By Casper van Tartwijk
For several months now, Chabrol has been the proud importer of Weingut Drautz-Able from the city of Heilbron in Württemberg. Württemberg is a relatively unknown wine region from the south of Germany, located largely around and north of Stuttgart and partly close to Switzerland on Lake Constance. In terms of reputation, it may be somewhat in the shadow of more famous areas such as the Mosel, Rheinhessen, the Ahr and Baden, but the question is whether that is justified. A large part of the wine does not leave the area because it is drunk by the local population. And (here) unknown makes (here) unloved….
Where areas such as the Mosel and Rheinhessen owe their fame to the riesling, the Ahr to the spätburgunder and frühburgunder and Baden to several ‘burgunder’ grapes, Württemberg is the odd one out in terms of grape varieties. Here you will find trollinger as the most important grape, in addition to riesling, schwarzriesling and lemberger, the latter two are mainly known elsewhere as pinot meunier and blaufränkisch. Almost three-quarters of the plantation consists of black grapes, which should come as no surprise given the temperate maritime climate.
Drautz-Able is an ancient winery: it has existed for more than 500 years. It was founded by Jodokus Drautz in 1496. The founder is honored: the name Jodokus has been given to several wines, including a fabulous trockenbeerenauslese (TBA) of 100% kerner; in our shops since this week. This producer makes a lot of different wines, from dry to very sweet, red, white, rosé and sparkling. And from sauvignon blanc and merlot, to cabernet sauvignon and grauburgunder. As if the winemaker can’t make up his mind…. When, after the first contacts had been made, we received a first sample box with no fewer than 18 different wines, there was a fear that a producer who makes so many different wines could never do it all right. During the tasting, Justin made the striking remark: ‘This is pleasant to taste, nothing goes through the lower limit.’ In fact, almost everything could be put on the shelf, were it not for the fact that we also must make choices. We initially limited our choice to 7 wines (the sparkling wine is number 8, the TBA is number 9). Drautz-Able naturally owes its reputation to the quality of its wines, but it is also known for at least three other things: First of all, membership of HADES, an organization of five winemakers who are not afraid of using new French oak barrels, to mature some wines. When it comes to wines from Drautz, don’t think of Bernardus-like creamy and fatty wines. No, the fruit still dominates over the holzfass. The HADES wines are made as they used to be: for the long(er) term.
Secondly, this winemaker is one of the few who makes lemberger at GG (Grosses Gewächs) level. This grape variety, as said before, better known as blaufränkisch or kékfrankos, is seen by many as one with little potential. According to them, it must be for a reason that table wines are usually produced from it. However: a good winemaker in good conditions can make something fantastic out of it. Markus Drautz falls into that category. This wine has it all!
Third and finally: this winemaker, or in this case his father, was one of the first to start with sauvignon blanc about 35 years ago. No, not a typical grape variety for this region let alone for Germany. But the Sauvignon Blanc ‘R’ is a wine with which Drautz might be able to enthrone Daguenau’s Pouilly-Fumé… This wine from 2019 is part of the HADES line and is still very young. Put the wine away for another 10 years or carafe the wine and then we would like to hear whether the ‘R’ is indeed such a great wine as we think.As mentioned, Markus makes a lot of different wines, out of pure passion and enthusiasm. Since his mother Monika is a fantastic cook, Markus says he always has his own wine to serve with the dish.