Weingut Dr Wehrheim | Certified Biodynamic estate in Birkweiler in the Pfalz region of Germany. The estate came to the fore in the 1960s under Dr Wehrheim. In 1990 his son Karl-Heinz took over here. Karl-Heinz’s wife teaches classics at school. Their son Franz is a qualified oenologist. Consultant is Patrick Christ. VDP member since 1991. Benchmark wines include dry Weissburgunder, Riesling, and Spätburgunder.

Vineyards | 2016 19.5ha (75% white, 25% red). Mainly in Birkweiler and Siebeldingen. In the 1990s 15-18ha [100,000 bottles] (40% Riesling, 22% Pinot Blanc, 12% Silvaner, 8% each Pinot Noir and St Laurent. 40% Riesling, 25% Weissburgunder,15% Spätburgunder, 10% Grauburgunder, 5% Chardonnay, 5% St.Laurent

Vineyard sites | Birkweiler (am) Dachsberg. | Birkweiler Kastanienbusch. | Birkweiler Mandelberg. 

Soil type: Buntsandstein (weathered sandstone), Keuper, Muschelkalk (shell limestone) and Rotliegende. These geological formations were pushed up to the surface as a result of the formation of the Upper Rhine Trench around 50 million years ago.

Biodynamics | Georg Meissner is a friend of the Wehrheim family. Ridi Rosenburger (female) has also been involved in developing Biodynamics here.

Biodynamic certification | 2006 Organic trials. | 2007-2008 Started with some Biodynamic practices. | 2010 First vintage with full organic certification. | 2017 Certified Biodynamic by respekt-BioDyn.

Wines (listed by variety)

Chardonnay, Birkweiler, Keuper | VDP Ortswein. From vines on the Keuper soil type. | 2016 Trocken 13%. Salty round yellow fruit, took two days after having been opened to show its round middle and taut acidity, very coherent (tasted Nov 2019).

Grauburgunder Buntstück Grauburgunder trocken, Pfalz

Grauburgunder Keuper S | 2010 Pfalz Nice classic, like a Chablis with a bit of exoticism at dinner at the Seehof Keller 23 June 2016.

Riesling, Birkweiler am Dachsberg | Weathered floors of coloured sandstone, approx. 250 million years old. The colored sandstone is the predominant geological formation in the Palatinate Forest. It has been used as a building material for centuries. Like the red slate, the red sandstone was deposited in hot climates in desert-like areas. Constant sea breaks and changes between flat sea and flat land are characteristic. The sandstone owes its yellow to deep red colours to the changing levels of iron oxide. | 2016 13%. Robustly structured, broad yellow fruit, clear and tangy with plenty of texture (tasted Nov 2019). | 2015 Erste Kage Steel. 4g/l. Creamy at Tenuta Manincor 24th June 2016.

Riesling, Birkweiler Kastanienbusch | 1992 Riesling Kabinet Trocken 11.1% alc. Light petrolly aromas, nutty acidity lightly flavour (Visit July 1994). | 1993 Riesling Kabinet Trocken#1 11.0% green cherry, again light, soft light spice (Visit July 1994). A different version of the same wine, from vines nearer the forest so always has higher acidity = “a wine for freaks”] 9.8g/l acidity very good acid, mouthwatering, spice, light honey (Visit July 1994). | 1993 Riesling Spätlese Trocken 12.0% alc. Cool grapefruit, savoury acidity, light finish (Visit July 1994). | 2014 Kastanienbusch Riesling GG Grosse Lage. Very musky nose. Very distinctive musky style of Riesling; very youthful (Manincor 24 June 2016).

Riesling, Birkweiler Kastanienbusch Köppel Grosses Gewächs

Riesling Buntsandstein Riesling S trocken

Riesling, Buntstück | 2015 11.5% alc. Clear, saline, minty (Manincor 24 June 2016).

Silvaner, Birkweiler Kastanienbusch | 1993 Silvaner Kabinet Trocken 12.5% lovely fruit with real depth, excellent aperitif, real weight, citrus finish, mouthwatering (Visit July 1994).

Spätburgunder, Birkweiler Kastanienbusch Grosses Gewächs

St Laurent, Birkweiler Rosenberg | 1992 St Laurent Kabinett Trocken 11.7% aged in old French oak barrels for one year (Limousin, Nevers, Allier) lightly perfumed, cherry and mint, and pepper, good colour, normal quality good soft tannins, very easy, slightly bitter finish (Visit 1994).

Weisser Burgunder, Birkweiler Kastanienbusch | 1993 Weisserburgunder Spätlese Trocken. 11.9% alc. Green gold, crisp with clear if light fruit, lemon and grapefruit (Visit July 1994).

Weisser Burgunder, Birkweiler Mandelberg | Karl-Heinz Wehrheim says that although his grandfather planted Grauburgunder, he finds Weisserburgunder works best here. Wehrheim is quoted by Payne (2006) as saying the wine has a nutty, spicy character not found elsewhere. | 1993 Weisserburgunder Kabinet Trocken 11.9% light green, pale soft fresh fruit, nice weight, clean, and savoury (Visit July 1994).

Weisser Burgunder, Birkweiler Rosenberg | 2017 Trocken 13.5%. Lovely balance (tasted August 2019).

Weisser Burgunder, Buntstück trocken2015 Soft bitter honey, creamy at Tenuta Manincor 24th June 2016.

Weisser Burgunder, Muschelkalk2010 Muschelkalk Weissburgunder S trocken. | 2015 Muschelkalk 55-60hl/ha. Steeel. Crisp pineapple, nice acid, citric, pear drop at Tenuta Manincor 24th June 2016.

Bibliography

Joel Payne, ‘Germany’s Mavericks’, World of Fine Wine 12 2006 p.66

Visit to the winery with Stefan Dorst, Thursday 28th July 1994.