Ernst Loosen took over the historic J.L. Wolf estate so that he could make traditionally crafted Rhine wines to complement the light and elegant Dr. Loosen Rieslings he produces in the Mosel region. In the classic style of the Pfalz, these wines are more full-bodied than Mosel wines, with higher alcohol and pure flavors of ripe fruit and stone. The Pfalz region lies between the Haardt Mountains and the Rhine River, directly north of France’s Alsace region. As in Alsace, the mountains protect the area from harsh Atlantic weather, making it one of the warmer and drier areas of Germany. In this climate, achieving full ripeness is possible in nearly every vintage.
The quality concept: True Pfalz
To preserve the naturally high quality of the vineyards, Ernst emphasizes sustainable viticulture, gentle handling during harvest and traditional winemaking techniques in the cellar. This enables him to produce pure, mineral-inflected wines that express the authentic terroir of the Pfalz.
Ernst uses an unofficial, Burgundy-style classification of the vineyards at Villa Wolf, based largely on a vineyard property tax assessment done by the Bavarian government in 1828. Historical accounts of quality and price confirm the first-growth (grand cru) status of the Pechstein vineyard in the village of Forst, and the second-growth (premier cru) Belz vineyard in Wachenheim. In addition, village-quality (villages) vineyards are harvested to produce Wachenheimer Riesling Kabinett.
Only one is made from each estate vineyard. The village-quality Wachenheimer is made in the lightly fruity Kabinett style, while the second-growth Wachenheimer Belz and the first-growth Forster Pechstein are produced in the full-bodied dry style that is traditional for this region.
Value-Priced Varietal Wines
The Villa Wolf line-up of non-vineyard-designated varietal wines show the true character of each variety as it is grown in the warm and sunny Pfalz region. Villa Wolf wines are made from Villa Wolf estate fruit supplemented with grapes from contracted growers. Varieties include Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Dornfelder and Pinot Noir (red and rosé). These are excellent glass-pour wines, as well as great values on the retail shelf.
VILLA WOLF ESTATE-GROWN RIESLINGS
This wine comes from good vineyards in the village of Wachenheim. Here, the weathered sandstone soils produce pure, fruit-driven wines with a distinctive stony character.
The wines from Wachenheimer Belz have a Loire-like structure and flinty flavor profile from the unusual chalk soil that is only found in this vineyard, a monopole of J.L. Wolf. The wine typically has a rounder, fuller profile than the Wachenheimer Kabinett.
The grand cru Pechstein vineyard, in the neighboring village of Forst, has the most assertive minerality of all the Villa Wolf vineyards. The name translates as "black stone" and refers to the abundance of black basalt in the soil, which gives the wines a firm mineral edge.
VILLA WOLF VARIETAL VALUES
With the 2011 vintage, we are introducing a clean and classy new label design for the Villa Wolf line of wines.
The Pinot Gris variety was first identified in the Pfalz region. Villa Wolf Pinot Gris is made in a full-bodied, dry style with fresh, unoaked fruit and a crisp texture. Half of each vintage is made in large, neutral oak casks for depth and complexity. The other half is done in stainless steel to preserve freshness and enhance the vibrant fruit. An excellent partner for salmon, chicken or pork.
The Villa Wolf Gewürztraminer is clean, fruity and wonderfully light on its feet. It shows off the aromatic charm of the variety without being heavy or ponderous. It has a deliciously juicy texture and a delightfully delicate aroma of spice and fresh roses. It’s very refreshing to drink on its own and makes a perfect accompaniment to spicy Asian cuisine.
Villa Wolf Pinot Noir is warm and medium-bodied, with a firm acid structure. Its dark cherry fruit is juicy, ripe, and forward, with a spicy mid-palate. Six months of barrique aging gives the wine a smoky depth and a nice touch of earthy tannins. This is a very grown-up Pinot Noir for the price, and it’s another excellent wine for everyday dining.
The Pfalz is a very warm and sunny region, often called “the Tuscany of Germany,” so all of the Pinot varieties do well here. The Villa Wolf Pinot Noir Rosé is a true rosé, made with a brief maceration before pressing to extract color. It is light and refreshing, with deliciously bright berry and fruit flavors and a clean, zippy finish. It’s perfect for holiday meals, especially when ham is involved.
This medium-bodied dry Riesling has lovely flavors of peach and stone, with a hint of apricot. Nicely balanced acidity gives it a juicy grip. It is an excellent match for classic continental-style cooking, especially with dishes that feature freshwater fish, chicken and pork.
Dornfelder is the most successful German red grape. It is a crossing developed in 1955 at the Weinsberg Wine School, and was named after the founder of the Wine School, Imanuel Dornfeld. About 20,262 acres (8,200 hectares) of Dornfelder are planted throughout Germany, accounting for 8% of the total vineyard area. The majority of this grape is produced in the Rheinhessen and Pfalz regions, each with over 7,400 acres (3,000 hectares) planted. Villa Wolf Dornfelder is a fruity, medium-bodied red wine with flavors of plums and cherries balanced by velvety tannins. It has an intense color and pairs well with a wide variety of foods.
Sales materials for some wines are still in production. If you need something that you can’t find here, please e-mail us and we will get it to you as quickly as possible.