Werner Näkel - the wine educator
No matter which wine guide you open, whether Eichelmann, Vinum, Gault Millau or Falstaff - Meyer-Näkel is always at the forefront, not only on the Ahr, but throughout Germany.
5 stars Falstaff | 5 stars Eichelmann | 3,5 stars Vinum | 3 red grapes Gault Millau
Werner Näkel began his professional career in the teaching profession, a fact that his wife Claudia still likes to remind him of today, especially when he blasphemes about those teachers. What we understand today as the Meyer-Näkel winery began in 1982, when the sports and mathematics teacher Werner Näkel, the eldest of four siblings, took over the family business in Dernau.
The 80s - not a good time for wine from the Ahr
With the best will in the world, no glamorous episode of Ahrwein occurred during this period. Between the Eifel and the Rhenish Slate Mountains, it was not only weekend tourists who had fallen for wines that were weak in colour and tannin, and who had increasingly lowered the demands of the winegrowers on their own wines. Weiner Näkel had only scorn for these wines - "not to drink".
The Meyer-Näkel recipe - long maceration & small barrels
Werner Näkel literally carried out a revolution - he revolted and turned back. Back to the kind of wine his grandfather had once made. So he went there and started to mash it. He left the grapes on the mash for much longer and thus extracted much more of the power of the steep and expressive slate soils of the Ahr valley. After fermentation, the Meyer-Näkel wines were put into partly new, partly used barriques, which gave them even more complexity.
Seven years later - the Näkel calculation works
In 1989 the time had finally come and Werner Näkel reaped his first big success. With his 1987 Meyer-Näkel Pinot Noir he won the German Red Wine Award, which was to be followed by six more in the following decades. In addition to this prestigious award, Meyer-Näkel has also received laurels from the New York Times ("Germany's top red wine estate") and the highest rating from the magazine "Der Feinschmecker", which the winery has received time and again since 1996.
Besides the Meyer-Näkel wines from the Ahr, Werner Näkel has already realised two projects abroad, which are more than worth seeing. Together with Neil Ellis, top winemaker from near Cape Town, he founded the Zwalu Winery, in English "new beginning". The wines, wonderful Bordeaux-style cuvées made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, are so sought after that they are usually sold out before they arrive at the Dernau Winery.
But Werner Näkel considers his daughters Meike and Dörte much more important than projects around the globe. Both of them not only caught him after his heart attack, but also took over more and more the fate of the Meyer-Näkel winery. Instead of going to university, both set out to learn the winemaking and cooperage trades from scratch.
Top sites on the Ahr - one of the keys to great wines Together, the Näkel family creates Pinot Noir wonders of the highest order. They definitely have top sites at their disposal, including such renowned ones as the Dernauer Pfarrwingert or the Bad Neuenahrer Sonnenberg and the Ahrweiler Silberberg.
More than just Pinot Noir - the vines of the Näkels
Pinot Noir and Early Pinot Noir are, of course, the classics in the Meyer-Näkel vineyards. Furthermore, there are of course other grape varieties around Dernau, such as
In addition, two "Us de Kap" wines, a Chardonnay and a Shiraz, are produced by Neil Ellis on Zwalu Estate.