So it was last Thursday evening that we hosted a tasting with Fritz Hasselbach of Gunderloch in the Rheinhessen region of Germany. We had a week to pull it together, to get enough people to fill the room, and we did. We got 30 enthused tasters to come see what Fritz had to tell us about his estate and his 2005, 2006 and 2007 wines.
He was fantastic. Entertaining, informative, engaging, and funny - what more would one want from a speaker? I have met Fritz Hasselbach 3 times prior to this meeting - the first time was over lunch with Rudi Wiest representative Allie Mitchell - we had lunch in Seal Beach at a nice seafood restaurant called Walt's Wharf, where I was floored by the line of 2005 wines, from the estate dry through the Jean Baptiste Kabinett, the 3 star Auslese right through to the Goldkapsel, which we enjoyed with a delicious dessert of grilled buttery peaches. That luncheon was not supposed to be just the three of us - me, the winemaker, and the rep, but it turned out that way since no one else could make the lunch meeting on a Saturday. Well, their loss was my gain - it was great to hear about the red slate hills of the Rothenberg in Nackenheim.
The second time I met Fritz Hasselbach was a year later at another luncheon to taste the 2006 line-up. This time, the location was in Los Angeles instead of Seal Beach, and it was scheduled on a Monday instead of a Saturday. Big difference in terms of the turn-out - we had a group of probably 25 people show up for that tasting, and at that time I already knew I was coming on the Rudi Wiest importer trip to Germany in a couple of months, and Fritz said, "Then you will be coming to the wedding!" He meant his daughter's wedding, which was scheduled for September during the time that we would be in Germany.
The third time I saw him was indeed at his family's estate in Nackenheim, where it was like our little group of Americans were crashing his daughter's wedding. Well, we weren't really crashing, but it looked like we were! We had dinner first on our own in a little pizza joint in Nackenheim, during which we got a phone call from Fritz asking where we were and why we weren't already at the party! That was fun. Good times.
So it was great to see Fritz Hasselbach for a fourth time, this time at our place of business, showing his incredible Rieslings to our customers. Our customers were enthralled with him, his descriptions of the vineyards and the wines, and of course, the wines themselves. Many loved his barrel/tank samples of 2007s which he brought, which included the 2007 Gunderloch Dry Riesling, the 2007 Gunderloch Jean Baptiste Riesling Kabinett, and the 2007 Gunderloch Diva Riesling Spatlese. The 2007s do in fact exude a fantastic aroma and have a great palate, so no doubt they are going to sell like hotcakes (if our dollar does not drop any more!!!!)
All in all, it was a wonderful tasting, a great chance for our customers to connect with the man that makes the wines they love (there were lots of Gunderloch fans present), and hear about a great wine region. Interestingly, our 2005 Gunderloch Nackenheimer Rothenberg Riesling Auslese*** sold out! Fritz did admit to that being his favorite wine. Even our magnum bottle of 2004 Gunderloch Riesling Auslese*** was snatched up by one of the participants a few days later.
My favorites were the classic Rothenberg sweet wines: 2005 Gunderloch Nackenheimer Rothenberg Riesling Spatlese, 2005 Gunderloch Nackenheimer Rothenberg Riesling Auslese, and 2006 Gunderloch Nackenheimer Rothenberg Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel. Incredible wines, and delicious for a sweets-lover like me - and I don't apologize for that - nope! I just think these wines are among the best that money can buy.
I'll post a picture of me and Fritz Hasselbach later!