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September '23

2020 Battenfeld-Spanier Hohen-Sülzen Riesling


September has kicked off with a bang, and what better way to welcome this streak of warmer weather than with something a little lighter and brighter than the last few selections.

One Wine is currently jumping between Australia and Europe more than an early twenty-something who missed a few years due to COVID; this month we have settled in Germany for a bottle of their synonymous variety: Riesling. We love Riesling (rizza; RZA) here at One Wine, and have been dying to slip this bottle in for about six months now.

This month’s wine is the 2020 Battenfeld-Spanier Hohen-Sülzen Riesling hailing from the Rheinhessen region of western Germany. Rheinhessen or Rhenish Hesse is the largest production area in Germany. Once known as Liebfraumilch land (infamous, lower quality, semi-sweet white which is export focussed); a quality revolution has taken place since the 1990s – both dry and sweet, but the best Riesling wines from the region are dry and powerful like this one.

Deutscher Riesling

Riesling is an aromatic, white wine grape that's native to Germany. It appeared in German books as early as 1552, but was clearly an important variety well before that. Riesling's specific origin is not 100% certain. But Rheingau was likely the “birthplace” and Gouais Blanc is certain to be one of its parents. The other parent is unknown.

Riesling is arguably the most viticulturally versatile of the world’s noble wine grapes. Its growing season begins relatively late. That means Riesling is less susceptible to frost in cold regions, but also less likely to over-ripen in warm ones (looking at you South Australia). It’s not very susceptible to mildew and rot, so it can work in rainy and humid regions too.

The most famous region for German Riesling production is the Mosel Valley where about a third of production occurs, with the best vineyards planted on its steep slopes with slate soils. The cool climate is mitigated by the Mosel river and the stony soils which store and radiate heat. While difficult to farm and harvest the grapes, the results are world renowned floral and green citrus wines with great acidity and steely minerality.

The Pfalz, Rheingau, and Rheinhessen regions are all based around the longer Rhine river. Pfalz producers make a slightly richer style of Riesling than those of Mosel; fuller-bodied, with tropical stone fruit flavours and aromas. Rheingau Riesling is a mix of steely minerality and mouth watering acidity, while Rheinhessen produces a soft, easy-to-drink, medium- bodied style of wine.

Liquid Earth – Taste the Rock!

In 1991 at the ripe old age of twenty, Hans Oliver Spanier founded his wine estate after completing his studies. Hans sees the grape vine as an interpreter of the relationship between light and earth, and when he realised there was very little he could do to influence light he set about restoring the health of his soils.

Hans believes wine should communicate a direct impression of the soil characteristics of where it is grown, or exhibit a sense of place (terroir, te-wah). Specifically, speaking about the Wonnegau sub region in which he cultivates his grapes (characterised by marbled chalk and chalk pebbles, all the way to solid limestone): “One should be able to experience and taste the rock.”

“Riesling is my vision. In the Wonnegau, no grape is able to translate light and soil into wine as precisely or succulently. I judge Riesling’s superficial fruitiness to be only a pretence. It is merely an intermediate phase, before the metamorphosis to a true stone wine begins. In reality, a natural Riesling wine is less fruit, and rather much more herbs, spices, saltiness, and flint. That’s why my primary slogan is LIQUID EARTH."


Hohen-Sülzen is situated in the so-called Eisbachtal. The Eisbach is an upland stream that flows from the Donnersberg hill, supplying the Hohen-Sülzen valley with cool, night air. Because of this, grapes ripen slowly in spite of higher temperatures, and it does not lose its vital acidity.

In this Riesling, the nose is dominated by ripe aromas of sweet peach and apricots. On the palate, the fruit aromas are combined with earthy notes: tobacco, herbs, & licorice. This perfect match of fruit and stony minerality is characteristic for the wines from Hohen-Sülzen: Cool soil and warm fruit.


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