In each country from where I import wines I try to find a "local winery" that the local population looks to as their ongoing source of high quality every day drinking wines. In Germany I found a great local winery in the middle of the Rheinhessen that has been in the village of Bechtolsheim for over 300 years. That is Weingut Ernst Bretz from where I have selected six fun and refreshing wines - including two sparkling wines.
The first step in maintaining such high quality is that they only use estate grown fruit. Farming their own vineyards allows very high attention to detail such as leaf canopy management, ongoing cluster pruning, and careful manual harvesting. Although the family's winery has been in existence for over 300, years, its vinification equipment and technology is state of the art for today and is another component in the consistently high quality wines produced by the Bretz winery.
Another contributor to the high quality wines is the "Petersberg" - a mineral laden slope which rises from the edge of the town. The long farming history of growing grapes on the Petersberg also supports the rich knowledge base of how to best make wines from their vineyards. The diversity of soil types: loess, loam, shell-limestone, marl, and various stones is also what provides interesting characteristics for the wines.
A picture of the Bretz family heritage
Perfectly farmed rows of vines
The aromas are subtle with pleasant hints of pineapple, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and grapefruit. The wine then evolves into having refreshing flavors of white peaches and honeydew melon along with hints of ripe strawberries and pears. The wine is well-balanced with perfect acidity, has a medium body, and a refreshing finish.
Food pairings would include sole, crab, shrimp, scallops, halibut, sea bass, seafood salads, lobster bisque, clam chowder, veal, pork cutlets and tenderloin, pasta salads, creamy pasta dishes, mild curries, Asian noodle dishes, roasted potatoes, green salads, and light vegetable dishes.
The aromas are of white flowers, peonies, and tropical fruits. This is definitely completely dry and there are interesting and refreshing flavors of honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and nectarines along with hints of grapefruit and kiwi. There is a medium body, balanced across the palate, and a full and refreshing finish.
Food pairings would include crab, shrimp, swordfish, seafood pasta and salads, seafood bisques, veal, pork, chicken, light pasta dishes and pasta with cream sauce, Asian vegetable salads, Mexican food such as Chicken Suiza and pork or chicken with a verde sauce, green salads, and soft to medium cheeses.
Riesling Kabinett 2016
This has aromas of apricot, white peaches, honeysuckle, and white flowers. Flavors are of apples and pears with a hint of pineapple. The wine is smooth and well-balanced with a medium mouthfeel and a refreshing full finish.
Food pairings would include sea bass, halibut, creamy seafood dishes, pork tenderloin, veal, pasta with cream sauces, grilled vegetables, Asian noodle and stir fry dishes, Indian Paneer dishes, mild curries, cream soups, potatoes au gratin, green salads, and both hard and soft cheeses.
Riesling Spatlese 2015
This has aromas of linden, white flowers, mild honeysuckle, and hints of grapefruit. The relatively mild aromatics then evolve into much fuller flavors of red cherries, wildflower honey, sweet pink grapefruit, and perfectly ripe honeydew melon. The strong fruit core is complemented by a very smooth medium to full body, refreshing acidity providing good balance, and a full finish. This is definitely a Spatlese with some residual sugar but the perfect balance and acidity provides very good structure.
Food pairings would include scallops, crab, seafood pasta, seafood salads, spicy shrimp, veal chop, roasted and baked chicken, chicken milanese, pasta primavera, vegetable casseroles, Asian noodle dishes, chicken and pork stir fry dishes, mild and creamy curries, green salads, and both rich and soft cheeses.
Secco Weiss Sparkling
I normally don’t comment on the color of my wines as I enjoy the natural variety across the color spectrum of different varietals but this sparkling wine does have a fun and festive appearance in a glass. The wine itself is very clear and bright and its festive nature is then suggested by the fun little bubbles which randomly float upwards. The nose is also very inviting with aromas of ripe peaches and apricots along with hints of grapefruit, green apples, and pineapple. There are then refreshing flavors of honeydew melon, mild cantaloupe, and a hint of zesty citrus. This has an elegant medium body, some refreshing acidity, and a fully saturated finish.
Food pairings would include crab, shrimp, filet of sole, sea bass, lobster, cream soups, veal, pork, baked chicken, creamy pasta and vegetable dishes, chicken and vegetable stir fry dishes, Asian noodle dishes, mild curries, green papaya salad, and green salads with a light dressing.
Secco Rose Sparkling
There are fun aromas of strawberries, mild raspberries, cherries, and pomegranate which then evolve into flavors of red fruits and white peaches along with hints of cantaloupe and watermelon. This has a perfectly balanced medium body, refreshing acidity, and a very smooth finish.
Food pairings would include salmon, shrimp, clams, mussels, seafood salads and pasta dishes, veal, pork, grilled chicken, charcuterie, Indian Tandoori dishes, Thai beef and pork dishes, and fruit desserts. The fun flavors and good balance also make this a refreshing wine for just sipping on for any occasion.