Hardly anyone has heard of the village of Wicker. It is part of the other bit of the Rheingau next to Hochheim where the River Main meets the Rhine and from whose slopes you can watch the planes on final approach to Frankfurt airport. Although wine has been in the Flick family since 1775, it is only now, through Reiner’s rising fortune, that Wicker is being put on the map. The family live in a renovated 13th century mill and outhouses, and work their 14ha of vines – scattered across 102 separate parcels in two villages. Jewels in their crown are the Wickerer Monchsgewann and Nonnberg (a monopole), Hochheimer Holle and, more recently, Victoriaberg, where Reiner spends much of his time working with the soil, trying to bring it alive. The wines have blasted their way onto the German wine scene over the past half decade. We found modern but stately wines here – sometimes with savoury herbal notes, such as thyme or lavender. Supercharged Rheingau, classical lines but definitely supercharged.
Reiner has unfathomable energy; running his winery, making wine, running events in their venue down the road, barbecuing for 300 guests, hunting in the forests near Frankfurt, making wild boar sausages, experimenting with new grape varieties (Cabernet Blanc?!), making barrels from wood felled from his own land, building a new cellar with a vaulted ceiling, putting in a light display to demonstrate the effect of different coloured light on the taste of wine…and so on.
Every time we visit, Reiner always has a new project. In 2010, we were almost as excited as Reiner that he managed to rent the vines in a small vineyard in Hochheim called Konigin Victoriaberg (Queen Victoria’s hill). This was Queen Victoria’s favourite wine and where the name Hock comes from (the British struggled to pronounce Hochheim so eventually referred to all Rhine wine as Hock). She was so taken with the wine that, on a visit to Germany in 1845, she asked to see it. She observed it from her carriage and, shortly after, the vineyard was named after her and a monument was built to commemorate the visit. It was great news that a grower of Reiner’s quality was now making wine from this legendary parcel.