I wrote a blog a bit ago about heading over to the Millesime Bio, a massive Organic wine expo in Montpellier. 3 massive hangers full of producers of organic, biodynamic, and natural wines, and I made it round about less than 1% of them! My previous blog was about the women at Castel D’Age in Penedes, with great wines and a great story. But they weren’t the only ones there with that in their locker. Step forward Jan and the team from Staffelter Hof in the Mosel Valley in Germany…
You want some history? Can sort that. Staffelter Hof was first mentioned in the archives in 862 AD. Note that was NOT 1862, that was 862! Over 1150 years ago! That makes them officially one of the oldest wineries in the world.
You want a good story? When this place was run by monks, they used to use a donkey to work the steep slopes of the Mosel Valley. That was until a wolf killed it. Rather than accept the back breaking labour themselves, the head abbot tracked down the wolf and forced it to do all the pushing and pulling itself. The wolf, named Magnus, remains the symbol of the winery to this day!
You want great ethos? To turn a vineyard in the Mosel Valley organic is not bloody easy. The steep slopes make even the slightest extra manual work that little bit harder, and usually there’s even more need to spray. They’re also in the middle of tightly packed vineyards owned by other producers who might spray. So not only have you got to do it yourself, you’ve got to spend half your time extolling the virtues to your neighbours too. To that extent they’ve even managed to help push through vineyards reforms in their own village of Kröv.
And of course, you want great wines. I tried a few, but was blown away by “Little Bastard”, a zero added sulphite blend of Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. Unusual is not a bad word in my book. This was unusual and bloody marvelous. Normal Riesling from this region is sharp, acidic, and full of green apple and minerality. This was soft, mouth filling, peach and red apple, they’ve used a technique called malolactic conversion to soften the acidity. I’ve never had a Mosel Riesling (blend) like it. You’ve got to try it!
Really chuffed to have met Jan and the team, and even better news is they have a UK Importer, Modal Wines, so your local wine shop can get hold of it.