The latest ginspriation from Germany comes from one of the most prestigious historic German wineries.
You know gin has become a serious business when one of the historically leading wine producing nations in the world is starting to make headlines for its strongly growing craft gin scene, with gins coming out of Germany that rival the best in the world.
My love for gin is certainly no big secret around here. And neither is my love for visiting wine regions.
Now consider my excitement when given the opportunity to combine both.
Last weekend, I’ve been off to one of the most exiting German wine regions, the Rheingau, and it was as much bliss as I could have imagined.
Located just 40 minutes outside of Frankfurt, the area never fails to wow with its breathtakingly beautiful scenery, great food and lots of wine tasting at some of the country’s oldest wineries.
And these days, you can add another exciting experience to that list: gin tasting!
Have I to say any more, or are you already packing your bags?
Background: Schloss Johannisberg
Most visitors new to the Rheingau will be keen to explore the area’s centuries-old monasteries and castles that form the cradle of German winemaking.
One of the oldest was built by Benedictine monks on top of Bischofsberg (Bishop’s Mountain) more than 900 years ago. The location was chosen not for the beautiful views over the Rhine River but because the place was seen as ideal to grow vines. Around 30 years after building the monastery, the monks also added a basilica in honour of John the Baptist. Which eventually led to the hill be known as Johannisberg (John’s Mountain) in response.
The castle sitting on top of the hill today was built only later, in 1715 after the historic buildings were destroyed in the years before.
Today, Schloss Johannisberg is dubbed to be the first wine estate in the world to make Riesling wine. Indeed, since 1720 its vineyards are exclusively planted to Riesling grapes, while grapes were already grown on Johannisberg since around 817.
This is also the place where late harvest wine was discovered – by mistake, as the currier who was delivering the permit to start harvest arrived late at the winery. Which gave the world the excellent wines made from grapes picked usually one to two months after their peak ripeness, which gives the wine higher residual sugar and higher alcohol content.
Fast forward and Riesling behemoth Schloss Johannisberg now is among those German wineries also embracing the growing German craft gin scene.
Tasting Notes: Schloss Gin
There is no doubt, a gin made at one of the most renowned and oldest German wineries could not miss a touch of history. Thus it’s made using a recipe developed by Benedictine priest Odo Staab, who in 1789 became cellar master of the Princely Abby of Fulda, responsible for winemaking at Schloss Johannisburg.
Quite fittingly called Schloss Gin (Castle Gin) this small batch London Dry Gin combines aromas of juniper with floral notes of lavender, lemongrass, and sun-ripened bitter orange peel that comes directly from the garden of Schloss Johannisberg.
Following it’s launch in 2018, the gin has quickly ripped several awards, including ‘best gin in Germany’ by one of the most renowned national gourmet magazines ‘Der Feinschmecker’ in 2019.
Ravenous gin aficionados might like this one pour or ice. Personally, I would always prefer a gin and tonic.