The right man in the right place
There are some people who are absolutely at the right place in life. Martin Conrad is just such a person. His love, pride and knowledge of wine in general and the Mosel in particular is undeniable. The vineyard has been there since 1558 and Martin himself is the 14th generation. He runs the estate with pride and respect for history, while skilfully guiding it into the future.
We all have heard about Compact living. Walking through Martin Conrad’s wine cellar is a tour of Compact Winemaking. Every centimetre is used to the utmost and it is clear that it is a well-thought-out system. Although the equipment is modern, the history of the vineyard is evident in the form of centuries-old tools that are sometimes still in use, sometimes hanging in their usual place on the wall where they always used to be.
We take a tour of the different vineyards. The views that unfold are stunningly beautiful. When we stand at the famous sundial at Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr, we really feel like we are in the heart of the Mosel.
Martin seems to know every individual vines by heart and takes the opportunity to look at some that he wants to keep an extra eye on. All grapes are picked by hand, and sometimes not even all the grapes on a vine are picked, only the best ones are selected for that particular wine. Since 2018, the winery has been completely organic and since 2022 it has also been certified. Due to regulations, you must run the vineyard completely organically for a number of years before you are given the certificate.
Back at the winery, we start tasting. The different soils and vineyards are evident in the wines. They are all characterised by an elegant, clear minerality. They dance over your tongue like in a ballet.
Admittedly, I do have a weakness for sparkling wines. But Martin Conrad’s Mülheimer Sonnenlay from 2016 is really something special. 48 months sur lies has brought out aromas of bread and almonds. The flavour is fresh and clean. The typical minerals are there, but also a fruit bowl of citrus, lime, pink grapefruit, decorated with roses and orange blossom.
Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr GG Riesling trocken, a still wine from 2018 is on the other hand of a completely different character. Here the mouth is filled with flavours of forest honey, walnuts, almonds, and the flowers are almost overblown. A perfect wine for the cheese tray with the slightly heavier cheeses. At the same time, the wine displays the elegance, craftsmanship and freshness that I have learnt to associate with Martin Conrad.
There are a few bottles from this vineyard at home in my wine fridge. And yes, it is an exercise in self-restraint not to open them right now. But I know that if I am patient, I will be rewarded later. Because the quality wine that the Conrad family has made and is making is worth enjoying both now and in the future.
And I’m looking forward to the day I taking a sip of the wine, remembering standing by the big sundial, in the heart of Mosel
Europäische Sommelier Schule