Germany: Sachsen

Region to watch. How can they make wine this far north? Klaus Zimmerling is the standout grower here.

Klaus Zimmerling (Dresden) ORGANIC

Sachsen (Saxony) is Germany’s easternmost wine-growing region and one of its smallest, with vineyards clustered to the northwest and east of Dresden. The region has tended to produce mouth-puckeringly sharp whites. Klaus Zimmerling has re-written the script with a combination of tiny yields (20hl/ha), organic viticulture and perilously late harvesting. Klaus lives and works in the eastern outskirts of Dresden with his wife, Malgorzata Chodakowska, a successful sculptress. Her sculpture features on the label and changes each year.
Without doubt, Klaus is the finest winemaker in Saxony.

They met hiking in the Polish Alps 30 years ago. Klaus, originally from Leipzig, gave up his engineering job and they moved in together in 1992. They started with 1.5 hectares across the small road below their house and over time have bought another 3 hectares up the hill at their rear. The vineyard is Pillnitzer Koniglicher Weinberg. He makes Riesling, Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris/Grigio), Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc/Bianco), Kerner (a crossing from 1929 by August Herold of Trollinger, the red grape, with Riesling), Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir, which he vinifies as a white wine and a zero dosage Sekt), Gewurztraminer, Traminer and Muskateller. His wines are striking; dense and concentrated.