With his first vintage, Alex took off in full swing in 2021. Despite the limited quantity, market interest was so substantial that his wines quickly sold out at most retailers. Creating a hype is one thing, but maintaining it in the long run is a different challenge. However, this seems to come naturally to the charming and grounded young winemaker from Rüdesheim. His recognition as the “Discovery of the Year 2023” in the Vinum Wine Guide 2024 serves as an early testament to his promising trajectory.

Max Kaindl, 23. December 2023
Reading time about 7 minutes

Alexander Schregel:
re-shaping Rheingau wine characteristics

Snowy Rüdesheim

I first met Alex in January 2023. he name Schregel had been enthusiastically recommended to me by a friend and fellow Rheingau-based wine merchant when I inquired about an intriguing newcomer from the region. The tasting of his Rüdesheim R local Riesling was an eye-opener for me. Crafting a village wine that is simultaneously taut, complex, finely structured, and multifaceted for a debut vintage speaks volumes about the potential held by such a winemaker.

Arriving in snow-covered Rüdesheim, I initially had difficulty finding the “winery,” which might be more accurately described as a garage or cellar winery. Alex’s old cellar vault, with its limited mobile phone reception, led me to meander around the block several times before a friendly yet initially reserved young winemaker welcomed me. Eager to explore his vineyards on the still lesser-known western edge of the Rheingau, in Lorch, we promptly set off for a local tour. En route, Alex told me everything about his idea and vision behind Schregelwein.

Having formed a quick friendship, our conversation flowed seamlessly, deepening my appreciation for the passion and dedication Alex pours into his winemaking venture.

The Dream of Having His Own Winery

Alex has always dreamed of seeing his own name on a wine label and and taking full pride in the wines he produces. To make this dream a reality, he initially pursued studies in viticulture and oenology at the Weincampus in Neustadt an der Weinstraße. Subsequently, he underwent training as a winemaker in prestigious establishments such as Fürst, Künstler, Rotkäppchen Mumm, and Leitz. Alex continues to hold a prominent position in external operations at Leitz to this day.

As a native of Rüdesheim, Alex knows the local vineyards like the back of his hand and is aware of where to find undiscovered top plots. At least to the extent possible in and around the densely planted Rüdesheimer Berg.

He celebrated his debut vintage 2021 with three wines from Rüdesheim vineyards, primarily Berg Roseneck and Bischofsberg. With his second vintage 2022, he expanded his portfolio to include intriguing plots in the somewhat overlooked location of Lorch.

Lorch – The Emerging Jewel of the Rheingau

Nestled at the western edge of the Rheingau, beyond the bend in the Rhine, Lorch marks the gateway to the Middle Rhine. The only route leading there is through the rather narrow road behind Rüdesheim, directly along the Rhine. Picturesque but not particularly visitor-friendly. This, coupled with historically cooler temperatures less conducive to top-tier wines, is likely one reason for the delayed recognition of this village in the broader wine world.

In this tranquil setting, Alex has secured parcels in the prestigious sites of Schlossberg and Kapellenberg. Some of these parcels are characterized by their extreme steepness and age, resulting in minimal yields per vine. Here, 100% manual labor is indispensable. However, the outcomes are all the more fascinating. Alex’s neighbor in Schlossberg, Eva Fricke, has already achieved international success with her dry and sweet wines from Lorch. While Alex would probably never express it so directly and openly, he envisions similar long-term success for his wines. He is just too modest and reserved, yet determined, for such public declarations.

A Man and His Vineyards – Pioneering Biodynamic Practices in the Rheingau

Alex’s passion is devoted to the vineyards, embodying the image of an archetypal winemaker: rubber boots and a complete Engelbert Strauss ensemble. However, he still needs to work on the corresponding vineyard vehicle – an old Land Rover. But now let’s get serious.

Alex’s clear focus lies on vineyard work, guided by the motto “Back to the roots“. Employing biodynamic methods without rigid dogma, he aims to revive the original Rheingau style in his Rieslings. In the cellar, the wines are meant to be guided rather than manipulated. He staunchly rejects excessive intervention and the use of clarifying agents. All wines undergo spontaneous fermentation and extended aging on the lees. He also occasionally experiments with adding whole, healthy grapes to the fermented wine in barrels. This undertaking results in vibrant, complex, and extremely drinkable Rieslings — a style that is somewhat unique in the Rheingau.

I had the opportunity to gain a comprehensive impression of his 2022 wines during an intensive tasting of his barrels in January 2023. Later in the summer, I had the opportunity to sample some already bottled wines. What was the takeaway? Well, with just his second vintage, Alex has managed to establish a clear characteristic for his wines. Alongside a consistently restrained Riesling fruitiness, his wines shine with delicate herbal notes, bright blossoms, a saline structure, a certain purity and substantial depth. This holds true from his estate wine to his single-vineyard releases. Impressive.

I vividly remember the barrel samples from Kapellenberg and Schlossberg. Both left me speechless, evoking an undeniable sense of goosebumps — a fitting description of the profound impact these wines had on me.

Alexander Schregel produces Rieslings with enthusiasm, passion and expertise, placing significant emphasis on revealing the wines’ origin through precise craftsmanship. In the heart of Rüdesheim, a new Riesling star has emerged, destined to make waves in the future.

Pictures: © The Art of Riesling – Maximilian Kaindl

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