Lease your own vine with Balthasar Ress

Lease your own vine in the vineyards of Balthasar Ress located in the Rheingau or in Keitum / Sylt!

Lease a vine right here.


Some 90% of the Balthasar Ress estate's vineyards are planted with Riesling, the grape variety that made the Rheingau popular and that has been an integral part of the region's viticultural history for many centuries. Nearly 80% - an area equivalent to 2,600 ha (5,900 acres) - of the Rheingau's total vineyard area is planted with Riesling. It is THE varietal most often associated with German wine culture. The first documented mention of Riesling dates from the 15th century, but there are several reasons to believe that it is related to wild vines: its growth, the size of its berries, its long ripening period and its frost resistance. Growers in the Rheingau and on the Mosel probably have the oldest Riesling tradition; in both regions Riesling is mentioned in historical documents from 1435 and 1465, respectively.

Although the precise origins of the name remain a mystery, it may have derived from "verrieseln" (coulure, or blossom drop) or "reissende Säure" (pronounced acidity) or "edles Reis" (noble vine or cutting) or "Rusling" (dark wood).

Riesling ripens slowly and has a distinctive, fruity acidity. As such, it is predestined for northerly growing regions, where is can fully ripen in the late autumn sun. It is a very picky grape in terms of site, but makes few demands on the soil. It brings forth wines of varying nuances, depending on location (type of soil and microclimate). Heat-retaining, stony soils on steep slopes along river valleys provide optimal conditions.

"Grapefruit, peach, pineapple, citrus, apricot, honey, caramel, bitter chocolate - when they get a whiff of the aromas in a glass of Riesling, connoisseurs are enraptured. The tremendous range of scents this traditional varietal evokes gives free rein to the imagination. On the palate one perceives juicy fruit that is often an extension of the aromas. The acidity can be racy, polished, sinewy, and sometimes even grassy and astringent, only mellowing with age. Often, a sip of Rheingau Riesling is like biting into a juicy apple. Its fruit lingers long on the palate. Regardless of quality level, if it's a well-made Riesling, it always offers a pleasurable experience." Rudolf Knoll, "Grosser Wein vom Rhein: 100 Jahre VDP Rheingau" (1997) Reprinted with kind permission of Fachverlag Fraund.

Young, light Riesling wines - depending on taste, ranging in style from dry to somewhat sweet, with a natural ripe fruitiness - are ideal summer wines. Mature Rieslings are often better partners with meals. When paired with food, even older Riesling Spätlese wines still show a touch of youth. Dry to off-dry Rieslings are especially well-suited to light dishes, steamed salt- and freshwater fish, cooked meat with light sauces, and small poultry. Off-dry to sweet Spätlese wines harmonize well with cream cheese. Spätlese with a naturally ripe, fruity sweetness or lusciously sweet Auslese are excellent with fruity desserts. Mature dessert wines (Auslese or Beerenauslese) are a perfect apéritif at the start of a festive menu.

Pinot Noir / Spätburgunder

Pinot Noir / Spätburgunder
The second most important grape variety in the Rheingau - with a tradition approaching that of Riesling - and at the Balthasar Ress estate, is Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir). It accounts for about 12% of the Rheingau's total vineyard area. Spätburgunder, or Pinot Noir, is a member of the Pinot family, the great wine grapes of Burgundy. The Pinots were probably among the earliest varieties to have been selected from wild grapes in west central Europe. Spätburgunder, a noble and very old varietal, requires considerable care and makes high demands on climate and soil. The wines taste full-bodied and velvety, and have a fruity aroma with almond nuances. A typical Spätburgunder has a slightly sweet scent reminiscent of red fruits, from strawberry to cherry to blackberry or black currant. Wines aged in barrique casks also have a hint of vanilla and cinnamon. Particularly powerful wines are best with roasts or game or a cheese platter. The rosé version known as Spätburgunder Weissherbst is tasty with appetizers and white meat; riper wines (Auslese) are a pleasant apéritif.

Spätburgunder grapes can fully ripen in the Balthasar Ress vineyards on the steep slopes of Assmannshausen. Only the healthiest grapes are used to produce red wines. After traditional fermentation on the skins, the wines are transferred to stainless steel tanks or oak casks - depending on the category of the wine - for aging. Usually, the finest Spätburgunders are from the Höllenberg site. Depending on vintage conditions, these are usually aged in barriques.

Pinot Blanc / Weissburgunder

Pinot Blanc / Weissburgunder
Blauer Burgunder (Pinot Noir) is considered to be the prototype of the Pinot family. Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris) is a white mutation of Spätburgunder, and Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc), a mutation of Grauburgunder.

Weissburgunder is pale to light yellow in color, with a delicate, restrained aroma. A slightly nutty aroma is typical. The wines range from medium-bodied to powerful and have a fine, racy acidity. Drier styles go well with many types of food.
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