Dornfelder is the most successful German red grape. It is a crossing developed in 1955 at the Weinsberg Wine School, and was named after the founder of the Wine School, Imanuel Dornfeld. About 20,262 acres (8,200 hectares) of Dornfelder are planted throughout Germany, accounting for 8% of the total vineyard area. The majority of this grape is produced in the Rheinhessen and Pfalz regions, each with over 7,400 acres (3,000 hectares) planted. Villa Wolf Dornfelder is a fruity, medium-bodied red wine with flavors of plums and cherries balanced by velvety tannins. It has an intense color and pairs well with a wide variety of foods.
Traditionally Crafted Pfalz Wines
Founded in 1756, in the Pfalz region of Germany, the J.L. Wolf estate (now called Villa Wolf) was a successful and highly regarded winery for more than two centuries. It entered an especially glamorous era with the construction of its Italianate estate house and villa in 1843.
In the latter years of the 20th century, however, the estate languished, lacking a firm hand to guide its wine production. Ernst Loosen, of the Dr. Loosen estate, took over the vineyards in 1996, launching a dramatic turnaround in the estate’s quality and reputation. Erni’s goal at Villa Wolf is to produce wines that express the authentic terroir of the region.
Made in the classic style of the Pfalz, Villa Wolf Rieslings are drier and more full-bodied than Mosel Rieslings, with fully ripe fruit flavors and a characteristic stoniness in the aroma. To preserve the naturally high quality of the vineyards, Villa Wolf practices sustainable viticulture and emphasizes gentle handling of the fruit through traditional, minimalist winemaking.
The estate is managed by a talented winemaker, Patrick Möllendorf, who previously worked in the cellar at Dr. Loosen. He has brought renewed energy and focus to the viticulture and winemaking at Villa Wolf. The estate’s philosophy is based on the belief that great wines must start in the vineyard. So Patrick works closely with nature, using sustainable practices that nurture biodiversity in the vineyards, providing a healthy and diverse microbiology in the soil. This is important for wines to express the character of the grape and the soil in which it is grown. Organic certification for the estate vineyards was achieved in 2021.
This approach is also carried into the cellar, with a focus on gentle handling of the wine throughout the entire process. This approach retains the clean, fresh fruit that represents the Villa Wolf style. The team is committed to traditional vinification methods, such as fermentation and aging in large, neutral oak casks, and spontaneous fermentation with natural yeasts.
With sustainable viticulture, minimal processing, and their constant pursuit of improvement, Patrick strives to capture the purity and special characteristics of the region, vineyard, and grape variety in each of their wines.
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The Villa Wolf Gewürztraminer is clean, fruity and wonderfully light on its feet. It shows off the aromatic charm of the variety without being heavy or ponderous. It has a deliciously juicy texture and a delightfully delicate aroma of spice and fresh roses. It’s very refreshing to drink on its own and makes a perfect accompaniment to spicy Asian cuisine.
Villa Wolf Pinot Blanc is an elegant and easy drinking wine. Fresh and bright aromas come from picking the fruit at the optimal ripeness. This medium-bodied dry wine is complex, and off dry, with just the right amount of acidity creating a great balance. It is light and fruity enough to enjoy on its own but also pairs well with food.
The Pinot Gris variety was first identified in the Pfalz region, and Germany is second only to Italy in acres planted. Villa Wolf Pinot Gris is made in a full-bodied, dry style with fresh, unoaked fruit and a crisp texture. Half of each vintage is made in large, neutral oak casks for depth and complexity. The other half is done in stainless steel to preserve freshness and enhance the vibrant fruit. It is an excellent partner for salmon, chicken or pork.
Fun Fact: Germany is the third largest producer of Pinot Noir in the world! The Villa Wolf Pinot Noir is warm and medium-bodied, with a firm acid structure. Its dark cherry fruit is juicy, ripe, and forward, with a spicy mid-palate. Twelve months of aging in used barriques gives the wine a smoky depth and a nice touch of earthy tannins. This is a very grown-up Pinot Noir for the price, and it’s another excellent wine for everyday dining.
The Pfalz is a very warm and sunny region, often called “the Tuscany of Germany,” so all of the Pinot varieties do well here. The Villa Wolf Pinot Noir Rosé is a true rosé, made with a brief maceration before pressing to extract the lovely salmon color. It is light and refreshing, with deliciously bright berry and fruit flavors and a clean, zippy finish. It’s perfect for holiday meals, especially when ham is involved.
This classic, off-dry Pfalz Riesling is sourced from vineyards throughout the region and reflects the fresh and balanced style that all Villa Wolf wines strive to achieve. It beautifully captures the peachy fruit and stony structure that are characteristic of Rieslings grown in the sandy loam soils and warm, sunny climate of the Pfalz. Refreshing and delicious on its own, it also pairs well with cheeses and savory dishes involving chicken or pork.
This medium-bodied dry Riesling has lovely flavors of peach and stone, with a hint of apricot. Nicely balanced acidity gives it a juicy grip. It is an excellent match for classic continental-style cooking, especially with dishes that feature freshwater fish, chicken and pork.
The Villa Wolf Sauvignon Blanc is produced from fruit that has reached optimum ripeness, but is not over ripe. And only clean, healthy fruit (no botrytis) is allowed. The sandy loam soils of the Pfalz region produces fruit with excellent purity and varietal expression, resulting in wines that are fresh and juicy, with aromatic character and a crisp backbone of acidity.
The fruit for the Wachenheimer Riesling comes from a single-vineyard site, called Königswingert (“King’s Vineyard”), but the wine is labeled only with the village name. This excellent site lies just to the north of the village and is rated as a premier cru vineyard. The Wachenheimer Riesling has an elegant mineral purity and good intensity on the palate. It is a refreshing wine that’s very easy to drink, but there is also a distinctive stony character that reflects the terroir of Königswingert.