(Marty) #1


similarly impressed at Weingut Franz
Keller, a 25-minute drive south,
when I tasted its 2016 Franz Anton
Spätburgunder (one of the rare
German Pinots that’s actually
available in the U.S.).
The Keller family also runs the
Michelin-starred Schwarzer Adler
restaurant down the road from
their very modern winery. It
has one of the best wine lists in
all of Germany. But for lunch, try
the Kellers’ Winzerhaus Rebstock
restaurant, in a 200-year-old
wooden building across the street.
The focus is hearty, traditional
dishes like braised roast beef with
house-made noodles and whole
roasted Mistkratzerli (a small
chicken whose name, because of
that German way with words,
translates as “little dung-scratcher,”
but try to forget that).
My final stop was Wasenhaus,
a boutique operation run by two
millennial German guys, Alex Götze
and Christoph Wolber, out of a 1950s
winery on a backstreet in Staufen.
With its cobblestoned streets and
traditional buildings with brightly
colored shutters, the village is a
pleasure to amble around in, and
even more so if you stop in
at Restaurant Käsestube. Run by
Wolber’s girlfriend, Krizia Jost, this
cheese-focused wine bar is hidden
in a historic courtyard. Sit at one
of the small tables outside, order a
crackling-crisp Flammkuchen (called
tarte flambée in neighboring Alsace)
with Swiss mountain cheese and

speck and a glass or two of wine.
There is no better way to spend
a quiet fall evening.
Both Götze and Wolber worked
in Burgundy, and their gorgeous
German wines hew to the current
low-intervention trends of natural
yeasts, no use of sulfur, and organic
viticulture. Wolber drove me out to
one of his vineyards, talking geology
and climate as we went: “We have
higher mountains that bring cooler
air down; that’s why the apples from
the mountains are more expensive—
this atmosphere creates the best.
And we have a bigger diversity of
soil than Burgundy does, including
limestone, granite, and volcanic.”
When we arrived at our
destination, my only question was,
“How the hell do you farm it?”
The slope was probably 60 degrees,
a straight plummet off the road
to trees and a stream below; it made
Huber’s vineyard seem tame by
comparison. Wolber laughed.
“Right? The guy who owns it, his son
nearly pitched over the edge one
time in his car—he was hanging
right there by two wheels. So the
guy told me, ‘You want it, it’s yours.
I’m never farming that damn
place ever again.’ ” Wolber and the
owner struck a deal, and now
Wolber and Götze pay $55 a year
and a glass of schnapps for the
right to farm the land.
Wolber shrugged, looking down
over his potentially lethal vines.
“Sure, it’s crazy here,” he said. “But
it makes great wine.”

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