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MARTO - Riesling - Württemberg, DE - 2021
MARTO - Riesling - Württemberg, DE - 2021
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Load image into Gallery viewer, MARTO - Riesling - Württemberg, DE - 2021

MARTO - Riesling - Württemberg, DE - 2021

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Picked ripe, pressed directly, unlike in the early years, and left 16 months in foudre without topping. You wonder why practically nobody in Germany makes Riesling this way. It just seems like common sense!

There is a new generation of young winemakers in Germany, challenging the wine worlds view on what German natural wine is, and at the forefront is Martin Wörner and his label Marto.

In just 3 years, this 27-year-old is the producer on everyone’s lips in Tokyo, New York, London and Paris. I met Martin in July 2017 at Vegetal H20 wine fair in El Pinell de Brai, Spain. It was his first ever salon, showing just the two wines from his first vintage of 2106, production was a mere 2500 bottles.

Between Germany, Japan and Australia these bottles were snapped up quickly and everyone else eagerly awaited his 2017 release to begin working with him. I was incredibly excited to have found such a talented young producer whose wines were so alive, and couldn’t wait to visit him at home in Flonheim just a few months later.

Martin comes from an agriculture background, his grandfather was a pioneer, a grape grower that was one of the first in their village of Flonheim to bottle wine under his own banner rather than selling the grapes to the co-op. Flonheim is located in the western part of the Rheinhessen, near the Nahe region. Martin’s father did not have much interest in the vineyards, making his livelihood instead farming strawberries. The family continued to maintain the vineyards, but until Martin took over in 2015, all the fruit was sold to the co-op.

The Rheinhessen is the largest wine region in Germany, of its 136 villages, 133 are connected to viticulture and 20% of its area is dedicated to vines. Summers are warm, winters mild and the annual rainfall is low to moderate, The weather conditions are deemed almost perfect. The soils are variable and distinct, changing every 100 meters or so, and range form limestone, sandstone, silt and clay through to volcanic rock. Flonheim is most famous for its sandstone quarry.

Martin works 5 hectares of vines currently, all in organic farming with some biodynamic principles applied. For his first harvest he only worked with 1 hectare, by 2017 it was 3 hectares. The focus has always been on soil health and getting that right first. He uses cover crops of radishes, beetroots and turnips throughout the vineyards, on the steeper slops it is incredibly important to assist with stopping soil erosion. Sheep are used to eat the grasses and no tilling occurs.

Despite his young age, Martin sought out experience from some of the best producers. In 2015 he worked at Gut Oggau with Eduard and Stephanie Tscheppe and in 2016 at Matassa with Tom Lubbe. His time with Tom was to be the most influential and he still seeks his guidance when needed. Because harvest in the south of France is considerably earlier than Germany, it provided Martin the opportunity to do 2 harvests in 2016 with the knowledge of what he had learnt very much at the front of his mind. Tom also gifted him two old demi-muds for his first harvest.

Èlevage is in old barrels, foudres and Mosel casks. All work is done by hand, all the wines are unfiltered, unfined and without any additions. Under German law, Martin is unable to put the village on label, so the rock is a nod to Flonheim and its characteristic sandstone.

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