REGION: Hessische Bergstrasse VILLAGE: Bensheim
Winemaker, Visionairy, Brain Behind the brand – Niko Brandner
He is a “Quereinsteiger”. Like myself, Niko doesn’t come from a winemaker family. He used to be a Banker for a few years but luckily changed his mind to pursue a career in winemaking. He learned at the legendary winery Fuerst and also did an internship at Raumland, the long-time number 1 sparkling wine house in Germany. In 2013 he got hired by Griesel & Compagnie for his vision and passion for outstanding sparling wines.
Niko is now in his mid 30s, father of a beautiful daughter and one of most well-known winemkers in Germany. Working with him is already such a pleasure, so easy and I can’t wait to keep selling and drinking his Sekt!
Rachel “The Rocket” is the assistant winekaer. She is from Italy and responsibel for the Pinot Blanc Prestige. She is a rockstar-winemaker, trailblazing!
Winemaking and Philosophy
The grapes are hand-harvested and every sparkling wine is bottle-fermented. Every step of the process happens at the beautiful, old and traditional cellar of Griesel in Bensheim.
For Niko a great sparkling wine shows clearly its origin, grapes have to be hand-harvested, whole-bunch pressing, pure and ripe base wines to start with, no fining or filtration, and a combination of barrel-aged and stainless-steel fermented base wines. Every Cuvee showcases its vintage precisely as well as its terroir and origin!
The winery owns around 15 acres of the most prestigious vineyard sites of the region “Hessische Bergstrasse” planted with the typical Champagne grape varieties as well as Riesling.
In case you are wondering, Champagne can only be made out of these 6 grape varieties: 99%of the regions plantings are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. The others ones are Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Petit Meslier and Arbane, which are all white varieties and make up 3% of plantings. Fun fact for all Champahne lovers, most recently, in 2021, Champagne producers were allowed to start planting Voltis, a white, fungus-resistant hybrid grape.
Newcomer of the year 2019
Griesel & Compagnie was founded in 2013 and is now one of the most well-known sparkling wine producers in Germany! For the longest time, “Raumland” has been the leader in high-end sparkling wine production in Germany. With Griesel & Compagnie, Raumland has company at the top of the list! Griesel is one of the biggest players in Germany now!
In 2019 Griesel was announced Newcomer of the Year!
Robert Parker POints
The colomnist, wine writer for fine wine of the world Stephan Reinhardt, is also in the tasting commitee for Rober Parker. Robert Parker points are the world’s highest respected wine ratings.
These are the reviews and points for some of the Griesel wines:
96 – 100 points: extraordinary – „An extraordinary wine of profound and complex character displaying all the attributes expected of a classic wine of its variety. Wines of this caliber are worth a special effort to find, purchase, and consume.“
90 bis 95 Punkte: outstanding – „An outstanding wine of exceptional complexity and character. In short, these are terrific wines.“
The historic winery building used to belong to the “Hessiche Staatsweingueter”. The entire look reminds of the world-famous German Sekt production facilities from the late 19th century and offers the perfect conditions for a sustainable production site for high-class sparkling wine made in the traditional method.