In the Rheinhessen’s far northern stretches, just across the river from the Rheingau, the small commune of Ingelheim holds a secret forgotten by the wine world: a positively royal 1200-year history of Pinot Noir. Indeed, it was Charlemagne (King of the Franks, King of the Lombards, Emperor of the Romans, and he of Burgundy's most famous hill) who, in the late 8th Century AD, first encouraged the planting of Burgundian varietals in Ingelheim; not only was Pinot Noir his preference over Teutonic varieties, but the soils are actually quite similar to those in Burgundy, heavy in clay and limestone.
While Ingelheim Pinot Noir was very much in vogue through the early 20th century (it was, in fact, on the menu on the Titanic), by the end of World War II, the village’s former reputation had been all but forgotten. However, a quiet renaissance has emerged in Ingelheim; Simone Adams and her contemporaries recognize the potential for this area and have returned to the Burgunders: Spät-, Weiss-, and Grau- with Chardonnay, of course, peppered in among the plantings. For her part, Adams does not grow any Riesling at all.
Simone is soft-spoken, but quietly confident, earnest, and genuine. Where market demand and climate tendencies have many German producers leaning into fruit, oak, and alcohol, she uses her considerable abilities as a doctor of oenology to produce restrained, cool climate iterations of varietal wines. While many of her neighbors, enamored with the quality and prestige of Burgundy, plant French clones, she uses only German Ritter clones.
Simone's estate, given the formal name of AdamsWein, is farmed biodynamically, and she subscribes to the particularly scientific ecological approach of regenerative viticulture as well. This is, put simply, a method of farming that actively enriches the immediate ecosystem and greater environment as opposed to solely negating impact – sustainability taken a significant step further. Her commitment to freshness and to honest bottlings of Spätburgunder (no Dornfelder blended in for color or fruit concentration) is unwavering. In the age of climate change, this can mean harvesting as early as August.
In the cellar, all of her wines are spontaneously fermented. Her red wines are vinified in oak but mostly in large formats with a limited proportion of new barrels. Her entry level Spätburgunder is done entirely in used 1200-liter oak barrels. The top wines receive the highest percentage of new oak, about 20%, so as to focus on the fruit and on the character of the grape itself.
Not to be overshadowed, the whites are just as worthy of attention. Simone’s Weissburgunder is among the highest character examples of the variety in the market. Fermented and aged entirely in stainless steel and maintained on its lees until bottling, the purity of Ingelheim’s terroir is on full display.
AdamsWein Ingelheim Spätburgunder