Christoph and Hanneke in the middle of a very biodynamic vineyard, windmills in the distance.

New Kids in the Rheinhessen: Schonhals!

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We introduce Schonhals, a new and exciting estate from the Rheinhessen! I had the pleasure of visiting them back in April of 2023 when I went to the VDP wine fair in Mainz and visited a couple of other nearby wineries in the Rhinehessen, Rheingau and Nahe. Eben (Lillie) had met them before at several organic/biodynamic wine fairs in France and we were keen to work with some of their wines. Little did I know how much fun we'd have and how much we'd hit it off with a shared love of music, dance and all around  conviviality (Christoph is a bass player and Hanneke a dancer; their wine labels sport a blurry picture of Hanneke twirling).

When I pulled up into the courtyard of the winery smack in the middle of their teeny town, an older gentleman was tinkering on an ancient piece of machinery. I later discovered that indeed, this was her father Eugen Schonhals who helmed the winery and converted it to organic farming decades prior, something unheard of in their region of Central Rheinhessen at the time. Although now retired, as they put it, he just can't stop working so they allow him to tinker on. Hanneke took the next step in converting to biodynamics when she took over from her father in 2018 with a new focus on developing, artisanal natural wines. Her mother begged her to marry a winemaker saying that a women couldn't handle all the work needed to run the place and that she was doomed to failure otherwise. Undeterred, she pressed on and found a willing partner in crime with Mainz native punk rocker Christoph (now husband). As Hanneke puts it: "

When at a German winery.....Beer!

The wines tell of the rhythm of nature, the rhythm of manual, careful work and the melody of life in the vineyard. When working in the cellar, we rely on spontaneous fermentation, long maceration times and gentle processing in order to bring the character of each vineyard location and harvest into the bottle. In addition to Riesling and Burgundy varieties, we also cultivate a variety of new grape varieties, such as Saphira, Cabernet Blanc or Satin Noir, on almost 13 hectares of vineyards and these are particularly climate-friendly due to their tolerance to fungal diseases and open up whole new worlds of taste with exciting aroma profiles - of course GMO-free! Diversity is part of our livelihood! This applies to the variety and biodiversity in our vineyards. And the same for our social coexistence! We are for diversity and tolerance! We are against racism! Wine culture is diverse joy of life in liquid form!!!"

We hope you'll join us in welcoming the Schonals to the Chambers Universe and the US Market. I selected two Rieslings from different soil types, a skin contact, no sulphur Muller Thurgau, a PIWI white, a burgundian Pinot Noir and finally, an extra brut Riesling Sekt because everyone one needs to twirl from time to time! PROST! Giselle Hamburg

Schonhals 2021 Rheinhessen Biebelnheim Riesling Steine

"The "Steine" vineyard is one of our best Riesling locations and is characterized - as the name suggests - by a high proportion of limestone. A Riesling like we love - a fresh sea breeze, with captivating citrus fruits and crisp acidity. Left on the yeast for almost 12 months, the Steine impresses us with its balance of freshness and smoothness." A delicate expression of Riesling with light peach notes over a mineral, savory framework, showing it's lithe 11.5% ABV. GH

  • white
  • 13 in stock
  • $16.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Schonhals 2021 Rheinhessen Biebelnheim Riesling Kalkmergel

"At Biebelnheimer Rosenberg, the Riesling vines grow on very calcareous marl soils, which give our Riesling Kalkmergel its juiciness and saltiness. With citrus aromas, grapefruit and peach notes, it clearly and precisely represents our Rhine-Hessian homeland. With its late ripening and comparatively cool temperatures, 2021 was definitely a Riesling year, which is particularly evident in our Riesling Kalkmergel!" The Schonhals showstopper Riesling cuvee stays in tank for a full year after harvest, producing a nose that is quite concentrated and mineral with seashells and bright citrus on the palate. Brilliant! GH

  • white
  • 25 in stock
  • $18.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Schonhals 2021 Rheinhessen Biebelnheim Muller Natural

From the Schonhals NATURAL line, a 100% Muller Thurgau with no added sulphur, foot stomped, 3 days skin contact unfined and unfiltered. Surprisingly clean and zesty flashing a golden yellow robe and notes of white tea, Wrigley's spearmint gum, fresh hay and marzipan undescored by bright acidity. A true find for Sauvignon Blanc lovers! GH

  • white
  • 13 in stock
  • $20.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • No Sulfur

Schonhals 2021 Rheinhessen Biebelnheim Saphira Piwi

"ARE YOU READY FOR A REVOLUTION?" is marked in German at the bottom of the label with an arrow pointing at an imbedded barcode to be scanned for more information. Part of the newfangled "wine of the future" grape hybrids in the PIWI family in Central Europe; Saphira is one of 8 white grapes found in Germany.  The abbreviation "PIWI" comes from German and stands for fungus-resistant wines. Created through several stages of crossing, containing high percentages of Vitis vinifera and just enough disease-resistant American Vitis to give good resistance to fungal diseases. Therefore, they taste more like the Vitis vinifera in their family tree. The resistant varieties hardly need any pesticides to be protected from parasites or mildew disease and seem to hold up better to extremes in climate. Saphira is a crossing of Riesling with Seyve Villard, marked by an intensely herbaceous nose,  high acidity and in this iteration, bright minerality. A true discovery! GH

  • white
  • 4 in stock
  • $17.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • No Sulfur

Schonhals 2020 Rheinhessen Biebelnheim Sekt Brut

Your perfect sparkler for all occasions, celebratory and otherwise! Lithe and ethereal from the 2020 vintage spending 2 years on the lees with a low dosage of 5grams (this places it in extra brut terroir even though it says brut). This Riesling really pops with vibrancy yet delicate floral and pale fruit notes, elegant and fun. The Schonhals drink it for aperitif and for Brunch! GH

  • white sparkling
  • 19 in stock
  • $24.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur
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Schonhals 2020 Rheinhessen Biebelnheim Loess Pinot Noir

"A large part of Biebelnheim's vineyards, rich in limestone and partly covered in loess, are an ideal place for growing Burgundy varieties. In a microclimate almost a bit like Burgundy, the grapes for this wine grow in our “Langgewann” district on a slight south-facing slope." A delightful, mineral rendition from the southern Rheinhessen The grapes are destemmed, punched down and macerated on the skins for 2 weeks. Ageing is in used barriques for a year lending a fruity freshness, coupled with depth and structure. Aromas of wild strawberries and forest floor are coupled with notes of wild cherry, fig, eucalyptus and hints of fresh tobacco, Your new everyday drinking Pinot Noir! GH

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $21.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur