Kloster Fahr’s Discretio, a Federweiss, is a red wine from Rheinhessen, Germany. So is their Pinot Gris.
Surprised? Well, this is what wine app Vivino tells us. Per chance I happen to know better. Federweiss is a white, so is Pinot Gris, and Kloster Fahr is not to be found in Rheinhessen, nor in Germany.
Let me start by saying that it is not Vivino bashing I am after. I don’t use the app, nor any other wine app for that matter (though that may change). I suppose, as Vivino is community-driven, that mistakes like these will be corrected in time. I’ll correct this one here, as I feel sorry for Kloster Fahr, a community-driven institution itself, but in a less virtual world (or is it?).
Kloster Fahr is situated in a secluded spot in the otherwise crowded valley of the Limmat, a few miles from Zurich, Switzerland. It is a beautiful, sweet place, this monastry for female Benedictines, and of a far more humble nature than the male headquarters in Einsiedeln. Where the male Benedictines proudly present their much pilgrimaged Black Madonna and their famous Vesper service with a (mildly) polyphone Salve Regina, the nuns at Kloster Fahr make do with sacred textiles and bottles of, among others, Discretio, Laudate, Nocturna, and Gaudeamus.
Gaudeamus igitur, as these bottles contain Federweiss, Pinot Gris, Regent, and a sparkling wine respectively, made from their own grapes. The ladies, old and young, do the harvesting (Wümmet), the rest of the job is done in their commission by cellar master Roland Steinmann.
Wine has been serious business here since 1130, the 4,2 hectares of Kloster Fahr (“ir eygen fruchtbar Gut, das man nempt Var mit der Capellen”) now providing more than they need for celebrating mass. Beside common grapes like Riesling x Sylvaner and Pinot Noir they grow Dornfelder, Zweigelt, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. Some are elevated on wood, e.g., their flag ship Monacha Pinot Noir Barrique (too much so to my taste, though some customers like it even more oaky, so Steinmann told me). The Discretio, an off-white white of Pinot Noir (Federweiss, a common thing in German-speaking Switzerland, not to be confused with German Federweißer, a young, fermenting wine), is an excellent Apéro and not too sweet. The Laudate is an agreeable, soft-spoken and off-dry Pinot Gris. Their Nocturna Regent, my favourite, is dark purple with notes of plums, black olives and vanilla.
Whatever Vivino makes of these wines, in neutro genere vinum est divinum, especially when made by nuns.