Weingut Karl H Johner, Baden

29 06 2016

Having studied at Geisenheim, Karl Heinz and Irene started their wine careers in England at Pilton Manor. This must have stood them in good stead (the challenge of ripening grapes in such a cool climate must have been a steep learning curve!) as they really know how to make wine. They also have an estate in Wairarapa, New Zealand and we tasted some cracking Gladstone Pinot Noir.


017931ab88112a21aa30d9206f089118b829763323First of all we drove up to the top of Mondhalde mountain – in fact an old volcano – to look over the vines to the east and across to Alsace. Then we drove up Steinbock hill where they are trialling some Cabernet Sauvignon vines planted in 1990.


The Johners are not VDP members and this could be to do with their very entrepreneurial spirit. For example on one of their vineyards in New Zealand they filled the inter-rows with a channel of limestone to improve the acidity in the wine. ‘Learning by doing’ is Karl H’s philosophy – and it works. I came away thinking I must widen my perspectives…


Wines I particularly liked included:

2015 Grauer Burgunder

On lees for 7 months in old oak barrels gives this nice weight with a slightly Alsation style and a mineral, warm finish. Very ripe and good, especially given it had been bottled that day.

2013 Spatburgunder Kaiserstuhl

Burgundian style here with very good concentration from the smaller berries this vintage. Savoury and warming.

2011 SJ (Selection Johner) Spatburgunder

Really delicious with lovely concentration, great texture, still youthful. Great wine.

2011 SJ Spatburgunder Eichberg

Oldest Pinot vines on a very elegant soil. Creamy texture, again youthful – more than a 2011 Burgundy would be?

1996, 1992, 1989 Spatburgunder015d649db3d580fd34cf4d7e1f04f2a4206f95466b015aac7ff518bce285bd2395a7c9f26e6c9fdaee4e

Lots of black sediment on the 1996, very ripe. The 1992 had a deeper colour but was starting to taste a little watery. The 1989 was even darker with a spicy, Camp Coffee nose like you get on old Burgundy. Amazing really…

2011 Gewurztraminer, Steinbuck

Delicious, with mandarins on the palate. Low acidity but very good.



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