Our clients January 2014

She asked him to tell us and our readers a bit about his business.


Armin Maurer: K&M Gutsweine was founded in 2004 by Bernd Klingenbrunn, a trained chef, and Armin Busch, who has worked in the wine business since 1996. Our focus has always been on working directly with producers, the vintners. We like to go "on site" firsthand to see where a wine originates, how its made, and who makes it. For this reason, Germany has been a focal point in our portfolio right from the beginning, particularly for white wines. We're always looking for something special...wines that have a story behind them and show character and origin. Perhaps also wines that not everyone has already discovered.


We're pleased that in the eight years of the company's existence, we've been able to discover so many vintners and wines that weren't all that well known before. In the meantime, with a bit of help from us, they have reached a wider audience. This is a key function of a wine merchant...to keep an eye on the market to discover the most exciting and enjoyable wines and make them available to our customers.



What does this mean in terms of your daily work?


Armin Maurer: With two shops in Frankfurt and our online shop - which increasingly plays a larger role in our business - we're quite involved in sales. Yet, we also provide support to our restaurant customers by helping them with their wine lists. Particulary as a trained chef, Bern Klingenbrunn can always provide good tips on food and wine combinations and recommend which of our wines would go well with which dishes.


We also conduct culinary wine tastings. Bernd Klingenbrunn prepares a seasonal, five-course meal based on a wine theme, such as a grape variety, a region or the wines of a particular producer, who usually also attends. The wines for these culinary wine tastings are specially selected to complement each course. In addition, we provide interesting information about the producers, the wines, and guidelines on pairing food and wine. These tastings are often booked out months in advance. We're quite pleased that we're able to offer our customers an enjoyable event in a relatively seldom format.


We also constantly invite our wine producers to wine tastings in our two shops, whether it's a culinary wine tasting or simply a tasting of current vintages. We're particularly pleased to annually open the doors to our two large house fairs. In spring, the focus is on German producers and their white winies, whereby our autumn fair features our European producers and their red wines. Both events offer our customers an opportunity to sample nearly our entire portfolio. It's a meeting point for wine enthusiasts in a casual setting. We stage the events with a friend in the catering business, and thus, our "fairs" are more like festive kitchen parties. And this is just the tone we're looking for...relaxed, easy going. Wine is not something elitist. It's meant to be an everyday pleasure. We're equally pleased that we can foster contact among our producers and our customers. It's the only way for them to meet those who actually make the wines and learn how they're produced. We feel it considerably enhances the pleasure of wine.



What do you particularly enjoy about working with wine?


Armin Maurer: Communication with people. Regardless of whether it's a customer interested in wine or a producer, these are almost always fascinating and enriching encounters. Weingut Balthasar Ress also offers a host of fascinating "movers and shakers": Christian Ress, Dirk Würtz, and of course, you, Christine... ;-)


We also use our frequent trips to our European neighbors to become acquainted with current, wine-related trends...keep up to date...and to find exciting, authentic wines for our customers. A pleasant side effect of these trips is that they enable us to personally experience and enjoy beautiful landscapes, outstanding restaurants, and good wines. In most cases, we've worked with our producers for quite some time...and with time, true friendships have developed.



How did your contact with Balthasar Ress come about and what do you like about us and our wines?


Armin Maurer: I had a chance to become a bit more acquainted with the wine estate at the Mainzer Weinbörse in 2012. Once again, I was on my Rheingau tour. Despite the proximity to Frankfurt, we weren't 100 percent satisfied with our Rheingau selection. I found "von Unserm" appealing and the Rüdesheimer was really a positive surprise. After countless "nice" wines, this had authentic character. A slaty, mineral note; typicity; and the dry wines were truly dry. When Dirk let me sample the Rottland, it was clear that the 2011 collection was exceptionally good and Weingut Ress was my "discovery" at the 2012 Weinbörse.


Bernd has known Dirk Würtz for more than a decade and we have to admit that his employment at the estate was also a reason to take a closer look at the Balthasar Ress wines. We were familiar with many wines that he had produced prior to joining Balthasar Ress and our expectations were more than fulfilled with the Ress collection of 2011. Ongoing work with the estate continued to confirm that we were on the right track here. We have seldom experienced such a tremendous mix of enthusiasm and professionalism - from the proprietor right down to the delivery personnel. There's a feeling that regardless of with whom you speak, everyone is keyed up about their work and you can always depend on professional support, be it a short-term delivery or a timely reminder that stock is low and it might be best to reorder. In short: it's fun to work with the people at Balthasar Ress.


This passion and professionalism is, of course, also reflected in the wines. Seldom elsewhere in the Rheingau do we see wines that bring forth their origin and character or clearly see the differences between the Hattenheim sites and the Rüdesheimer wines. The wines from classified sites show terroir and character. And the qualitative hierarchy is easy to comprehend. Even the liter-bottle Rieslings - particularly important in the restaurant trade - show individuality.



What have you always wanted to tell us as a wine estate?


Armin Maurer: In 2013 we had two special wine experiences with Balthasar Ress. First, with Bernd. He sampled a 2001 Engelmannsberg that had reached an optimal stage of maturation. It showed the tremendous aging potential of Rheingau Rieslings and made it clear that too often we drink white wines "before their time"...thereby missing an oppportunity to enjoy an exceptional wine experience.


I was able to participate in the Riesling Gala at the Balthasar Ress table and could experience how the estate's wines - including some wonderfully mature Rieslings - beautifully harmonized with and enhanced the first-class cuisine of starred chefs. My wife and I have seldom enjoyed such an afternoon and evening. Without a doubt, this day was unforgetable and one of my wine highlights last year.


We also want to mention a very special wine from Weingut Balthasar Ress. The 2011 Ress3...a wine that we were able to secure exclusively for us. Ress3 was sourced from the estate's holdings in the Rüdesheimer VDP.GROSSE LAGEN Berg Rottland, Berg Roseneck, and Schlossberg. It underwent spontaneous fermentation in stainless steel tanks, was left long on the lees, and first marketed in 2013. What a monolith of a Riesling. Powerful, extremely concentrated, and rich in complex aromas on the palate. Spicy notes, reminiscent of herbs and very ripe yellow stone fruit - abundant and provocative at once. Thanks to enormous, extremely complex mineral notes, one can taste the slate of the Rüdesheimer Berg (collective designation of the town's top, steep sites). Despite its power, it is not plump or heavy. Its fine, ripe, crisp acidity lends it a kick of freshness...almost a dancing character...transparency and drinkability. Elegance meets power. For us, Ress3 epitomizes the drinking pleasure of a great wine: complexity and depth but also drinking pleasure. It will be interesting to follow the development of this special wine. We're certain that is has many more years of aging potential.


Alas! There is only a limited number of bottles of this special wine available...ca. 300. As such, it's best to act now. The bottle price is €34,90 (= €46,53 per liter). We are offering Balthasar Ress customers 120 bottles at a special price of €29,80/bottle for orders of at least six bottles, free postage within Germany (excluding islands). This offer is valid until Sunday, 26 January. Orders per e-mail via info@gutsweine.com - "Angebot Balthasar Ress".



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