Discovery tour Palatinate Part 2
December 1st, 2018 | Landgänge
Our crash course Palatinate continues! At the invitation of the Palatinate wine marketing association Pfalzwein e. V. we spend one day on the Palatinate Wine Routes: Six wine shops, 13 winemakers and an “Autumn Fireplace Talk” in the evening – the Palatinate from south to north, from Landau to Zellertal in 24 hours!
You haven’t yet read part 1 of this story? Here you’ll find the start of the tour.
Attention: This post contains advertising for the Palatinate and Palatinate wineries… for risks and side effects, please ask the winemaker of your choice…
3.30 pm Winery Lucashof
Our fourth wine shop – and again a completely different style, and again beautiful. The romantic winery Lucashof in Forst exudes Mediterranean flair. The terracotta paint, the olive, lemon and fig trees in the cobblestone courtyard, the generosity of the estate with its turrets and oriels – all this would perfectly fit into the Tuscany, especially on this mild, sunny day with all the autumnal gold-red tones.
The winery Lucashof is family. You can feel it immediately. Philipp, the junior, invites you on a short tour of the cellar, explains storage and bottling, before we arrive in the wine shop. There he describes in a relaxed conversational tone how each member of the family has contributed to the design of the extremely appealing wine store: the wall of old staves, the walk-in treasure chamber, the stone wall, the bar, which his dad Klaus had wished for and the perfect lighting concept of his sister. Every single element represents a family member, the wine shop as a whole carries the “Lucas stamp”. This family lives in extremely sympathetic and successful way family life and wine.
In the treasure chamber we spot Rieslings who are almost as old as I am. We are tasting the current assortment, but are soon kidnapped by Christine Lucas. She is the good soul of Lucashof and shows us her realm, the country hotel. Here she leads the direction.
With bright eyes and full of pride, she shows us the seven rooms, all of which carry beautiful names from different vineyard locations. Here you will find the Kirchenspiel next to the Ungeheuer, the Musenhang next to the Bischofsgarten. The rooms are very spacious and very tastefully decorated in a Mediterranean style. You can have breakfast in the Landhotel Lucashof with a view of the Haardt mountains and for guests there is a small park. “Many of our guests have been coming for years, some are for us as if they belonged to the family, and others are following the work in the vineyard in every detail,” says Christine Lucas. We can almost see each other enjoying our evening glass of wine in the last sunlight between the sandstone walls under the pergola. Romantico.
5 pm Winery Hensel
At dusk we reach Bad Dürkheim and the winery Hensel. In contrast to our previous very classic station, a modern property awaits us here – very modern, avant-garde. You almost want to say “lifted off”. And we are just right with that, at least architecturally. The building actually seems almost floating. Inspiration for this architectural refinement was provided by the adjoining small airfield.
Thomas Hensel is eager to experiment, even though he can look back on more than 300 years of family tradition. He leads a modern estate with a very young team. Also the very chic and modern equipment of the wine shop shows, here the experience and knowledge of generations meet the technology of today. The winemaker swears by manual labor, he only wants to process ripe and healthy fruits. The natural character of a grape variety should be allowed to develop fully.
In keeping with the airfield and the architecturally “lifted off” impression, Hensel arranges his wines in four collections: LITER [liter], AUFWIND [upwind], HÖHENFLUG [flight], and IKARUS [Icarus]. He explains: “You should find the right wine for every occasion with us. So the LITER table wine may not be missing: everyday enjoyment without frills. With AUFWIND, HÖHENFLUG and IKARUS, we will then step by step into the more complex zones of the wine-maker – from the Prêt-a-porter to haute couture.”And especially regarding IKARUS, he adds: “Since the wine year must have gone very well, otherwise he will not even end up in the bottle: Icarus, our noblest wine character.” Let’s hope that 2018 will be an IKARUS year to take off.
18.30 Winery Bremer
After this high-altitude flight we land precisely in Zellertal, in the winery Bremer. What can I say? Another absolute highlight on our journey and for today the last stop. “3 sisters and Mr. Acker”, it says in their subtitle. That sounds interesting, especially since the four were elected Newcomer of the Year at the German Riesling Champion in 2017.
Anna, Rebecca and Leah started their winery only four years ago. The three sisters had a lot of know-how in business administration and marketing as well as a lot of gastronomic creativity. Missing yet an experienced wine expert. And that was Mr. Acker. The well-known Palatine oenologist, who had last successfully built a winery in Serbia, modernized the winery fundamentally to create the conditions for the production of premium wines. And he succeeded. Today, the three sisters and he manage 20 hectares of vineyards and have already earned a respectable name in the wine world and are mentioned in the Eichelmann, Gault & Millau and Falstaff.
With an event barn, a wine shop and a fireplace room the winery Bremer offers venues for every occasion. Thus Pfalzwein e. V. had invited to the annual press event “Autumn Fireplace Talk” in this event barn. In addition to a general overview of the vintage in 2018 (which gives reason to cheer) and about the Palatinate as a holiday region, the new Pfalzwein website was presented. Under the memorable address www.pfalz.de, the previous pages of Pfalzwein, Pfalz.Touristik and Pfalz.Marketing were bundled. Super-practical: Here you can really find everything: Whether information on Palatinate wines and gastronomy or the Palatinate as a travel destination. In any case, we will prepare our planned hiking tour with maps and tour suggestions, which are available for download on the website. A really well-made tourism site, as we find!
In the wine bar we finally came to enjoy a seasonal four-course menu with corresponding wines of the winery Bremer. After paprika soup and lamb’s lettuce with smoked duck breast, a veal fillet with fine herb butter, potatoes and pumpkin was served. The 2015 Zellertaler Pinot Noir was an absolute delight! The 2015 Hengstgewanne Riesling Auslese was the perfect accompaniment to the dessert, a chocolate cake with redcurrants sorbet. Unfortunately, I had to capitulate at this point already. Once again.
In the summer, this vinotheque, with its cobblestone courtyard, sandstone brick buildings, and wonderful old linden trees, must be a delightful and romantic place to enjoy a glass of fine wine or dinner outside.
The winery tour was a firework of architectural, oenological and gustatory experiences, one would like to stay at each single place. The wineries and winemakers not mentioned here because of the abundance of the program may forgive me for this. The Palatinate has presented itself to us from the best side: a landscape and a climate such as velvet and silk, good food, fine wines… We will certainly come back.
And if we finally manage our hiking week in the Palatinate, we will use the “Pfalz Card”. Then we can easily travel by train and reach everything locally with the very well-developed public transport network. Not only public transport, but also 100 recreational facilities can be visited free of charge with the card. It is worthwhile to look for a hotel that is connected to the Pfalz-Card. The Hotel Kollektur for example is one of these hotels. There we felt very comfortable during our short break in Palatinate.
Five different wine shops that are as different, individual and special as their winemakers and their families. Five families, five stories, five concepts and five completely different manor houses – but one thing connects them all: the great love of wine and the associated craftsmanship and their homeland, which we have come to know so beautifully.
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