The character of a vineyard is determined among other things by the soil with its thermal and hydrological characteristics and by climatic factors. In addition to the significance of the macro-climate the microclimatic conditions (differences in radiation, atmospheric cooling, wind pressure) play a decisive role. These in heir turn are dependent on the topography and landform (gradient and direction of slope, exposition). All these factors affect the development of the grapes and ultimately nature's part in the quality of the wine.
The basalt found in the soils around Forst acts as a thermal reservoir which radiates warmth slowly during the night and thus reduces the daily variations in temperature. In addition, these well-ventilated soils which warm up quickly allow the development of fruity wines rich in minerals and extracts.
Way back in 1828, the King of Bavaria, who ruled the Palatinate at the time, had a soil survey conducted of all vineyards. The top Forst vineyards achieved the highest points score between 55 and 65. One particular vineyard, the Forster Kirchenstück, scored the maximum possible 65 points.
In the 18th century, the inhabitants of Forst erected the present parish church of St Margareta on a hill in this vineyard. In the Bavarian land survey of 1830 the 'Piece behind the church' was awarded the maximu points score of 65 for the quality of its soil.
The Kirchenstück enjoys a unique climatic position thanks to its location on the edge of the village.
The soil consists of bundsandstein gravel with limestone gravel, sandy clay and basalt. The only grape variety grown here is the Riesling. The wines produced here are complex, with a veritable potpourri of aromas, are full of juice, with good minerality and keep for a long time. Now as then, the wine connoisseur appreciates wines from this most valuable location in the Palatinate.
In earlier times, the vineyards belonging to the Church played a most significant role in the development of viticulture.
Thus the name of this vineyard preserves the memory of a Jesuit order which owned land in Forst in 1764 and is counted among the champions of wine-growing. The soil consists of sandstone gravel, sandy clay and basalt. The tight layers of clay and sandstone ensure optimum hydrology and mineral absorption. The Rieslings are extremely fine and elegant, characterised by a harmonious interplay of acidity and minerality.
Unlike the names of the other vineyards, 'Pechstein' is of geological origin.
The only basalt occurring in the Palatinate, the basalt in Forst is called 'pitchstone' on account of its black colour. Thanks to the characteristics of the soil and the microclimate, the Pechstein Rieslings display an extraordinary degree of minerality. Tasting reveals a wine rich in filigree finesse, slender and long in taste. The aromas are reminiscent of citrus and flint.
"This Ungeheuer tastes monstrously good," Otto von Bismarck is supposed to have exclaimed on tasting this wine. This widely-known name actually dates back to a term from 1460 "Ungehuwer". The soil consists of buntsandstein, mixed with chalk sandstone gravel and basalt. The location in the middle of the slope affords protection from west winds, meaning that the grapes ripen more early, giving an optimum degree of ripeness. The main varieties grown here are Riesling and Scheurebe. The wines are distinguished by fine fruit with excellent minerality and enormous fullness.
The name dates back to "Am Frienacker" from 1460. The soil consists of bundsandstein gravel interspersed with lime. Because of the particular microclimate in this vineyard, the Riesling grapes ripen extraordinarily well. The wines always display a good structure, acidity and minerality.