Joachim Heger’s 9,000cs winery lies in the Kaiserstuhl (literally “emperor’s chair”), a small volcanic group of hills in the Upper Rhine Valley in southwest Germany, northwest of Freiburg. Heger’s hometown of Ihringen enjoys the highest average temperature in Germany. So while some fine Riesling and Silvaner gets made here, it is really Pinot country. The three main vineyards are Freiburger Schlossberg (lively, nervy penetrating wines), Achkarrer Schlossberg (more forward, showy with lots of body and soil character), and Ihringer Winklerberg (finer, more elegant requiring more time). 60% of the wines are fermented in traditional oak barrels, while Riesling and Silvaner are done in steel. 90% of the wines are fermented dry and tend toward a reductive style. In a major move toward ecologisch (organic) winemaking, Dr. Heger has retained Claude Bourguignon, the famed French agronomist, as a consultant. The word on 2008: Rudi Wiest thinks these are the best Heger wines he has tasted in 10-15 years. The ‘08s show less alcohol than the ‘07s and terrific flavor. Look for future releases of these wines.