The Wine Contor
The word Kontor (or Contor) has been used since the 16th century and derives from the French ‘comptoir’, which can be translated as counter, bar, office, branch or liquor cabinet. Kontore were foreign trading posts of the Hanseatic League located in the major ports around the globe. By all means, wines were preferred goods of these early merchants and this has certainly not changed till this day.
Germany has a history of winemaking that dates back to 100 B.C. when ancient Romans, who conquered the region, began producing wines on local soil. On the steep slate and shale banks along the Mosel, the pristine, castle-crowned vineyards of the Rheingau and the rolling hills of Rheinhessen, Germany produces some of the world’s most exhilarating white wines.
While today many great wines are found around the globe, it is the unique terroir and traditional production methods, which allow Germany to produce exceptional quality wines that are some of the finest in the world.
Founded in 1870 by the Rheingau hotelier Balthasar Ress, the wine estate numbers among the large, family-operated enterprises in the Rheingau today. A member of the selective VDP group, Balthasar Ress has consistent high standards of performance and reliability–hallmarks of the estate since its founding. In 1993, the new winery building “Rheinallee” purchased the old farm house offers in Rheinallee, which is an impressive setting for events of all kinds. Today the estate is run by Stefan and Christian Ress, who represent the fourth and fifth generations of the founding family. The vineyards cover 35 hectares of vineyards. They are planted on the vast majority of the Riesling (31.5 ha) and Pinot Noir and other varieties.
"Their Treasury Store (Wine Bank) vintage wines dating back until 1920th. Since June 2009, the winery also owns a 3,000 square meter vineyard on the island of Sylt, which is the most northerly vineyard in Germany."READ MORE
S.A Prüm is a family-owned wine estate nestled on the banks of Germany’s serene Mosel River, at the heart of the country’s celebrated Mosel growing region. Here, the Prüm family has cultivated vines for over 200 years. The estate has been in the hands of Raimund Prüm, owner and winemaker, since 1971 when he assumed full management. Under his leadership, the property has become one of the region’s most successful wineries, boasting an international reputation for the production of exquisite Rieslings. .
S.A. Prüm is a founding member of the Association of German Premium Wineries (VDP), the consortium of Germany’s 200 top producers.READ MORE
Dr F. Weins-Prüm
For centuries, wine-growing has been tradition in the Prüm family and Weins-Prüm produces some of the finest. The Weins Prüm estate is nestled on the steepest banks of Germany’s serene Mosel River, at the heart of the country’s celebrated Mosel growing region. In 1911, the owner Mathias-Prüm divided the land among his children. The youngest daughter Anna Maria married Dr. Francis wine. Their grandson is the present owner, Bert Selbach. Under his leadership, the property has become one of the region’s most successful wineries, boasting an international reputation for the production of exquisite Rieslings.
“I feel bound to our tradition, so that I do not follow every latest trend but without rejecting innovations. This is the philosophy I consistently try to implement in order to improve the high quality of my wines constantly.” – Bert SelbachREAD MORE
Philipp Kuhn is focused on producing delicate wines with a powerful body and excellent durability. The Kuhn family has lived in Laumersheim since the 17th century. There and in the surrounding villages of Großkarlbach and Dirmstein lie its vineyards. Since 1992 Philipp Kuhn Junior, who was only 20 years old at the time, has been in charge of wine cultivation and production at the winery estate and now we get to taste the remarkable wines which resulted in Newcomer Winery of the Year in 2011 by Gault Millau Guide, Best Riesling 2016 by Feinschmecker and Vinum and avid fans all around the world.
“The 50:50 Kuhn rule: 50% red + 50% white = 100% dry styled” – Philipp KuhnREAD MORE
The Haag estate has been in the same family for over 400 years. The original winery, a timber framed house built in the 15th century, still stands on the property near the modern winery. Their primary vineyard sites are located in the Brauneberger-Juffer and Juffer-Sonnenuhr with most of these vineyards being comprised of gray slate. The soil conditions and microclimate provide an excellent growing environment for Riesling due to the cool nights and warm days.READ MORE
No poem was ever written by a drinker of water", the great Roman poet, Horace wrote. People have enjoyed drinking wine for thousands of years ever since its ancient origins in Mesopotamia, near present-day Iran. Italian wines are amongst the best in the world as some of the oldest wine-producing regions are located here. As there are twenty different regions to choose from, each with different varieties, it is never difficult to find a fine Italian wine!
We at the Wine Contor are focusing on two regions at the moment: Veneto for our outstanding Amarone and Tuscany for some highly-acclaimed boutique wineries.
The estate of Giuseppe Quintarelli, one of Veneto’s most important producers, has received justifiable renown for its near-mythical Amarone, Recioto and the cult wine, Alzero. Although other producers like Romano dal Forno, who was Giuseppe Quintarelli’s protégée, make fine Amarones, Quintarelli Amarone is inarguably the benchmark for the wine. The namesake and the touchstone for the estate, Giuseppe or “Beppe” Quintarelli established the standard for other Veneto reds, including Recioto and Valpolicella Superiore. Giuseppe Quintarelli died in January 2012 at the age of 84; his estate continues on in the hands of his wife and children. A perfectionist who practiced rigorous grape selection, Quintarelli released his wines to market only when he deemed them ready—often many years after his fellow Veneto producers. As resolute traditionalists, Quintarelli wines are always small in allocation, high in demand, and stratospheric in quality – even the most connected wine-lovers find the Quintarelli wines difficult to obtain. Long the epitome of excellence, Quintarelli’s limitedproduction Amarones, Reciotos, and Valpolicellas are true thinking wines that slow the pace and teach the drinker to be silent; a Quintarelli wine is humbling because it is unlike any other in the world. It is, as IWM Founder Sergio Esposito has said, “a rocket ship.”
“The fundamental problem of winemaking today is that too many producers hurry to make their wines: they hurry the fruit in the vineyards and they hurry the vinification and rush to bottle. They rush to sell their product without allowing the proper time to age. Patience is the most important attribute to winemaking. Patience in growing, in selection and in vinification.” - Giuseppe QuintarelliREAD MORE
Founded in 1974, Querciabella enjoys the acclaim of the world’s most discriminating critics and consumers for its exquisite range of biodynamic wines including Camartina, Batar, Palafreno, Querciabella Chianti Classico and Mongrana. In its uncompromising pursuit of quality, sustainability and authenticity, Querciabella has continually honed its approach to biodynamic viticulture for over a decade. With vineyards located throughout Tuscany's Chianti Classico and Maremma areas, Thanks to Sebastiano Cossia Castiglioni's vision and leadership, Querciabella exemplifies the preservation of tradition through forward-thinking, albeit completely natural, winemaking.
Robert Parker writes: "Querciabella has been on a roll over the last few years. I can't say enough good things about these wines, all of which merit your serious consideration. Querciabella doesn’t make a big deal about the fact that their vineyards are now bio-dynamically farmed, but then again they don’t have to, the wines speak for themselves."READ MORE
Romano Dal Forno
The impressive Dal Forno Estate lies in the foothills of Monti Lessini and produces some of the most highly awarded wines in Italy with an international reputation. The winery is very much a family affair with Romano and his wife Loretta working with their three sons Michele, Marco and Luca, as well as Uncle Cesare and Cousin Matteo who are all integral to this close knit operation. Since Romano took over from his father, yields have been dramatically reduced. Production from the 25 hectares of lovingly tended vines is tiny. It takes an astonishing six vines to produce one bottle of Valpolicella and nine for a bottle of Amarone. It is no wonder there is never enough wine here to cover demand.READ MORE