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Winery #71: Weingut Dr. Heger (Baden, Germany)

Updated: Jul 30, 2022

Our second trip to Baden, one of the thirteen wine producing regions of Germany, began with a visit to Weingut Dr. Heger. For those non-German speakers like myself, Weingut means “winery." It's not uncommon in Germany to have “Dr.” in the winery name as the person who established the estate was either a medical doctor or earned the academic distinction. In this case, Dr. Max Heger, a medical doctor, founded the winery in 1935 transforming a hobby into an internationally-renown winery. The winery is currently managed by the third generation of the Heger family, Silvia and Joachim.

Prior to arriving to the winery’s tasting room, we were given fair warning that our hostess does not speak English, which was totally fine for us. Wine is an international language! Our hostess Sybille did a fantastic job at communicating throughout our wine experience with a lot of hand gestures and the assistance of Google Translate. We learned that a large portion of the family’s vines are planted on volcanic soil around Kaiserstauhl, an extinct volcano in the area. Volcanic soil has extremely low organic content and any water it receives drains quickly, thus forcing the grape vine to struggle to find nutrients and water. As the result, the vines yield smaller grape berries due to lack of total ripeness that can be made into intensely aromatic and flavorful wine with higher levels of acidity. A Master Sommelier, John Szabo, wrote a book on wines made from volcanic soils called Volcanic Wines: Salt, Grit and Power. I’m working on getting a copy!

The wine experience consisted of a seated tasting of 22 wines representing the Dr. Heger range. Yes, 22 wines. This is why it's so important to leverage the spittoon during a tasting, especially one that starts at 9:00am. You’ve been warned. German and Austrian wineries generally produce a significantly large number of wines each year representative of specific vineyard plots and grape varietals. It’s funny looking back at my notes, wines 17 through 22 are much sloppier than the first ones:-)

Our favorite wine of the tasting was the 2017 Ihringer Winklerberg Mimus Spätburgunder. Let’s decompose the wine’s name. Ihringer Winklerberg is the name of the vineyard where the grapes originate. Since Baden is one of the warmest areas in Germany, the Heger family can cultivate Spätburgunder, more commonly known as Pinot Noir. The Ihringer Winklerberg vineyard was awarded the VDP.ERSTE LAGE distinction for a first-class, unique vineyard that produces wines with distinctive characteristics and good aging potential. The only higher designation from the VDP (Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter), Germany’s premier wine promotional body, is the Grosses Gewäches. The 2017 Spätburgunder demonstrated pronounced aromatic and flavor intensity of red cherry, red plum, and cranberry with integrated aromas and flavors from the winery’s oak ageing regimen including vanilla and baking spice. The wine had a fantastic round tannin structure and high level of acidity providing freshness to the wine. We were a big fan!

Brodi had an absolutely lovely experience during the tasting, receiving a bowl of cold water, yummy treats, and lots of attention from our host as well as the other patrons. He highly recommends the visit for other fellow dogs traveling in the region! You can find the Instagram Reel of this experience here.

Experience Rating: 3 Stars

Brodi's Rating: 4 Paws Up

Pet-Friendly: Yes

Experience Vibe: Semi-Private Experience, Seated Formal Tasting

Reservations Needed: No

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