Rheingau producers

After trying an outstanding 1990 Furst Lowenstein Riesling Spatlese a few months ago, I want to add some Rheingau rielsing to my cellar. What producers would you recommend me seeking out? Also feel free to discuss some of the differences between producer styles, etc. Thanks!

Josef Leitz
August Kesseler
Robert Weil

I’ve enjoyed several from Leitz at different levels (generic, regional, single vineyard.) For Schloss Schonborn (umlaut over the first ‘o’) I am partial to the Erbacher Marcobrunn. Freiherr Langwerth von Simmern and Schloss Reinhartshausen also produce an Erbacher Marcobrunn but I haven’t tried them for comparison with the one from Schloss Schonborn. Rudesheim is one of the principal towns in the Rheingau and you can compare various vineyards such as Berg Roseneck and Berg Schlossberg. There is a translation from German comparing the vineyards although the translation is a bit tortured in spots: Weinshop | Weingut Dr. Nägler in Rüdesheim am Rhein
wineanorak.com (Jamie Goode) has some good info on different producers including Leitz if you search the term “Rheingau.” Ditto the winedoctor.com website (Chris Kissack.) Along with the suggestions you will receive on this forum, you should be ready to explore the region further.

I would definitely recommend the famous estates of Schloss Johannisberg and the perhaps equally famous Schloss Vollrads. These can have real class and elegance, and age extremely well.

Any version of Erbacher Marcobrunn is worth trying, but it has a different flavor profile from most other Rheingau sites, since it is at a low altitude, right alongside the river. It typically has an earthy richness to it, whereas the higher elevation sites tend to be more high-toned and more “elegant”.

Both Vollrads and Johannisberg went through mild slumps in the late '80s, and one of the tragedies of German winemaking was the suicide of the Vollrads owner in his vineyard. I forget the whole story now, but Wikipedia might have it.

Schloss Johannisberg dates back to 800 AD, when the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne noticed that the winter snow first melted on a hillside across the river from his winter palace, and directed that vines be planted there. A document about the vineyard, bearing the name of his son, dated in the the early 800s, lends credence to this story…

Off the top of my head (so I’m sure I’m leaving some out) and in no particular order

Joachim Flick, Franz Künstler, Domdechant Werner, Robert Weil, Schloss Johannisberg, J. Wegeler, P.J. Kühn, Josef Leitz, Georg Breuer, Jacob Jung, Freiherr Langwerth von Simmern, Kloster Eberbach/Domaine Assmannshausen (Staatsweingüter – some irregularity, i.e., choose best properties, as this is Germany’s largest estate), Prinz, Schloss Schönborn, Spreitzer, Johannishof, A. Kesseler, Toni Jost, Knyphausen.

Wide variety of terroirs and styles. The Rheingau definitely was in a down period in the 1980s and for much of the 1990s, butt there has been a comeback even though there is not a single media focus the way Dönnhoff is for Nahe and Keller for Rheinhessen. Also, the wines sometimes are slower out of the blocks than those of some other regions. As a result, they are somewhat misunderstood and underrated.

Haven’t been too impressed with any of the recent Vollrads wines I’ve had.
Really liked the 04 Schloss Johannisberg wines on the other hand (unfortunately don’t have experience with other recent vintages).

Weil makes brilliant wines as everybody’s mentioned, but the prices are getting ludicrous.

Leitz and Spreitzer are the guys to look to in the Rheingau - Leitz’s whole range from trocken through sweet is fantastic, and he’s been producing some truly amazing wines from the Rudesheimer Berg vineyards. With Spreitzer I’m mainly a fan of the sweet wines - his Kabinett and Spats are fantastic. The trockens are nicely balanced, but not particularly exciting.

Disclaimer ITb and sell quite a few of these Estates in Ma. Johannishof way ovredelivers for the price in the Rheingau. Kesseler and leitz are great on the Rüdesheimer Berg. Toni Jost is primarily a mittlerhein producer. His Rheingau vineyrd in Walluf is only OK.
It’s helpful to me to think of the Rheingau as three different areas (even though it’s only about 15 miles long.
The Rüdesheimer Berg at the western end. Very steep slatey vineyards.
The mid section to Wiesbaden has most of the great old Rheingau names (Schloss Johannisberg, Weil, Schloss Reinhartshausen,Johannishof, Kloster Eberbach, Prinz, etc). More gentle slopes and deeper loamier soils. Bigger, richer wines usually.
The third area is on the other side of Wiesbaden around Hochheim. Domdechant Werner makes very good, kind of old fashioned style wines that age very well.
It’s a lot of fun to explore the stylistic differences.

There’s quite a lot of good information already in the thread. Claude is correct in that Rheingau wines are not always the most forthcoming on release. They do reward cellar time.

Weil is clearly the “star” of the region, but as Salil mentioned, the pricing is rather extreme for wines (at least at the spatlese level for example) that do not have a qualitative edge over other top producers in the region. I like the Weil wines, but admit that I often wonder if the wines reflect the Kiedricher Grafenberg or just a Weil style. Since there is no comparison for Grafenberg it’s hard to know.

Leitz is my go-to producer due to both quality and value, and I also enjoy the wines from Spreitzer, Kesseler, Johannishof, Schloss Johannisberg and Kunstler. For many of the other producers that have been named in the thread I see too much inconsistency (admittedly I have not had Breuer wines in a while, so no opinoin on them) to recommend them. I have had some downright bad wines from von Simmern, Schloss Schonborn and Knyphausen, and not from the '80s/'90s. I don’t see the Rheingau renaissance, except in very isolated pockets. Some of the “great estates” are still trading off long faded reputations IMO.

Thanks for all the replies…lots of good info.

A problem over the years in the Rheingau is that the best terroir and the best producers have not always matched. I think of the top terroir as being Schloss Johannisberg, Erbacher Marcobrun, Raulenthauler Baiken, Steinberger and Schloss Vollrads in some order. I like Leitz a lot and have had some really nice wines from von Simmern, esp. from Erbacher Marcobrun. I used to love Johannishof and esp. Schloss Rheinhartshaussen but have not seen them in a long time.