A very special valley
The name “Ahr“ goes back to the Celtic word “aha”, meaning water. Around our location the river has carved out a deep, steep-sided valley of craggy rocks and chasms on its way through the Ahr Hills. This not only creates a wildly romantic, picturesque view, but also the basis for the cultivation of red wine in what is the “high north” as far as wine production is concerned. The very special climatic conditions offered by the Ahr Valley, with its steep slopes positioned perfectly to catch as much sunlight as possible, were enough to convince the Romans to settle here all that time ago.
The area lies in the rain shadow of the Eifel region and its High Fens, hence we enjoy more hours of sunshine on an annual basis. All this means that the area boasts a virtually Mediterranean climate in summer – perfectly suited to maturing red grape varieties. For this reason, despite being the third-smallest wine-producing region in Germany, the Ahr enables the country’s largest continuous stretch of vine cultivation for red wine.The majority of our vineyards are located in Dernau, with further plots in the municipalities of Neuenahr, Ahrweiler and Walporzheim. The top locations of Pfarrwingert, Kräuterberg and Sonnenberg are among the best in Germany with very special geological and climatic conditions.
The Pinot Noir, most importantly, is able to reflect this very particular and individual terroir extremely characteristically, since its fruitiness and full body come to the fore, with a slight herby zest and mineral flavor also evident. Our sole task in the cellar is then to preserve these individual characteristics and to bring them to bear with a keen sensitivity.
The name Sonnenberg, literally meaning “sun mountain”, speaks for itself: Thanks to its south-facing orientation and favorable incline, this outstanding location benefits from an optimum amount of sunshine and a favorable microclimate. The soil is a bone-rich amalgamation of greywacke and greywacke slate offset with deposits of clay over slope wash through to loess and loess loam. Such an environment is particularly suited to the Pinot Noir vines, which reward us for their place in the sun with full-bodied wines that maintain a fruity and elegant character thanks to the stony element of their soil.
Even today, the Catholic parish church in Dernau remains the landowner of this plot – hence the name “Pfarrwingert”, which mean “parish vineyard”. The particularly favorable southern exposure and the incline, in combination with a soil that is able to gently heat up, creates an advantageous microclimate. The greywacke we find here is a grainy debris sediment which, together with argillaceous shale, is baked by the sun to create a sandstone-like structure. Thus the Pfarrwingert produces markedly aromatic wines with subtle fruit and fine flavors.
In Walporzheim the broad, lower Ahr Valley ends and the slopes become steeper, transforming into terraces that boast an outstanding reputation as one of the finest spots along the Ahr. The name Kräuterberg, which means “herb mountain”, possibly goes back to the Romans, who settled in this area and cultivated herbs as well as wines here thanks to the good climatic conditions. The soil is made up of stony, gritty loam with weathered slate and greywacke, whilst here in particular the incline and the intensive rays of the sun create an almost Mediterranean microclimate. The result is a bouquet-rich, powerful wine with a typical “herb aroma”, which may also explain its name of course.