'Agriculture is a business where things change very slowly. Our region is very conservative. The people who work differently here in Germany are the people that have travelled and worked in different countries. If they come back, they bring with them new ideas; and change begins.'
When people in Württemberg think about wine, it is mostly shaped by the large (and often outdated) cooperatives that most growers bring their fruit to year after year. Organic, or even biodynamic principles, simply aren't a thing, and the average age of the grape grower generation is approaching retirement. In 2014, Greek-born Olympia Samara and Hannes Hoffmann began setting up shop and recultivating a mere 0.6 hectares that Hannes took over from his family. Lemberger (also known as Blaufränkisch and Kekfrankos in other parts of Europe) is the name of the game and despite its untapped potential, the soil (a type of blue limestone) and grapes yield perfect conditions for high quality, low yielding wines with low alcohol and enourmous tension. It's not just their pedigree working with the likes of Claus Preisinger and Dirk van der Niepoort, but an equal amount of ambition, that’s helped turn the idea of the region upside down. They invest a tremendous amount into the old terraced parcels, often forgone by local farmers due to the difficulty of managing small and hard to access plots.
Fast forward today, the duo (alongside their newborn Nicolas) farm a total of 2 hectares, mainly planted with Lemberger, but also small amounts of Pinot Noir and Riesling that should have equal attention in the future. Olympia and Hannes firmly believe in a minimal interventionist approach; everything is done by hand both in the vineyards and in the cellar, and since 2019 they are also certified Demeter. If you are looking for 'French' wines from Germany - making wines with the silent voice of terroir - you shouldn’t miss this fantastic young estate.
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