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Van Volxem
There was once a time, in the not too distant past, where certain Riesling wines were more expensive than a Château Lafitte or a Margaux. Van Volxem, located smack bang in the centre of Sarr, was one of these; and one man has set himself the heady task of restoring the vineyard to their former glory.
What goes up, must come down...
Originally planted in the Middle Ages by the Benedictine monks of the region, the land was acquired after Napoleonic secularisation by the Rheinart and Gebert families. Together they planted the steep-slopes with Riesling grapes, and by the 1890s, Van Volxem was a leader in the golden age of Riesling wine. However, fortunes suddenly faded, the economy went belly up and two world wars ensured that times would not be a-changing anytime soon. Sadly, by the 1970s, the once-famous Geisberg region had barely any vines left.
... and go up again
After four generations in the Van Volxem family, the estate was sold to Roman Niewodniscanski in 2004. Along with Dominik Völk, the former winemaker at Van Volxem, and Markus Molitor, a friend and viticultural colleague, the trio have risen to the huge challenge of replanting the 60-hectare estate. Although Niewodniscanski has abandoned the idea of using the Pradikat system (where quality Riesling wines are classified according to style), he has returned to traditional methods, such as: low yields per vine, strict selection, no harvest not before mid-October (if possible), physiological ripeness and spontaneous fermentation. Of course, this also holds true for all the estate's wines, from entry-level to Grand Crus (or Grosse Lagen in German).
The future’s bright
It is still early days for Van Volxem but all the indications look good. Excellent scores year after year, fantastic quality-price rapport. However, beady-eyed wine investors will undoubtedly know that you can still find a very small amount of wine from the poorer years, incredibly rare and incredibly expensive, a half bottle of 1983 Van Volxem Scharzhofberger Riesling Eiswein Goldkapsel is something in the region of €350 (May 2019). Prices have been holding steady with a small drop in 24-months.
Notable facts and vintages
  • In January 2019, the aptly titled NY Times article “‘Disgusting to Say, but It’s the Truth’: German Winemakers See Boon in Climate Change” owner Niewodniczanski is on record stating (of the 2018 harvest) “this year is going to be historic”. Though too soon to know just how great the 2018s will be, there is good chance this will be a vintage like no other for Van Volxem.
  • Van Volxem’s recent multi-million euro investment in acquiring and re-cultivating Geisberg; 12 acres within a cooler, narrow valley of steep 55 to 65 degrees slopes promises more opportunities for investors and oenophiles alike, with the first Van Volxem Ockfener Geisberg expected in 2019.
  • Considered “the best off-dry wine of the vintage”, 2012 Scharzhofberger Pergentsknopp received a score of 94 with Vinous, and 92 points from Jean Fisch & David who later awarded the 2016 vintage 93 points, its prices increasing nearly 40% over the course of two years from June 2017.