VDP: What is so special about your winery?
Carolin Spanier-Gillot: Wine is a lifestyle that brings high culture and casual joy into harmony. At our winery we address the whole person with our architectural concept, with our wines and with our casual cordiality, thinking in accordance with Goethe’s quote, ‘Here I am a Mensch, here I may be!’
On the one hand, the cosy and relaxing atmosphere of our deeply coloured lounge and vinotheque is in the foreground. On the other hand, a clear design language reflects our own demands on wine: to refer respectfully and with discretion to the content, which should be allowed to speak for itself. With LiquidLife, we have created a series of high-quality epicurean events that bring the flair of the metropolises to tranquil Rheinhessen. We invite star chefs, sommeliers and hip wine bars from Berlin, Hamburg or Vienna to co-host weekends in Bodenheim. But without gimmicks and pomposity at the table. Instead, perfection in form, but casual. Cordial, but never intrusive.
VDP: What is your winery philosophy?
Carolin Spanier-Gillot: It is important to us that we recognize ourselves and our soil in our wines. Authenticity is our compass, even if it is often the rockier path in viticulture.
VDP: For what wine style do you strive?
Carolin Spanier: Just as the grass doesn’t grow faster if you pull it, wines don’t get better if you force them to ripen quickly. This is why our wines are only bottled after natural fermentation and prolonged maturation on the lees. Some of our wines are not released on the market until two or three years after the harvest. For us, maturation is not a degradation process, but a purification process.
Primary aromas from the grape meld and the aromas derived from the location, the soil and the rocks come to the fore. Only then does our ‘genius loci’, the Rhein terraces and the slate soil of the Roter Hang achieve it intrinsic expression. For white wines at our latitudes, Riesling is the ideal translator of what is called terroir.
Our red wines, mainly Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir), grow on the calcareous soils around Oppenheim and Bodenheim. There the grapes reach their perfect ripeness due to the meagre, but rather deep, warm soils. The delicate aromas, which only such a northern climate makes possible, and a discreet use of barriques tame the dark power of red wine grapes to reveal breathtaking finesse.
VDP: Which of your wines would you recommend to someone who does not yet know your winery – as an introduction, so to speak?
Carolin Spanier: Our QVINTERRA® Riesling VDP.GUTSWEIN. Five different wine villages and five different soil types have inspired us to use the Latin term QVINTERRA®. The name indicates that our winery owns vineyards in the five famous places of the Rhine Terrace: Oppenheim, Nierstein, Nackenheim, Bodenheim and Laubenheim. The wine is a juicy, crisp Riesling that only the Rhine Terrace can produce. Lively acidity, fine pineapple and apricot fruit and a delicate slate aroma combine to create an appetising wine and that you can drink wonderfully with light fish. Or simply on its own, when you just feel like a sip of good Riesling.
VDP: Of which wine are you particularly proud?
Carolin Spanier: The VDP.GROSSES GEWÄCHS®. ROTHENBERG Riesling Our parcel thrones like an eagle’s nest at the top of the slope. It is the steepest parcel in the ROTHENBERG and bears the name ‘Kapellchen’. The vineyard name Rothenberg means red mountain and says it all. Our Riesling vines grow on red slate soil that is so soft and porous that the roots can literally eat their way into the slate. These are certainly some of the oldest Riesling vines in Germany and were planted at the beginning of the 1930s, before the protective laws requiring the grafting of vines against phylloxera came into force. We therefore give the wine the designation ‘wurzelecht’.
Our VDP.GROSSES GEWÄCHS® ‘wurzelecht’ from the ROTHENBERG vineyard has become an iconic wine, which has been awarded the highest honours and is highly sought. This Riesling has an incredibly silky texture and a light-footed elegance that is only rarely possible.
VDP: Why did you become a vintner?
Carolin Spanier: As the daughter of a winegrowing family, it actually took me a while, but I eventually realized that it would be my fulfilment.
VDP: Who was your role model?
Carolin Spanier: My father.