Excellence in German Winemaking: Weingut Thörle

Photo courtesy: Vicampo.de

Centuries of Winemaking Tradition:

The centuries old Thörle vineyards are interspersed with dense forests and rivers in the rolling hills of Germany's Rhineland. In this beautiful setting, brothers Christoph and Johannes Thörle are forging a winemaking legacy.  The story of Weingut Thörle began in 1517 in this historic German winemaking heartland. The Thörle estate is located in the small community of Saulheim. For, centuries, the family had a small winery operation and crafted small batch Rieslings.

A New Beginning:

In 2006, brothers Christoph and Johannes Thörle took over the reins of their family’s winery from their parents when they were both in their early 20s. Johannes studied viticulture at Heilbronn University in Sontheim, while Christoph studied business informatics at the Technische Universität Darmstadt. The brothers grew up learning winemaking from their parents, who still help them with marketing and winemaking. 

They immediately began expanding their winemaking operation as they hoped to transform their small family estate into one of Germany’s leading wineries. To ensure the success of the expansion project, they built a new state-of-the-art winery that is easily accessible from the L429 highway that runs past it. The building phase started in 2016 and ended in 2019. They constructed a modern tasting room and cellar with large windows, elegant wooden frames, and sleek concrete walls. 

Photo courtesy: Weingut Thörle

The brothers also decided to expand the number of hectares under vine, increasing the plantings of Riesling, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, and Silvaner. The team started reducing yields and hand-harvesting the grapes. Currently, there are 28 hectares of vines.  The winery makes red, white, rosé, and sparkling wines.

Thörle’s Terroir

The estate lies in the center of Rheinhessen, Germany’s largest and most diverse wine region. Here, the Rhine River flows around the city of Mainz and then flows southwards. The vineyards of Weingut Thörle cover the gentle hillsides north of Saulheim and are between 120 and 240 meters in elevation. 

photo credit: Weingut Thörle

The soil is predominantly limestone with excellent drainage. The hills to the west of the vineyard form a slight rain shadow, which makes the region slightly drier. The Rhine River moderates the climate, postponing severe frosts until after harvest. 

The winery has five vineyards: Saulheimer Hölle, Lenchen, Saulheimer Probstey, Teufelspfad, and Saulheimer Schlossberg. Each vineyard has its unique soil composition, with limestone gravel and calcareous clay being the most prominent. 

Thörle Wines

Since 2019, all grapes are organically grown and 2022 was the winery’s first official organic vintage. No herbicides or insecticides are used in the vineyards, the soil is fertilized with manure and compost. After harvest, the grapes are fermented using the wild yeasts that naturally propagate on the grapes as they mature in the vineyard. The Pinot Noirs and select white wines undergo maturation on the lees and are aged in a combination of new and old French barriques before bottling. 

The estate specializes in the production of classic wines using traditional  Rheinhessen varieties, such as Riesling and Spätburgunder - Pinot Noir. They also make wines with white Burgundian grapes - Weissburgunder and also grow Silvaner. 

With its limestone-rich soil and Christoph and Johannes Thörle’s expert winemaking prowess, the wines have intense minerality, and bright acidity, and are age-worthy. The wines have gained several awards, including 2024’s Falstaff - Pinot Noir Trophy, TOP 100 wines of Germany 2023 by James Suckling, 1st place at the Riesling Feinherb Trophy, and many more. 

Weingut Thörle produces different ranges of wines. 

Photo credit: Weingut Thörle

Gutsweine is the entry-level wine followed by Ortsweines, made from grapes from sites closest to the estate. The flagship wines, Grand Cru Lagenweine are sourced from all the vineyards to create the perfect expression of the region’s different terroirs. These wines are made from low-yield grapes sourced from the most limestone-rich sites. 

Their expressive, mineral-driven, and high-quality organic wines have taken the world of German wine by storm. From their affordable Gutswein label to their select local and Grand cru wines, the brothers continue to turn heads and bring serious attention to the wines of the Rhineland. 

Thörle Riesling

This Riesling is a dry wine with bracing acidity, complex minerality, and 12.5% ABV. The grapes are sourced from the vineyards near Saulheim (Germany). The wine was fermented in 90% stainless steel tanks and 10% German oak barrels. On the nose, there is a mixture of wet stones, peaches, and lemon zest. The grapes are lightly crushed and fermented using natural yeasts. This wine pairs beautifully with sushi, roasted chicken with garlic, and pasta with cream sauce.

Thörle Weissburgunder

This beautiful Pinot Blanc is made from organic grapes that are sourced from the vineyards near Saulheim (Germany). The soils consist of loose clay and limestone sediments giving this wine a noticeable minerality on the palate. After harvest, the grapes are crushed and left to ferment on their skins and lees for eight hours before being transferred to stainless steel tanks. On the nose are aromas of yellow fruits, apples, and citrus. On the palate is a mild creaminess and slight spice nuances from the natural yeasts and brief maturation on the skins. This beautiful Pinot Blanc pairs perfectly with wiener schnitzel, light casseroles, and quiche. 

Thörle Spätburgunder

The Thörle Spätburgunder is a wonderful Pinot Noir with fresh acidity, medium body, and developed tannins. The Pinot Noir grapes are harvested by hand from the younger vineyards around Saulheim (Germany). After harvest, the team ferments the wine with native yeasts and ages the wine in traditional French barrique barrels for 22 months before being bottled unfiltered. There are intense aromas of dark fruit, mint, and wild herbs. On the palate, there is a rich minerality and balanced tannins. This refreshing and age-worthy Pinot Noir will pair nicely with beef bourguignon, roast lamb, and wild mushroom risotto.

Thörle Rosé

This delicious rosé is made from a blend of 70% Spätburgunder, 20% Frühburgunder, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon from the vineyards in Saulheim (Germany). The grapes were hand-harvested and left to sit in their juices for six to eight hours until the perfect rich pink hue was extracted using the Saignée process. The wine is then fermented in stainless steel tanks to preserve its natural freshness. It has intense aromas of cassis, strawberries, and cherries, with a fresh acidity and calm minerality. This wine will pair well with cured meats, roasted salmon, and Spanish seafood paella. 

Thörle Grauburgunder

The Thörle Grauburgunder, or Pinot Gris, is made from grapes harvested from the limestone-rich soils near Saulheim (Germany). After harvest, the grapes are pressed and 80% of the must is fermented in stainless steel tanks while 20% is fermented in French oak barrels for six weeks using natural yeast. On the nose are aromas of yellow and exotic fruits and soft spice with a fresh minerality and good acidity on the palate, followed by a long finish. This delicious Pinot Gris pairs beautifully with chicken tagine, Thai curry, and a fresh lobster salad.

Thörle Riesling Feinherb

This 100% Riesling is made from grapes that grow in the vineyards around Saulheim (Germany). Aromas of apples fine caraway, dark caramel, and some malt leads to a palate of ripe juicy fruit, a mix of fresh sweetness, fine creaminess, and citrus on the finish. Pairs well with spicy foods such as Pad Thai, smoked pork knuckle and sauerkraut, or a mild green curry.

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