiful lime and florals of Riesling began to emerge and meld with the minerality. Soft and poised acidity, perfectly in its place. And lovely smooth textures and wonderful precence. This doesn’t shout, but builds and builds with subtlety. A great wine.