Christian und Ernst Dautel
24% Riesling, 18% Spätburgunder, 16% Lemberger, 12% Weissburgunder sowie Trollinger, Cabernet & Chardonnay
Muschelkalk, Gipskeuper, Schilfsandstein und bunter Mergel
VDP: What is so special about your winery?
Christian Dautel: We look outside the box for tradition’s sake. Right from the start, our focus was on dry wines, which were not common in the seventies. As one of the pioneers in barrique ageing, we have been working with small oak barrels since the mid-1980s. We simultaneously planted the first Chardonnay vines in Germany, at that time with special permission. The NIEDERNBERG terraced site, a VDP.GROSSE LAGE®, has grown particularly close to our hearts. The steep slopes with dry stone walls of shell limestone and the view of the Enz and Neckar rivers allow the tradition and beauty of our cultural landscape to be experienced in an impressive way.
VDP: What is your winery philosophy?
Christian Dautel: The love for great and unique wines motivates us to get the best out of our different vineyards each year. Working in harmony with nature is essential for us. In doing so, we have the special attributes of each vintage in mind, always endeavouring to enhance this.
VDP: For what wine style do you strive? Do you have a favourite grape variety?
Christian Dautel: Ask a mother about her favourite child and she’ll never have an answer. We only grow grape varieties that we love and enjoy ourselves. Respect for the location and the grape variety is at the top of our list. Just as important is the drinking pleasure. In our opinion, great wines are defined not only by complexity and concentration, but also by balance and elegance. The latter ensures that even the last sip of a great wine is enjoyable.
VDP: Which of your wines would you recommend to someone who does not yet know your winery – as an introduction, so to speak?
Christian Dautel: Each of our wines undoubtedly shows the style of our winery. Because of the traditional varietal diversity in Württemberg, I would choose between our main grape varieties Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc), Riesling, Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) or Lemberger (Blaufränkisch) according to the preferences of the wine drinker.
VDP: Of which wine are you particularly proud?
Christian Dautel: Good question. Basically, all of them! But after my experiences in Burgundy, I am particularly happy to be able to work with such old Chardonnay vines today – many thanks to my father!
VDP: Why did you become a winegrower?
Christian Dautel: There is no better job for me. Of course, I was more or less born into the world of wine. We didn't go to the sea for our family holidays, but visited various wine-growing regions. During my travels abroad in South Africa, Australia, Austria, the USA and France, I met so many great people that were all connected by a passion for wine that I found enough confirmation outside my parents’ home to definitely go the right way.
VDP: Do you have role models?
Christian Dautel: My father, of course, shaped me the most. He laid the winemaking trade and the joy of wine in my cradle. The time I spent in Burgundy with Comte Lafon in Meursault had the greatest influence on me of all my internships due to the wine style and the grape varieties. Dominique Lafon is a great and open winemaker from whom I could learn a lot.
VDP: What are your next goals?
Christian Dautel: My goal is to continue to bottle great wines and increase quality each year. Sounds funny, but as a winegrower you don’t have that many opportunities – just plus or minus 35 vintages per winegrower, with each vintage being different. I already have a few in my treasure chest. I am looking forward to those that are still coming!
VDP: How do you combine tradition and innovation?
Christian Dautel: Basically, I would say that our winery has a tradition of innovation. On the one hand, I collected a lot of new ideas during my studies at Geisenheim, Bordeaux and during my many internships. On the other hand, I really appreciate my father’s experience and cooperation. Since he has already spent a lot of time in our vineyards and produced many vintages, his wealth of experience is worth its weight in gold.
VDP: Why should people visit your winery?
Christian Dautel: The historic Ganerben town of Bönnigheim attracts visitors with numerous interesting museums and many nice restaurants. Besides, it’s simply incredibly beautiful here.