Saturday, 15/07/2023 (II): Immich Anker

The second winery we were going to visit on this day was just a 5 minute drive away, in Enkirch.

Daniel met us outside the winery building, and told us how the omnipresent Mosel slate stone was so important for them in many ways: as the soil in which the vines grow, and as the literal fabric of the building, as it was also made of slate! He also told us how the building was used as an strategic observation tower during war times, as it is tall and has an even taller tower!

I did not take any picture of the tower while we were there, but I not so sneakily took this picture from their website so you can see the tower (or part of it):

Immich Anker building
Immich Anker building

Yes, I’m a little bit terrible, but this helps when people change their websites and links don’t make sense anymore.

Shortly after we also met his father—the 16th generation winemaker. And then we went downstairs to the cellar, led by the 17th generation winemaker!

Weingut Immich-Anker - entrance to the cellar
Weingut Immich-Anker – entrance to the cellar

Same as in Melsheimer, they of course also have their own private cellar, featuring some special bottles for special times.

Private cellar at Immich Anker
Private cellar at Immich Anker

One thing that stood out to us was how “dusty” the bottles were. When we mentioned this, Daniel said it wasn’t actually dust—but sediment and random debris from when the Mosel floods.

“The Mosel floods?” I asked.

“Well, of course, often, and then this all gets full of water up to here…” and he pointed somewhere really high.

I had never heard any mention to that when we were studying German wines for the WSET level 3, but I am familiar with this concept of rivers flooding, as the weather is often very unstable and flood-prone in September/October in Valencia. Of course I wanted to know more!

He said that when it floods, the bottles just won’t move (they’re too heavy to float). The labels might get damaged and eventually “go away”, but the debris stays. It is fine with the corks; the water doesn’t really get into the wines (I think I should have known this!).

And so it goes with each cycle of flooding and drying… and you end up with bottles looking like this when they’ve been sitting in the cellar for decades:

Bottles covered in flood debris at the private cellar in Immich Anker
Bottles covered in flood debris at the private cellar in Immich Anker

Something that captured my imagination was the sight of the “inner sanctum” of the private cellar: an area kept under lock behind a grilled gate. With its own lantern, cobwebs and all!

The best of the best at the private cellar in Immich Anker
The best of the best at the private cellar in Immich Anker

If that isn’t exciting you, there’s something really wrong with you!

Daniel also told us how during the war, many soldiers took too much of a liking to helping themselves to these bottles, to the desperation of his ancestors who saw them profaning their best treasures. I can’t recall if he said they installed the gate afterwards or not, but I would have been supremely pissed off as well 🤬

The silver lining to this is that those who drank their wines for free in the past started buying them from overseas and their descendants are continuing the tradition too, as it brought them good memories and they appreciated the sense of continued tradition at this winery.

And now onto more current developments: we looked at some of the maturation vessels.

These barrels are quite old; he said in fact they aren’t made like that in the area anymore, and when they break he’ll need to get French ones (who still make them).

Fermentation barrels at Immich Anker
Fermentation barrels at Immich Anker

Being this old, they’re not used to impart a STRONG OAK flavour onto the wines: the initial wood flavour was “spent” many years ago, and they have probably developed a sediment inside which shields the wine from touching a lot of the wood anyway. It’s more to let them rest and develop some interesting flavours, and they might stay there for years.

Then these are the steel fermentation vats which are empty, as there was nothing to ferment in July yet. The grapes were still in the vines when we visited!

Fermentation vats at Immich Anker
Fermentation vats at Immich Anker

I think these are temperature controlled so you don’t depend so much on what is the temperature in the cellar.

Normally once the fermentation is completed they would be either bottled or moved to the barrels shown above.

Some more usual winery equipment… pumps etc. This would be used to move wine between vessels!

Pumps and other winemaking equipment at Immich Anker
Pumps and other winemaking equipment at Immich Anker

We didn’t get too technical so I’m slightly filling in the blanks here and I’d rather not speculate too much, so let’s talk about the tasting!

We went upstairs and to a separate modern building that contains a big bar-like area on the ground floor.

All the wines we tasted at Immich Anker, plus Daniel in the background
All the wines we tasted at Immich Anker, plus Daniel in the background

We were given a leaflet with his newsletter… and the wine list, on which I wrote my notes directly.

He was placing the wine bottles on the counter and I didn’t think that leaving my high stool to take a picture and then repositioning myself on the stool each time we tried a new wine was a profitable use of my time, so I just took ONE picture with ALL the wines on the counter, as you see above!

And my notes:

  1. Alte Reben pS Riesling Trocken 2021 (old vines grown on red slate, from Enkircher Steffensberg), 11.5% — subtle smoke, blue cheese
  2. Eisbruch Riesling Trocken 2021 (grown on blue slate, “Ice break”, where the Mosel defrosts, “Mineralität par excellence”), 11.0% — smoke, mineral, lemon, hint of peach ⭐️
  3. 1425 Riesling Brut (Sekt, traditional method, rested for 3 years) (grown on red slate, from Enkircher Monteneubel), 12%— creamy biscotti, wet stones, crispy! (Devvers’ ⭐️)
  4. Alte Reben Riesling Trocken 2020 (from Enkircher Steffensberg), 11.0% — classic Riesling, petrol, asparagus, lemon, peach ⭐️
  5. Liebling vom Chef 2020 Riesling Spätlese Halbtrocken (from Enkircher Herrenberg), 10.0% — mid sweet, very drinkable. Subtle peach. Lemon peel
  6. Liebling vom Chef 2021 Riesling Halbtrocken (from Enkircher Herrenberg), 11.5% — notes = undecipherable. I think it says it’s the same site but made differently in different years 🤪
  7. Eschewingert Riesling feinherb 2020 (the “all-round wine”), 10% — peach, grapefruit, petrol
  8. Riesling Spätlese 2020 (Enkircher Steffensberg), 7.5% — peach, stonefruit, wet stones, green… what? (yes, that is literally what I wrote)— pairing suggestion with “liver wurst” or with morcilla ⭐️
  9. Löwenbaum Riesling 2021 (grown on red slate, Enkircher Im Löwenbaum, “fantastic depth, wonderful scent”), 8.5% — peach, apricot, wet stones, lemon (less ripe than number 8)
  10. Riesling Auslese 2020 (Enkircher Steffensberg; with botrytis, “so rich grape”), 7.5% — honey, peach, cream ⭐️
  11. Riesling Beerenauslese 2019 (Enkircher Steffensberg; hand-picked berries), 7.0% — honey, peach, honeydew melon ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ my favvvvvvvouuuuriiiitteeee (again, not a surprise with my penchant for sweet wines)

Daniel also showed us several fragments of slate in different colours, so we could better visualise what he meant when he referred to red or blue slate, etc. And also a sort of plant specimen so we could see the root system. Weirdly, I did not take a picture of this, given how much I like stones and roots. Imagine them instead!

I leave you with a sentence from Daniel that summarises his wine philosophy:

Mosel is steep slopes

Weingut Immich Anker
Am Steffensberg 19
56850 Enkirch

Wines can be bought directly from his webshop.

Although with Brexit and all the postage and everything, it is way more expensive than it used to be… so maybe just visit him and buy in place, the trip is well worth it.

After the second wine tasting of the day it was about time we had some food!

Traben-Trarbach in the map, showing the Mosel bending
Traben-Trarbach in the map, showing the Mosel bending

So we headed to Traben-Trarbach, a town in a deliciously loopy bend of the Mosel, and to a restaurant aptly named die Mosel which Sven had also booked for dinner.

It is on this beautiful old mansion with views to the Mosel.

The building for die Mosel
The building for die Mosel

But I was so extremely tired and so extremely taken by the conversation, that I didn’t take any pictures of the food. Just of the terrace, the views from the terrace, and the building.

What did you expect after trying out so many wines? (and I was spitting most of the time, imagine otherwise 🤭).

All I can say is, I was quite intrigued by their “Izatapa” concept. I think it felt considerably more Spanish than Japanese to me, but I was happy with the wide wine selection and the food—and they had crema catalana for dessert so that’s ALWAYS a win!

IZATAPA: a mix of Spanish tapas and Japanese izakaya
IZATAPA: a mix of Spanish tapas and Japanese izakaya
Views from the terrace at die Mosel
Views from the terrace at die Mosel

Rißbacher Str. 13
56841 Traben-Trarbach

Thank you Sven for organising everything! We had such a great time 😀

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