GERMANY (Flonheim) – Rheinhessen, an apparently inexhaustible talent factory: Almost once a month, attentive observers of the scene get to know a young, hitherto unknown (male or female) vintner who is producing considerably good wines and who has the potential to achieve the top of Germany’s largest wine growing area during the next few years. As far our current candidate is concerned, it’s already his name that implies him to seize the opportunity, even though the starting conditions are not optimal.
In the summer of 2010, Mr. Kampf (struggle) – Patrick is his first name – joined his parents’ 12 hectare winery in Flonheim. By then, Hanspeter Kampf, Patrick’s father, had mainly worked in vinification and delivered the finished wines to bottling factories. He had almost no private customers. The bottles he filled himself were supposed for himself and for a small circle of regular customers, or they were offered on the occasion of wine festivals.
Patrick Kampf, the junior, knew very early that this business could not be his future, but that a good education is required before he can explore new paths. Looking back, his CV almost reads like a small wine Gotha (a German wine guide). He studied viniculture and enology in Geisenheim. Besides, he did some internships in renowned houses where he used to be or is part-time employed there, with his motivation always being to learn something and to soak up knowledge. In 2006 and 2007, he spent some time at the Wagner-Stempel winery in Siefersheim (Rheinhessen); in autumn 2007, he stayed with the Harford Family Winery in Sonoma County, California. Back home, he could extend his knowledge staying with the Fröhlich family at the Schäfer-Fröhlich winery in Bockenau an der Nahe. In autumn 2009, he choose the Wachau region, precisely F. X. Pichler, a top address in Loiben. Since 2010, the 26 year old has also been working at the Battenfeld-Spanier and the Kühling-Gillot wineries in Hohen-Sülzen/Bodenheim.
The 2011 vintage was the first one with which Mr. Kampf was able/allowed to implement his own ideas without any restrictions. He bottled six wines: Among them are four juicy, spicy estate wines made out of Riesling, Pinot blanc, Pinot gris and Scheurebe (this one being particularly fine) grapes, and in addition two local wines out of Riesling and Sauvignon blanc grapes. The Riesling shows mineral tones, is crunchy and goes down well. The Sauvignon blanc is downright complex, elegant with a long aftertaste, but needs air to develop fully. Then it is presenting itself like a first class wine from Styria or Loire wine. At a large competition of the MAINZER magazine, this wine won in the sorts of aroma category against numerous competitors. Others had realized the quality of this wine, too; as a result, he is “practically sold out, there are a few bottles left. But for 2012, too, things are shaping up well”, Patrick Kampf says.
In the starting year, he did not yet produce site wines. “In 2012, we will produce something from our Uffhofener La Roche top vineyard”, the young vintner showed himself convinced in autumn. Then, it is as well red wine that will complement his range of wines (20 percent of the vineyards). After his first, good experiences, he will not change anything in the cellar. Partially, he did the vinification without propagated yeast. His successful Sauvignon was vinified in 600 liter casks. The wines were not fined and remained on the fine yeast until the middle of May, 2012. Until the wine was bottled, it has only once been carefully filtrated.
Certainly, the winery will have to follow a dual-track policy during the next few years and cannot ignore its regular customers for open wines. First, it has to go around that a young Flonheim man is struggling with all of his power and producing very good, partially even great wines – particularly he is considering ecological criteria. He even gets help from the scene. Marc Weinreich from Bechtheim (whom we have already portrayed, too) recommended Patrick Kampf to us; this is the proof for the young, ambitious Rheinhessen vintners to lack false rivalry. (r.knoll)