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Weingut Johannishof (Rheingau, Germany)

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

From the Mosel Region, we drove east to Weingut Johannishof, located in Germany’s Rheingau wine region, a prestigious wine region producing some of the world's finest Rieslings. Located just north of the River Rhein, Rheingau’s steep slopes face south towards the river to take advantage of the sun's daylong exposure. This wine region is at the northern limit of wine producing, fifty degrees north latitude, and thus any form of assistance in terms of the angle of the vineyard or proximity to a body of water dramatically helps with the grapes' ripening process.

On the way to Weingut Johannishof, Google Maps found us an expedited manner to cross the River Rhein: a car ferry! It was an unexpected pleasure to float across the river, and Brodi enjoyed his first boat ride. Pro-tip when traveling in Germany, be sure to carry cash! Thankfully, my co-pilot had cash to pay the boatman!

Arriving at the winery, our host happily greeted us at the front door. Upon walking in the front door, we were in awe at all the vintage items gracing Weingut Johannishof’s tasting room walls. India, the resident wine dog, also came to say hello, and Brodi was pleased to have a buddy join us for part of the experience.

To start our private tasting, Sabine explained the incredible lineage of the family's ownership of the winery, whereby her husband Johannes and she represent the tenth generation managing the winery. Johannes appeared from the cellars to introduce himself on cue, which was a great pleasure for us. We also learned that the family owns 20 hectares, equal to nearly 50 acres, of vineyards across the towns of Johannisberg (of course), Winkel, Geisenheim, and Rüdesheim. On a side note, Geisenheim is famous for its wine university and Grape Breeding Institute. The family grows 99% Riesling grapes, so you can probably guess what wines we will be tasting over the next hour!

During our seated wine experience, Sabine poured us nine wines representing a diverse sampling of the family's entire production line. We appreciated her tactic of pouring wines side-by-side to make direct comparisons across vineyards and vintages. My favorite from the Weingut Johannishof lineup was the 2019 Hölle Johannisberg Grosses Gewächs Riesling. If you recall from our previous posts, Grosses Gewächs (GG) represents wine from the most prestigious vineyards in a dry style as prescribed by Germany’s Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter (VDP).

According to the VDP, the 5.4-hectare (13 acres) Hölle vineyard lies to the east of Johannisberg with south and southeast-facing slopes, allowing the vines to benefit from the sun's warmth throughout the day. The vineyard's soil consists of Taunus quartzite that retains the sun's heat into the early evening, extending the growing day. The vineyard also has stony-gravelly loam soil that adequately retains rainwater to alleviate any threat of water stress during the hottest months of the year. Fun fact: the earliest mention of the Hölle vineyard dates back to 1180!! Please click here for more information on the Hölle vineyard site.

The 2019 Hölle Johannisberg Grosses Gewächs showed intense aromas and flavors of apples, pears, peaches, and apricots. The wine was full-bodied, and the fruit showed greater ripeness, a hallmark of Rheingau Riesling compared to other German wine regions. The refreshingly high yet balanced acidity and long persistent finish made this wine my favorite from the lineup!

Please check out the YouTube video of our experience here.

Experience Rating: 3 Stars

Brodi’s Rating: 2 Paws Up

Pet-Friendly: Yes

Experience Vibe: Private Experience, Seated Wine Tasting

Reservations Needed: Yes

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