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Germany - Sitzius Winery - Nahe Valley Winery


The Sitzius Family celebrates more than 450 years of continuous winemaking tradition

When the wine world discovered the friendly taste of German liebfraumilch (literally mother’s milk) during the period of the late 1960’s and 1970’s, it was generally considered a boon for German wine growers and producers. Many German wine companies turned to production of the semi-sweet white wine as a means of growth and profit. It is largely agreed that this decision was in fact, a serious blow to the quality ideals concerning German wines held at the time by worldwide wine consumers.

While the inexpensive category of liebfraumilch grew and prospered, this was not the case for the rest of the German wine industry. Sales of their higher quality predikat wines began sliding downward and have remained so for the past three decades. Also, in 1971, the German Wine Institute (DWI) installed a new set of regulations that was intended to aid Germany’s higher quality wines. The new rules dictated that certain restrictions regarding sweetness and appellation be followed, all intended to provide information for wine consumers.

Many believe that, in the long run, these new regulations actually hindered German wines in that they required too much information and therefore cluttered wine labels with semi-important information. In any event, wine sales slowly drifted downward and German wines began to be excluded from conversations concerning truly great wines.

This was unfortunate, because the greatness of German wines could always be found at the top of its production. This factor has not changed one single bit during this entire scenario. Great auslese, beerenauslese and trockenbeerenauslese wines continued to be produced that were among the finest dessert wines in the world. The immaculate eiswein sustained its limited annual production and was still considered one of the great wines of the world.

It is only recently that German wines have begun to regain their rightful place among the world’s elite wines. With the liebfraumilch explosion petered out, German producers have returned to the art of making fresh marvelous tasting wines that have suddenly bounced back in favor among the world’s wine connoisseurs. Happily, the downfall of German wines was not limited to all German wine producing regions. Many small regions were simply excluded due to their compactness and limited production.

This month’s International Selection Region, German’s Nahe Valley, was one such case. It made no sense for its producers to change their winemaking methods, they were simply too small to benefit from the craze that engulfed the poor liebfraumilch wine.

Nahe Valley’s small producers were mostly family run operations and this additional fact saved them from the fate of their Mosel and Rhine brothers. Their wines continued to be extremely high quality and were almost all consumed within the borders of their country.

Today, a few Nahe Valley vintners have begun the process of exporting their wines, a timely decision given the reemergence of better quality German wines. It is a delight to offer our International Series Members the wines of Winegut Sitzius, one of Nahe Valley’s premier growers and vintners.


  1. Sitzius
    2010 Riesling
    Sitzius
    Germany
    International

    $22.00

    $25.00
    Exclusive Selection
    id: 1024
    Special
    International
  2. Sitzius
    2009 Proprietary Red Blend
    Sitzius
    Germany
    International

    $25.00

    $30.00
    Exclusive Import
    id: 1025
    Special
    International
  3. Sitzius
    2008 Pinot Noir
    Sitzius
    Germany
    International

    $28.00

    $32.00
    Exclusive Import
    id: 1026
    Special
    International

Wilhelm and Sonja Sitzius - a husband and wife winemaking team

It is somewhat unique to have a husband/wife tandem serve as winemakers at a particular estate. This is the case with Winegut Sitzius, where both Wilhelm and Sonja Sitzius have degrees in winemaking. Both attended the renowned university at nearby Bad Kreuznach and received their winemaking degrees after six years of study. Both must agree on the final blends for their wines. Also, Wilhelm declared in a recent interview that his wife has an excellent palate for what they desire in their wines.

Wilhelm Sitzius and his State-of-the-Art, Nahe Valley Winery

At 57 year young, Wilhelm Sitzius is an affable German winery owner who believes his English is poorer than it actually is. He is a delightful chap who is devoted to his small winery and its production of high quality wines from the tiny Nahe Valley is Southeastern Germany. His property, and, arguably the winery, dates all the way back to 1560, when his ancestors grew grapes and raised cattle and farm animals like many other families in the area.

Wilhelm Sitzius is the 13th generation of his family to live on his estate, which today comprises some 16 hectares (approximately 22.5 acres), about an average size for a Nahe Valley Winery. Weingut Sitzius produces around 8,400 cases each year, again about average for most small producers of the area. Both Wilhelm and his attractive wife Sonja, 55, are winemakers and their operation is a family affair. Additional fruit comes from a number of vineyards around the small villages of Oberhausen, Neiderhausen and Langenlonsheim. Some of the vineyards have been in either Wilhelm or Sonja’s families for centuries.

‘The Nahe Valley (see Wine Region) is most distinct from the other wine producing areas,” Sitzius explained. ‘Our natural soils make us completely different. In the Mosel there is only one soil. So, too, is the Rhine---one spoil. In the Nahe there are perhaps fifty different soils due to the volcanic actions over the last 450 million years. The turbulence has produced numerous pockets of great soils that allow us to grow varietals that prosper in such environments. The end result is that we have the ability to make some marvelous wines.”

While German only produces five per cent red wine, the Nahe produces a bit more than 20 per cent, thanks to the different soil compositions. This fact has caused Wilhelm to become a modern day pirate in seeking to make his wine quality even higher. ‘I have been able to travel to the likes of France, Italy, Spain and even South Africa. There, we were able to visit a number of each country’s wineries,” he added. I always take notes and watch closely how they produce their reds wines. I have really learned a lot from my travels. In Germany, it is unfortunate, but there is little red winemaking technique to learn from.” The wines of Winegut Sitzius have been very fortunate in wine competitions, particularly for so small an operation. If business continues well for his company, Sitzius intends to continue his current expansion to around 15,000 cases. He and his wife own family vineyards and also have excellent access to other top quality grapes in his region. Sitzius has singled out North America and Asia as potential targets for his winery’s expansion.

Winegut Sitzius also operates a wonderful small restaurant on the premises, one that specializes in local cuisine and wine pairings. The facility operates eight months a year, on Friday through Sunday. A local guesthaus is located less than a hundred yards away from the winery for anyone desiring an overnight stay in a completely idyllic setting.

While Weingut Sitzius trends more forward than most of its neighbors, the reason for its success can be traced to its communal approach to farming and wine production. Wilhelm Sitzius maintains a close relationship with practically everyone in the area that is in the wine business, even his closest competitors. When problems arise, each neighbor chips in to help the other, a tradition that originated many centuries ago. When Wilhelm’s father, also named Wilhelm Sitzius, began serious winery production at Weingut Sitzius sometime following the end of World War II, he instilled in the business a spirit of cooperation that has held through modern times. In the mind of present-day owners Wilhelm and Sonja Sitzius, it is a lesson that they will never forget.

About The Region

The Nahe Wine Region of Germany is one of the country’s smallest, with only around 4300 hectares (slightly over 10,600 acres) under vine. The Nahe River is a tributary of the mighty Rhine and lends its name to the charming area that has traditionally produced exceptionally fine wines. It slopes are a gentler version of both the Rhine and Mosel inclines that dominate the larger valleys. Geological disturbances over millions of years have produced the region's turbulent geological past. During that time, the ground was constantly shaken by volcanic activity during the formation of the Nahe rift valley. In places, the soil (slate, volcanic porphyry, loess and clay soils) changes every hundred yards and each of these different geological formations subtly alters the taste of the wine. A wide variety of grapes thrive in the mild temperatures and incredibly abundant sunshine. Both red and white varietals flourish in this environment, a unique aspect for a country that produces almost 95 per cent white wines. Due to the smallness of its vineyards, the excellent wines of the Nahe are seldom exported out of Germany, but rather are consumed by German and European connoisseurs who delight in their magnificent subtlety.


Schweinebraten - German-style Roast Pork


Ingredients

4-6 lbs pork shoulder
2 Tbs. caraway seeds
1 Tbs. salt
2 tsp. ground pepper
2 Tbs. cooking oil
3 medium onions,
roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled & chopped
1/2 cup water (or 1/2 cup
stock, or 1/2 cup white
wine, or 1/2 cup beer)
2-3 Tbs. flour
2-3 Tbs. butter


Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rub the entire roast all over with the oil and sprinkle with caraway, salt, and pepper. Let stand for 1 hour. Spray your roasting pan with cooking spray. Place the vegetables into roasting pan and pour liquid of choice. Place the roast, fat side down, in the roasting pan on top of the vegetables. Cover tightly and roast for 1 hour. Remove from oven, uncover and turn roast fat side up. Cut decorative diamonds into the fat, insert meat thermometer and replace, uncovered, back into the oven for approximately 2 hours or until meat thermometer reads 165 degrees. Remove from oven and take out of roaster; cover with foil to preserve temperature, and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and save the vegetables to serve on the side. Measure pan juices; add enough chosen liqui (water, wine, stock, or beer) to make 2 cups. Make a roux by blending the flour and butter together very well in a saucepan; add the pan juices and bring to a simmer.
Slice the roast thinly and serve with the gravy on the side. For additional richness, the gravy may be finished with a little butter, cream, or sour cream.




Hackbraten - German Meatloaf


Ingredients

1 lb. ground beef(or 1/2 beef, 1/2 pork)
1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs
1 Tbs. butter
2 (1+1) medium white onions
1 Tbs. minced fresh parsley
2 large eggs
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. rosemary
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3 Tbs. flour
2 sliced of bacon
4 Tbs. butter
1 large carrot
1 cup of water or beef broth
2 Tbs. sour cream
1 Tbs. flour or corn starch (for
thickening)


Instructions

In a large bowl, mix ground meat and breadcrumbs until uniform. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Peel and dice 1 onion. Heat 1 Tbs. of butter in a hot skillet and add the diced onion and parsley to it. Saute until onion is golden brown. Beat eggs in a large shallow container. Add salt, pepper, rosemary, and nutmeg to eggs; mix. Pour onion/parsley mixture and egg mixture over the ground meat. Knead together until uniformly mixed. Mold meat mixture into a loaf. Roll loaf in flour until coated on all sides. Lay bacon slices in the middle of a small casserole dish and set the loaf on top of the bacon. Peel and slice the carrots and second onion. Pour water or broth into casserole dish and scatter the sliced carrot and onion around the meatloaf. Heat 4 Tbs. of butter in a warm skillet and then pour over the meatloaf. Place dish in the preheated oven. Bake 1 hour (or until cooked through), basting often. With 5-10 minutes cook time remaining, spread sour cream over meatloaf. Remove dish from the oven. Stir flour or cornstarch into the juice remaining in the pan to make a sauce. Slice the loaf and serve with the sauce. Recipe provided by www.german-recipes-and-more.com.



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