Okt 25

VDP: Vintage 2011 – Feedbacks from Growers

Tag: Ländersigi.hiss @ 18:16

Selected Comments:

Ludwig Kreuzberg, Weingut Kreuzberg (Ahr):
We’ve registered high Oechsle degrees (Frühburgunder @ 89-97°; Spätburgunder @ <100°) as well as good acidity and pH values. During the last two weeks, pH values have stabilized and have hardly risen. In the Grosses Gewächs sites Sonnenberg and Schieferlay (Spätburgunder) and Hardtberg (Frühburgunder) everything  – with few exceptions – we harvested is suitable for GG status. Because clusters are perfectly healthy, almost the entire crop could be harvested. As such, quantities are good; in some sites, even above-average. The young wines show very good color; aromas are rich – full-bodied, juicy.

Familie Schlumberger-Bernhart, Weingut H. Schlumberger (Baden):
Status quo vintage 2011: healthy crop; good quantities; somewhat high must weights; acidity values are a bit too low; and terrific aromas. The speed with which ripening proceeded and must weights rose necessitated a rapid harvest.

Paul Fürst, Weingut Rudolf Fürst (Franken):
We’re in the midst of our Spätburgunder harvest and are bringing in completely ripe, small berries with a ripe acidity. We have high expectations for fine Pinots.

Karl-Heinz Rebitzer, estate manager, Fürstlich Castell’sches Domänenamt (Franken):
A roller coaster year with the words of Job at hand (“patience, faith, reward”) to master frost in May and hail in summer, yet a rewarding harvest. We began harvesting early ripening varieties on 12 September (the earliest ever). The quality is excellent, thanks to optimal weather during the “finale.” Healthy, ripe Bacchus and Müller-Thurgau grapes bode well for harmonious, elegant 2011 wines. Things are better than anticipated at halftime (i.e., halfway through the harvest): we expect to harvest about 80% of a normal-sized crop. We view it as a blessing after the worries of spring and summer…more or less according to the motto: all’s well that ends well. The cool, sunny days that are forecast help ease the pressure – we’ll harvest our Pinot Blanc and Silvaner at a leisurely pace during the next few days.

Uwe Matheus, Weingut Hans Wirsching (Franken):
Apart from losses due to frost damage (35-40% of a normal crop), we expect 2011 to be a very good vintage. All quality levels are possible, but there will scarcely be any simple QbA wines. We’re not experiencing any problems. Our grapes have fully ripened; Oechsle levels are 88-95°; and acidity values range from 9.5 to 11 g/l – in other words, ideal to date.

Ludwig Knoll, Weingut am Stein (Franken):
The start of this year’s harvest has proceeded perfectly. The weather is ideal. At this time, Müller-Thurgau and early ripening reds are being harvested. Early ripening varieties have moderate acidity and a decent level of ripeness (83-88° Oechsle), which is excellent for our entry-level wines. The crop is in good condition – ripe and completely healthy. We’ve seen an unusually high amount of wasp damage in conventional sites and nearly none in organically cultivated sites. Unfortunately, overall volume in Franken varies considerably due to frost on 4 May. Nevertheless, things are better than expected – the average yield of early ripening varieties lies at 50 hl/ha. At this time, I’m very pleased with aroma development – really very fruity and harmonious.

Steffen Christmann, Weingut A. Christmann (Pfalz):
Our harvest began well and in good time; quantities are reasonable (where there was no frost damage); quality is good. At this time, we’re harvesting Riesling and Spätburgunder. After the preliminary harvest, the state of the crop is very good and already completely ripe. There was some early rot, but this has stabilized – what remains now is very healthy; there are some signs of “noble rot” beginning to set in. Remarkable feature of the year: the 2011 crop ripened extremely early due to the mild, warm spring weather. It remains to be seen just how this vintage will compare with those of the past ten to twenty years.

Ralf Bengel, cellar master, Hessische Staatsweingüter Kloster Eberbach (Rheingau):
This year, the harvest in the Rheingau began exceptionally early (3-4 weeks earlier than usual). Because the grapes ripened so early, we began harvesting as of 12 September in the Rheingau (Spätburgunder and Riesling) and in the Hessische Bergstrasse region (also, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc). At this time, the grapes have an ideal ratio of must weight (sugar content) and acidity needed to produce harmoniously dry house wines. We anticipate harvesting grapes for higher quality wines and, perhaps, lusciously sweet wines, at the end of September. We feel it’s best to wait for the harvest to end and the musts to ferment before making a statement about the quality of a vintage. And that will be a while. But the outlook is good.

Christian Witte, Schloss Johannisberg (Rheingau):
At Schloss Johannisberg, we began harvesting Riesling this week. Must weights are good; acidity levels are within the range of a normal year, with a high proportion of tartaric acid; and volume is also good. We anticipate very harmonious, powerful wines. Due to the rain ca. eight days ago, the incidence of botrytis has increased. This, however, varies considerably from parcel to parcel. The weather during the past few days has enabled the botrytis-infested grapes to dry out, which bodes well for a very fine “noble rot.” Weather forecasts remain positive.

Michael Burgdorf, estate manager, Weingüter Geheimrat J. Wegeler (Rheingau):
The first Riesling grapes for our house wines were harvested on Tuesday, 13 September. Both quality and quantity were good. Grapes for our first selections had must weights of 80-86° Oechsle and acidity values of 9.2-9.5 g/l. In flatter sites, a preselection is necessary – then it’s possible to harvest healthy grapes. Even in “average” sites, we do a preselection of grapes (by hand) before starting to harvest. We see the beginning of botrytis in certain sites. Remarkable feature of the year: acidity values vary considerably among sites. Grape skins are slowly turning golden yellow and softening; the seeds are brown. Aromas have developed very nicely during the past few days.

Felix Prinz zu Salm-Salm, Weingut Rheingraf (Rheinhessen)
and Michael Prinz zu Salm-Salm, Schloss Wallhausen (Nahe):

In Rheinhessen, we began with the harvest during the week of 12 September. We harvested our Pinots first. All had Oechsle readings of between 85 and 94, with acidity values between 6.5 and 7.5 (i.e., healthy). The week thereafter (starting 19 September), we began with Riesling. Quantities are average. The crop is healthy. We are also doing a preharvest (weeding out what is not good).
At Wallhausen, we’re waiting a bit to begin.

Lotte Pfeffer-Müller, Weingut Brüder Dr. Becker (Rheinhessen):
After hail and rain on 5 September, the harvest began quickly, after which there was a smooth transition to the main harvest of early ripening varieties and the preliminary harvest of grapes for wines from classified sites and Erste Lage wines. We’re now harvesting Silvaner; the Pinots and Scheurebe have already been picked. Acidity values are good, still high enough for our delicate, fruity wines. In fact, the acidity is so ripe that there’s no need for any sort of adjustment. The crop is in good shape; we carefully and clearly make a preselection of grapes; grapes are harvested exclusively by hand; and all grapes that had been infested with botrytis earlier are sorted out. Vintage 2011 will yield light wines with consumer-friendly alcohol contents of 11.5-12%. The wines’ natural acidity will enhance their fruit structure. Remarkable feature of the year: frost, rain, and hail left their mark – as in 2010, the average must weights of this vintage will yield lots of Kabinett wines, which is something we’ve seldom seen during the past twenty years, but a positive development. In all, however, the harvest should take place in autumn and not already during summer.

Gerd Aldinger, Weingut Gerhard Aldinger (Württemberg):
The harvest started during the week of 12 September. Württemberg vintners anticipate a “normal” volume, i.e., some 20% more than in 2010. This year’s crop tends to be low in acidity, with an exceptionally high level of natural sugar. The grapes are in good shape; there’s little rot; and Oechsle levels range from 94 to 100 degrees, depending on grape variety. Thus far, aroma development has been terrific, and our Spätburgunder grapes have a fantastic color.

Michael Adelmann, Weingut Graf Adelmann (Württemberg):
We’ve just begun with the main harvest (Spätburgunder, Riesling). Must weights haven’t been this high since 2007 – Riesling now registers 90° Oechsle and above; Lemberger is perfectly healthy and also clocks in at 90°…here, we’re going to wait a bit before harvesting. Overall, our grapes are healthy despite recent rainfalls. The only exception would be low-lying sites in valleys. Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc sites suffered from frost damage in May; hail in July didn’t make matters easier. Yet, selectively harvesting by hand as a consistent practice can solve this problem. Remarkable feature of the year: the 2011 crop ripened extremely early, even earlier than 2003. In terms of volume, we anticipate up to 50 hl/ha. Berry-driven aromas and a harmonious acidity are the hallmarks of the young wines.

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