We at NOBLE & STYLE want to show our readers insights into modern craft, reveal new worlds of indulgence and offer a platform to those who pursue their vocation with responsibility and passion. After we had the chance to speak to up-and-coming and renowned wineries like Dreissigacker or Ca’ del Bosco to learn more about wine culture and cultivation, this time around we teamed up with Norbert Schu, a passionate collector and dealer who probably possesses Germany’s best equipped wine cellar, for a sparkling wines special. Even after delegating the restaurant Die Insel in 2019, he couldn’t part ways with the wine cellar, which was built-up over decades. And so wine lovers can continue to benefit from his experience, especially with his new project entitled Schu-Wein. Propelled by his passion for high quality wines, Norbert and his daughter Marie have created a monthly changing wine list. This family business, which is also a passion project that connects father and daughter, ensures that the knowledge accumulated over so many years is duly passed on to the next generation.
So, what is special about Schu-Wein? One can be assured that each recommended wine is optimally matured and stored in order to fully develop its palatal excellence. Because wine needs to be left in peace. And Norbert bestows his wines with this peace, in a gigantic wine cellar that makes collectors green with envy. While his friends spent their money on transient amusements, Norbert invested in his passion. Inspired by a curiosity to discover wines outside his native Moselle, the foundation of his collection was laid in 1981 through the acquisition of a 1980 Chateau Margaux Premier Grand Cru Classé in Bordeaux. A very worthy investment. Nowadays, you can find an exquisite selection at Schu-Wein, from French heavyweights to natural wines from Slovenia, reflecting all tastes and budgets.
We also used this approach for the following selection of sparkling wines, which will surely turn any moment into a unique experience.
Maximinerhof Bernd Schu – 2015 Schu’s Riesling Sekt Brut
Produced by the family winery Maximinerhof Bernd Schu, this sparkling wine, which is made using the champagne method with bottle fermentation, is characterized by its healthy acidity and smooth consistency. The 2015 Schu’s Riesling Sekt Brut comes from substantial soils with optimal water storage, shielded from the blazing sun, so that the natural acidity is retained. It’s no wonder that the best sparkling wine regions are located in Northern atmospheres. The longer the sparkling wine remains on the fine yeast, the smoother it becomes, something you can taste with this vintage. An additional 3% dosage is added to this wine. Consisting of 75% Riesling and 25% Pinot Blanc, which are hand-selected and only contain healthy grapes, this sparkling wine is an exquisite choice or a “veritable bargain” for the transition between the years.
Weingut Frank John – Riesling Brut
Gerlinde and Frank John took over the Hirschhorner Hof in 2002, thus laying the foundation for their biodynamic family winery. According to Norbert a “wonderful bunch of crazy, quality-conscious people with one of the best Sekts in the world.” And since a bit of madness is part of every successful enterprise, we are immensely pleased to focus on this particular winery. Located in the Palatinate—whose soils possess a completely different character compared to the Moselle—wines are produced here true to the “great old school wines,” motto. The Riesling Brut series is produced from old Riesling vineyard grapes, which are carefully processed in whole cluster pressing, before they are allowed to mature thoroughly in Palatinate barrels. By remaining on the fine yeast for around five years, a dream-inducing smoothness is acquired. The bottles only receive a minimal dosage so that the typical Riesling acidity is retained. The sparkling wine’s taste impresses with its widely nuanced minerality, a tingling companion for new adventures.
Palazzo Tronconi – Gizziello 2018
Named after an Italian opera singer from the 18th century, this wine is perfect for “all the days you feel joyful.” Italian sparkling wines have undergone extensive changes in recent years and there are a number of exciting additions aside from Pinot Bianco. For this wine we are dealing with the Lecinaro grape, which comes from the province of Frosinone between Rome and Naples. The result is a refreshing rosé sparkling wine from Palazzo Tronconi, a biodynamic winery that works with spontaneous fermentation and cultivates its ancient soils with the greatest care and love. This special concoction is available in both the 0.75 litre and the 1.5 litre bottle, which is typical in Italy, and is cause for deep smiles in good company.
Ca’ del Bosco – Annamaria Clementi 2011
The history of Ca’ del Bosco begins in the 1960s when Annamaria Clementi Zanella bought a small house on a hill surrounded by chestnut trees. When her son Maurizio recognized Franciacorta as an area that bears the abundant fruits to produce excellent sparkling wines, a dream began to take shape. There are moments that exceed words, living only through pure emotions, and the art of wine is such a moment for Maurizio Zanella. His deep love for the gently undulating, deep green hills combined with his quest for perfection has made Ca’ del Bosco what it is today. A winery that transforms wine into art, whose method combines tradition and innovation in a way that draws from nature’s fullness to produce truly noble products and excellent sparkling wines. Annamaria Clementi 2011 is no exception. A vintage that was given enough time to develop its full potential. Hand-selected grapes, consisting of 65% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Bianco and 15% Pinot Nero grapes, are first thoroughly washed in a special “berry spa,” dried and then stored in small oak barrels. Only the best grapes find their way into the bottle, where they are allowed to mature for eight years in order to develop their full flavour profile. The result is a pure wine with a complex bouquet without any added liquor, which stimulates the palate with its strong acidity. Ideal as an aperitif.
Jacquesson – Cuvée n° 742
A house steeped in tradition with a history dating back to the 18th century. Today the estate has around 36 hectares of land, all of which are grand and premier cru locations in the La Vallée de la Marne and Côte des Blancs. The brothers Jean-Hervé and Laurent Chiquet are deeply rooted in their land and try to allow their terroirs to express themselves fully. Here each plot is also individually vinified before the grapes are stored in wooden barrels for at least a year. The Jacquesson champagnes are characterized by their special smoothness, which comes from the regular stirring of the fine yeast. In contrast to Egly-Ouriet, this is a classic aperitif champagne whose dominant acidity has an invigorating effect. The numbers always correspond to the vintage, so the Cuvée n ° 742 refers to the year 2014. A wonderful champagne to welcome the new year.
Egly-Ouriet is a small house that produces one of the best champagnes in the region with a lot of effort and indispensable zeal; often referred to as the “Godfather of champagnes.” The foundation of Egly-Ouriet was laid in the mid-1940s when Francis Egly’s grandfather bought three hectares in Ambonnay, one of the best areas for Pinot Noir. Today Francis Egly cultivates 9.70 hectares in Grand Cru locations, and you can usually find the winemaker himself in the vineyard. Each parcel is vinified separately so that the particular character of the individual terroirs purely finds its way into the bottle. It’s for this reason that the wines are only given a minimal dosage. What makes Egly-Ouriet champagne so special is its long storage time. After 12 months in wooden barrel aging, the base wines are bottled unfiltered so that they can continue to mature on the yeast for as long as possible. No champagne is disgorged here for less than 36 months, and the result is impressive. A dignified, velvety champagne that has a calming effect and is the perfect accompaniment to a meal, for example a poulard in a cream sauce with truffle. Egly-Ouriet is the insider tip par excellence – so secret that the brand works without a website and is only available through selected dealers. At Schu-Wein, Egly-Ouriet is usually sold out within a very short time, in Berlin you can try your luck at Passion Vin. A rare champagne that seeks the right opportunity and turns special moments into an unforgettable experience.
- Ca’ del Bosco: Where the Excellent Franciacorta Wine is Born
- The Young and Experimental Winemakers of Rings
Words: Susanne Biermeir