View of the Rhine from Bingen looking downstream
Well, if you could just see around the bend in the river, you could see Assmannshausen and its steep vineyards. The vineyards you see in the distance on the other side of the Rhine river here in the photo above are in fact the ones of Ruedesheim. However, you will get a good idea how steep these terroirs are and what a hell of a lot of work it is to cultivate the grapes on these steep slopes.
‘Hoellenberg’is the name of the location (terroir) which means in English (freely translated) ‘mountain of hell’, a quite common name for steep slopes in the Rheingau wine region.
In short, the best Pinot Noir (spaetlese, late harvest) I tasted during my five weeks in Germany was a ‘2010 Hoellenberg Pinot Noir Spaetlese’ from Assmannshausen produced by Kloster Eberbach in the Rheingau.
2010 Assmannshausen Hoellenberg Spaetlese – Pinot Noir
I bought the bottle in the wine shop at Kloster Eberbach for about 17-18 Euro, I think and it turned out to be a treasure. Pinot Noir of the finest kind. Pinot Noir the way I like it, full of flavours but well balanced, earthy with a vibrant acidity, a good body, structure and a long finish. A wine with character.
At 12.5. % alcohol, this wine is not overpowering but elegant, regal I would even say. I immediately regretted that I had not bought more bottles. I was to fast, as always, impatient. At the time I did not want to stand in line for the tasting on this busy Sunday afternoon when we had dropped in the cellar door at the monastery in Eberbach.
A selection of cheeses and salads
We had the wine in a very casual way with some summer dishes, salads and typical German dinner cold cuts and an insalata caprese. The wine would have matched almost any food except some spicy Asian dishes. but it is worth being enjoyed as stand alone drink.
My rating: four and a half out of five stars, 19 of 20 points, 90 Parker points. I could not be more subjective, I guess. In hindsight and given my memory lapses, I consider this the best wine I drank during my summer vacation.
The only one exception maybe was the wine tasting at Karthaeuserhof in Eitelsbach which I attended at the last day of the holiday, but then we merely tasted (small amounts of excellent wines in big glasses and without food) and did not drink a bottle of wine.
More about this event, another time. Stay tuned to the Man from Mosel River.