In 1492 Bentz der Aldinger arrived in the town of Fellbach with the intention of growing grapes and in so doing he established the regions oldest wine estate. These days Gert Joachim Aldinger is in charge, ably assisted by the next generation in the form of his sons Hansjörg and Matthias. The family own vineyards in the country around Fellbach, just to the east of Stuttgart in Württemburg, including some of the most prestigious sites in the region.
They make excellent rieslings but also produce equally compelling red wines from pinot noir, trollinger, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, pinot meunier and lemberger among others. The pinot noirs, in Germany called spätburgunder, undergo a pre-fermentation maceration before natural yeasts begin the fermentation in barriques (for Grosses Gewachs wines) and old oak vats and they age in 100% new oak for 16 months in the case of Marienglas and 9 months for Gips. Lemberger, aka blaufränkisch in Austria, from the Hanweiler Berg first growth vineyard is also macerated before fermentation and spends time in new oak barriques before bottling. The quality of these wines amply illustrates why so much red wine like this is consumed in Germany.
Württemburg has not yet imposed itself on the consciousness of most wine drinkers in the United Kingdom but with producers such as Aldinger making classy reds like this there is more than a glimmer of hope that it will.