No one has met Dr. Ulrich Stein (“Ulli” to those who love him) without developing a slight crush on the guy. He is brilliant, passionate, incredibly fun, perhaps a bit manic, and does nothing that is easy or obvious.
Ulli is a true bohemian. He and his wife live in a beautiful inn on the top of a mountain overlooking the Mosel. While the inn doesn’t really function as an inn (you can’t actually book rooms there), it’s always filled with people – a random assortment of thoughtful eccentrics, famous musicians and artists, a couple just back from photographing Jewish delis in New York, a family making a month-long journey from Berlin to Sicily and back. The common thread? They all love Stein wine; they all love Ulli.
Ulli specializes in the absurd and the sublime. He farms meaningful parcels of land that have a few important things in common: They are not easy to work. They are commercially unknown. Most importantly, Ulli loves them.
Winemaking with Ulli is refreshingly light on “style,” on some idea projected into the vineyards; it’s about what the vineyards say to him. Certainly there is a focus on wines that are dry; lightness and zip are more important than gobs of fruit. Complexity is good, but not at the expense of the whole – better to be simple and well done than overdone and, well, a mess. Cut is more important than size.
Paramount to it all: A happy vineyard, a happy customer, a good bottle of wine, laughter.