Johann Maximilian Lang (known as Hans) has been winemaker at his family's Hans Lang Wine Estate since 1972. Hattenheim is located in the unique wine-growing area of the Rheingau. Nestled between the rolling green Taunus hills and the Rhine River, its grapes ripen in optimal conditions.
The wide expanse of river at Hattenheim reflects the heat of the sun and moderates between night and daytime temperatures. Some of the finest examples of Rheingau wines are produced from grapes grown in the vineyards of Hattenheim. Indeed, the some of the vineyards are entitled to "Erstes Gewächs" classification, or Grand Cru Status.
If you thought German Wine was limited to the ubiquitous brands found on the bottom shelf of your local supermarket, then think again! The international awards that the Hans Lang wines have won are testament to their stunning quality and are all the more remarkable as they have been won for traditional German varietals such as Riesling and Pinot Blanc.
Hans, who studied oenology and viticulture at the renowned Geisenheim Wine Institute strives to produce the optimum fruit for his wine, using organic growing methods, restricted yields and selective hand-picking.
Hattenheim's ties to winemaking date as far back as Roman times. Most of today's vineyards were first mentioned in the Cistercian monastery, Kloster Eberbach's records, composed sometime before 1211.
Hans is a member of the Charta Association and makes an astonishing Charta Riesling, a VDP member, has achieved “Grand Cru” status and is a member of the Barrique Forum. His methods and passion exemplify what top quality German wines were meant to be.
"The terroir of the Rheingau is very special; nowhere else on earth are the climatic, geolocical and geographical features better suited to the traditional Rheingau varieties, such as Riesling and Pinot Noir. I strive to craft the highest quality wines, which I believe to be the ultimate expression of this terroir.
I feel that while a winemaker can possess many skills, good wine is essentially created in the vineyard. Organic methods are employed in our vineyards, the grapes are always harvested by hand and undergo strict selection to ensure only the healthiest fruit is used for our wines.
Optimum ripeness is the "holy grail" for me and so the harvest often takes place as late as November. To promote ripeness we also deliberately restrict yields. It is quality, not quantity, for which we strive.”
While the Rheingau may be most famous for its white wines, red wine has also long played an important role in the wine fabric of the region. To this end, Hans has devoted a considerable amount of his time and creative energies to producing sumptuous red wines from the Pinot Noir grape.
Indeed Hans is regarded as something of a pioneer in this field; he was the first winemaker in the Rheingau to employ small French oak barriques for the aging of his red wines and has been a member of the Barrique forum since 1995. Hans' quest for Pinot Noir perfection continues.
Temperature-regulated stainless steel tanks are used in the winery and certain wines benefit from aging in either traditional German oak barrels or small French oak barriques. Approximately 90% of production focuses on finely crafted dry wines, however, fuller wines such as Auslese, Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese and Eiswein made from ultra-ripe grapes are also a specialty.