The final of three new German estates added at the start of February, Balthasar Ress was the most polished and modern of the wineries we visited late last summer, and yet it’s still over 150 years old and in the fifth generation of family ownership.
We had the pleasure of discussing wine for a couple of hours with daddy and fourth generation Stefan, but it’s Stefan’s son Christian that’s shaping the company and, more importantly, the vineyards for sustainability under the next five generations. All the family’s own vineyards are certified organic now.
It’s nearly all about Riesling and Pinot Noir here but please, please, check out the Pinot Blanc. Tasting it is like walking into a room and Scarlett Johansson* smiles at you from across it: you go a bit wobbly at the knees, do a double-take, and blabber something indecipherable while dribbling on your chin.
(*Insert Jürgen Klopp if Scarlett doesn’t do it for you, my reaction would be the same with either.)
Balthasar Ress set up Gasthof Ress, an inn and eatery in the idyllic village of Hattenheim on the Rhine river, in 1870, laying the foundation for a long gastronomic tradition as well as the family winery that fourth and fifth generation Stefan and Christian Ress manage today. It was Christian began the process of organic conversion of the vineyards in 2016, with over 50 hectares making Balthasar Ress the largest organic winery in the state of Hesse.
No other wine-growing region in the world is characterized by just one grape variety as much as the Rheingau by Riesling. So it is with Balthasar Ress, one of the few wineries that own vineyards in prestigious locations across the entire Rheingau, from Assmannshausen to Erbach. Riesling (90%) and Pinot Noir dominate the vineyards, producing world class wines while proudly protecting the flora and fauna that share the land.
“We create fine Rieslings and fine Pinot Noirs for wine enthusiasts worldwide and always follow Balthasar’s maxim: Fein Sei Der Wein!” (fine be the wine!). And so it is.