A weekend in Iphofen
A small travel log of a weekend trip to Franconia. Wines and more from Iphofen.
It’s quite a stroke of luck that (almost) all wine regions in Germany can be reached quickly by car from the south. So they are perfectly suited for a weekend holiday. This time we are headed to Franconia, more precisely to Iphofen. It wasn’t necessarily planned as a tasting tour and so the notes are once again rather short and are more intended to give a quick insight and first impression than to fully evaluate any wine.
We stayed overnight in the guest room of the Weigand Winery, where you can have a good breakfast, enjoy the beautiful rooms and sit in the courtyard or inside in the evening to enjoy the estate’s own wines. We used this opportunity extensively, but as it happens with sociable wine drinking in the evening, the notes fell a little short. But Der Echter Berg stuck with me. A Silvaner from the Iphöfer Julius-Echter-Berg site, which shows its time in wooden barrels with a lot of structure and an unbelievable creaminess. With little fruit and many other aromas it was a lot of fun.
Fortunately, there was still enough time on the first evening to get an impression of the wines at Weingut Wirsching despite being stuck in a traffic jam. We started with the Iphöfer Silvaner Ortswein from 2018: lots of yellow fruit, a little alcoholic in the nose, herbs, some pear, but unfortunately too ripe for my taste. For only a little more money I liked the Iphöfer Kalb Silvaner 2018 classified as Erste Lage better. More elegant, some grapfruit to the pear and not so ripe and opulent. The Julius-Echter-Berg 2018 Erste Lage Silvaner was even more clean, had more acidity in the mouth, longer, a little less fruit and denser on the back of the tongue. More into the herbaceous corner of aroma and fitted with more minerality went the Iphöfer Kronsberg Alte Reben from 2018. Also from the Iphöfer Kronsberg we tried a Grosses Gewächs from 2015, which already had a nice maturity with more structure, quince and a touch of pickeled small onions in the nose.
Of the Rieslings, the Ortswein Iphöfer Riesling from 2018 was, as was the Silvaner, currently on the too fruity, too broad side. The tension is missing. The Riesling from the Julius-Echter-Berg Erste Lage brought more spice, more minerality and also more length to the table. In the nose of the Iphöfer Kronsberg Alte Reben, but vintage 2017, the flint was joined by petrol, some gum and spice. On the palate it is much longer. All in all a nice collection, only the two Ortswein wines were a bit too fat, too fruity broad for me. Certainly due to the warm vintage.
If you are in Iphofen it is worth to explore the old town by day and by night on foot. First of all, the town is not really big, which makes it easy to walk around and cover pretty much all streets of the town center in one evening. And secondly, it benefits immensely from Knauf as a large trade taxpayer, which shows impressively in the really beautifully decorated houses and the mixture of half-timbered and modern.
The next, late, morning we went to the Ruck winery. There are only a few wines of the current vintage on the list. We started the tasting with a Silvaner Gutswein from 2018, which was not fat, but had clear fruity notes but was somehow not really round yet. It was nice that they offer a special bottling of an estate wine in the edition Elefant from 2017 to be tasted. One year more really benefits the wine, brings out more creaminess, more spice and also due to the vintage a little less alcohol. A rounder wine. Then the three entries into the assortment of wines from the single-vineyards around Iphofen. All from 2017. Iphöfer Kalb the creamiest of the three wines, very soft, pear, yellow. The Iphöfer Kronsberg Alte Reben with more spice, pome fruit, minerality. And the Julius-Echter-Berg, which is a bit more pointy in acidity but altogether denser in the glass, still needs time. The Grosses Gewächs from the same vineyard but vintage 2016 had a little bit of a hard time against the three previous wines. Overall, it was more elegant, fragile, with more delicate fruit, but not quite there. Quite the opposite was the 2009 Myophorium, which is harvested from special plots and allowed to mature in wood for a long time. Very long, ultra creamy, cherry stones, spice, hardly any fruit, almost Parmesan in the nose. Great.
To get a better overview of the city, we went on a guided walk offered by the Bausewein winery to the top of a museum vineyard above Iphofen. Here, in three small plots, separated by dry stone walls, are vines in historically correct cultivation from single pole with a mixed set of Heunisch, Elbling and Räuschling, to three-pile cultivation with a mixed set of considerably more grape varieties and an early wire planting with Silvaner. The vineyards are looked after by eight local winegrowers on a voluntary basis and are pressed together to produce a single bottling. If you are in the area and you are just about to go for a hike anyway, it is essential to join in on the guided hike. It is worth it! On the title photo, taken during this hike, you can clearly see the proportions of the village centre and the Knauf factory building diagonally behind it. In the winery there was an open tasting of the wines afterwards. I didn’t take any notes. No shade and full sun in the vineyard took their toll. But the winery offers delicious organic wines at fair prices.
If you would like to get an even broader insight into the local winegrowers, the Vinothek Iphofen is a good place to visit in the evening. There is great food and three wines from each of the 20 self-marketing winegrowers from Iphofen in the open bar at reasonable prices. A perfect place to sit in the evening.