Kloster Eberbach, Rheingau

August 7, 2012

The Rheingau wine region

Because of a flight delay we had a couple of hours on our hands with nothing to do. This provided us with an unexpected but welcome opportunity to visit the Rheingau wine region. So where to go and what to do?

Some years ago I had been to Eltville, one of the many small and pretty settlements with extensive wine culture and history. Last year in November I met a couple of professors from the famous wine institute in Geisenheim, Rheingau at the 3rd International Symposium on Tropical Wine in Chiang Mai, which further nurtured my curiosity in the Rheingau wine region.

So I typed “Kloster Eberbach” into the navigation system of the hired car and off we went to this place near Eltville which I had always wanted to visit. We were looking for some mix of culture and wine. In no time we were cruising the country roads of the Rheingau.

Vineyards and farm buildings

The region on the right side of the Rhein river between Wiesbaden and Assmannshausen is like a Garden Eden of the modern world. The slopes of prime vineyard land descend gently towards the Rhein river. The land is very fertile and the climate very suitable for the production of first class wines, mainly Riesling.

The top of the mountain ridges of the southern Taunus are crowned with deep forests. Many of the villages and settlements are very beautiful. Every year millions of tourist flock to places like Ruedesheim, Geisenheim, Erbach and Eltville.

The Eberbach monastery

Our destination, the Eberbach Monastery, formerly a Cistercian Abbey, is a kind of museum today. We had a look at the old church, the cloister and the various rooms used by its monks from the 12th century until the French revolution and the secularization of church property under Napoleon.

Fortunately, the grape-growing and wine-making tradition of the monks has been preserved. Today the state of Hessia is the owner of the vineyards and winery “Kloster Eberbach”. The monastery offers a range of programs related to wine, special tastings for instance in the historic wine cellar, and has a “vinothek”, a kind of cellar door or wine shop.

The wine shop of Kloster Eberbach

The “vinothek” wine shop does not only offer the wines of Kloster Eberbach but also of vintners and wineries of the surrounding villages and terroirs. The shop was packed with buyers on this Sunday afternoon. I browsed through the various shelves with wines from different locations and of different quality categories. I tried to stick to a certain budget which did not allow for grand cru wines.

My selection

In the end I settled for three wines only, one Riesling and two Pinot Noir wines. The Riesling came from the most famous and oldest terroir called “Steinberg” (stone mountain) right behind the monastery. The Pinot Noir Spaetlese from Assmannshausen was a bit pricier (17.40 EURO). It should turn out to be the best Pinot Noir I drank while holidaying in good old Germany.

Address:
Kloster Eberbach Winery
65346 Eltville am Rhein
Tel.: +49-6723-6046-0
www.kloster-eberbach.de

PS: When I studied agricultural economics at Bonn University, my master thesis was (among others) also dealing with the farming activities of the Cistercian monasteries and how they influenced land markets. I had visited Himmerod Abbey, a Cistercian monastery near Trier, but had never visited the equally famous Eberbach Abbey.


Rheingau Riesling

July 31, 2012

When traveling through Frankfurt, I always try to pick up a bottle of German wine on the airport. This time it was a ‘2011 Riesling Classic dry’ by the Kloster Eberbach winery in the Rheingau.

Little did I know at the time that I would be visiting this place during my holidays a few weeks later. In fact I would return to this wine region twice within two weeks time.

To say it in a nutshell, Kloster Eberbach is a fabulous place.

It used to be a Cistercian Monastry (by the way in my master thesis I wrote about Cistercian monastries and their farming enterprises which were quite modern as regards organization and management).

Grape production and wine-making have a long tradition in this place. Today it is owned and operated by the state of Hessia.

This is their “normal” Riesling wine brand, nothing fancy but just a solid German Riesling, the way I like it. The wine is crisp and fresh with great aromas and a good body.

I will tell you more about Kloster Eberbach soon,