The Rebholz estate, in the southern Pfalz region of Germany, is a pioneer in organic and natural winemaking. The estate has been certified organic since 2005 and practicing biodynamic since 2006. However, even as far back as 1951, Eduard Rebholz (1889-1966), who received the title Ökonomierat, an honorary title conferred upon a deserving agriculturist, was commenting on his natural approach: "You will receive only natural wine from my cellar, wine that is the result of intense and loving cultivation of the vines and of similar vinicultural methods (no chaptalization, no artificial addition of a Süßreserve or similar fundamental structural changes that alter the native character of the wine and, in my eyes, mean that it is no longer a natural product."
This tradition continues with the current generation; Birgit and Hansjörg Rebholz together with their children Hans, Valentin and Helene work as close to nature as possible. In an effort to promote a healthy ecosystem and to protect the environment, they forgo the use of herbicides, synthetic fungicides and mineral fertilizers. They use only organic and biodynamic techniques and materials that promote healthy plants, helping the vines grow strong and prosper naturally. While these methods involve more time and effort, it is a price they are willing to accept in order to best protect and preserve the biodiversity within their vineyards
The earliest recorded history of winegrowing by the Rebholz family in Siebeldingen dates back to 1632. From beer brewer to village mayor, family members have held a wide range of titles over the years. The single constant: always at least one winemaker in the family. Around 100 years ago the Rebholz clan took the estate house, first built in the 16th century, as their family home. The Rebholz family only began bottling their wine following the Second World War, as an alternative to delivering entire barrels to local inns and restaurants
The role of soil in producing quality wine is so crucial that they have spent many lifetimes searching out the finest sites and then preserving and protecting them through organic farming practices. All fruit is picked by hand, in many cases long after their esteemed neighbors have completed their own harvest.
The Rebholz family believe that this work directly impacts the quality of their wines. Each terroir is defined by its own distinct native flora and fauna, the living organisms in the soil, the natural topsoil and a certain capacity on the part of the vines and their roots to tap into and work with these elements. By nurturing a more natural ecosystem in the soil, they help the vines better express the distinct character of their terroir in their fruit, and thus ultimately in the wines. Then as now, Rebholz wines are neither enriched nor de-acidified. They believe both practices spoil the wine's defining and natural character.
Rebholz wines conform to the published standards of the EU Eco Regulation and have earned EU organic certification. For some images of biodynamic preparations at Rebholz, click here.
There are three distinct terroirs in the estate’s vineyards. In the “South-Pfalz”, where the estate is located, limestone terroir rules and it is ubiquitously present in one part of the Im Sonnenschein vineyard where Riesling, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and to lesser amounts Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and Muskateller are planted. In the Ganzhorn, a small parcel of the same site, the estate's Riesling excels. It performs the minor miracle of exquisite peach, apple and apricot aromas sourced from colorful sandstone. Last but not least there is the Kastanienbusch with its rocky, rusty-red soil of the true primary rock from the lower strata of the “new” red sandstone. It simply produces some of the greatest dry Rieslings not only in Germany – but anywhere.
The estate’s 22 ha are farmed biodynamically with a production of about 10,000 cases.
Rebholz Pinot Blanc Estate Dry 2016
Acidity: 6,5 g/l
Residual sugar: 1 g/l
Elegant pinot banc with a smell of green apple, herbs and lemon balm. On the palate it has almost smoky note. The wine has a smooth acidity and pale yellow reflexes. Through the dryness of the wine it is a perfect match with lighter dishes like fish and white meat.
Ultra-precise white from loess and loam terroir. Hansjorg is the avowed master of Pinot Blanc in the Pfalz.
Rebholz Riesling Dry Birkweiler 2016
This is a stunning bottle of dry riesling from decomposed red slate soils rich in iron. Consider this a second wine to the Kastanienbusch. This is pure and mineral, just a gorgeous bottle with the kind of crystalline purity that is a house calling card. A great introduction to Rebholz.
Rebholz Riesling Kastanienbusch GG 2015
Kastanienbusch lies to the west of Birkweiler. The vineyard is located in a basin which protects the wine from cold winds. It is between 220 and 320 meters in altitude, the highest GG-vineyard site in the Pfalz, and has up to a 40% gradient. Rebholz has just over 2 ha of old vines in Kastanienbusch,
Kastanienbusch is well known for a rare red slate that developed 280 million years ago. It contains granite, slate and melaphyre.
Since 2006 the vineyards are farmed biodynamically. The complex mutual reactions in the ecosystem create remarkable wines and support a better sustainability in this distinctive wine growing region.
After selective harvesting, the grapes are destemed and rest on the skins for 24 hours. Clarification happens as the wine naturally settles. The wines ferment reductively in stainless steel tanks. The wine was bottled after 6 months on the lees.
The wine shows a perfect balance between ripeness and minerality, fruit and acidity as well as density and elegance. Kastanienbusch typically shows mineral aromas – smoke, pepper, flint, hay, tea and spices as well as typical aromas of Riesling – citrus, apple, peach and apricot. The palate has the same balance between soil and grape variety: the soil creates the mineral, spicy notes. The wine – like all Rebholz wines – has a high aging potential.
Rebholz Riesling Estate Dry 2016
Alcohol: 11,5 % vol
Acidity: 7,9 g/l
Residual Sugar: 3,1 g/l
Ripe, mineral, aroma of citrus fruits, apricot and peach. Typical of the colorful sandstone soils is the fine minerality and elegance. Fresh and lively with a perfectly balanced acidity. Perfect with fish and light appetizers.
Hansjorg Rebholz grows his estate Riesling in vineyards of primarily red sandstone and ages it in steel. The fruit comes from all of his top vineyards; there are no “lesser sites” designated for the estate blend. The wine is undeniably salty, with a lean, bright, precise character, rich in body yet tensile and graceful on the tongue. Yellow fruits play hide and seek on the palate, capped by a sort of gin & tonic quality in the tail---but ultimately, this is about stones and vineyard character. One of the great dry estate wines (gutsweins) of Germany, and a benchmark for the style.
James Suckling rated this wine with 91 of 100 possible points.
Rebholz Riesling Ganz Horn GG 2015
While most of Rebholz's vineyards are west facing, there are also south facing vineyards, like the "im Sonnenschein”. This vineyard, whose name means "in the sunshine," is between 160 and 225 meters and has a 5 to 20% gradient. The section of the vineyard, known as “Siebeldinger Ganshorn”, is a south facing vineyard side protected from cold winds west of the “Deutsche Weinstraße”. The difference between “Im Sonnenschein” and “Ganzhorn im Sonnenschein” is the type of soil. While “Im Sonnenschein” has limestone soil, “Ganzhorn im Sonnenschein” is colorful sandstone.
Typical for a wine from this vineyard side is the smell of hot summer days when the first raindrops fall. The wine has a salty acidity and amazing length. The strong mineral and spicy aroma is typical for colorful sandstone it also has elegant citrus notes in the nose. A really complex and elegant wine.
Alcohol 12,5% - Acidity 7,4 g/l, - Residual Sugar 3,0 g/l
"The 2015 Im Sonnenschein Ganz Horn Riesling trocken GG opens with a very clear and elegant, aromatic and flinty-flavored bouquet of crushed stones that is almost Mosel-like in style. Clear, round and elegant on the palate, this is a very pure, fresh, finessed and lingeringly salty Riesling. It is a classic with a perfect four grams of residual sugar that gives this seductive juiciness and remarkable elegance. The finish is almost chalky in its dustiness and grippy salinity. This is another great Riesling of the Rebholz family, and it can compete with the finest Mittelhaardt Buntsandstein Rieslings from Deidesheim and Forst. 94 points"
Stephen Reinhardt, 226, The Wine Advocate, 30th Aug 2016