The Gewürztraminer grapes for the late harvest “Joseph” benefitted from continuing autumn sunshine all the way into the last days of November. It was not until then that we harvested raisined grapes affected by the noble rot Botrytis cinerea. Because the nights were cool, the morning dew provided desirable fungus enough moisture to thrive well enough to penetrate the thick skins of Gewürztraminer. Water evaporated and the sugar and acid were concentrated. Thanks to unique soil characteristics, the vines were able to continue to get enough nourishment despite the prolonged dry weather.
The white whites that were harvested at the end of August and the beginning of September are now resting on their fine lees in our cellar. Yeasts are the winemaker’s most important labourers in the cellar because they transform sugar into alcohol. For this reason the winemaker is very attentive in ensuring that yeasts find an ideal environment during this phase. Once yeasts have done their work, they die off and millions of yeast cells, “lees”, fall to the bottom of the barrel. To make sure that they don’t solidify, they are stirred weekly in a process called “bâttonage”. This keeps the fine lees fresh and allows them to impart valuable flavour compounds to the wine as well as contribute to mouthfeel and harmonizing aromas.
The particularly pronounced bouquet of the white wines from the 2011 vintage is now apparent. The Weissburgunder (Pinot Bianco) exudes the delicate aroma of fresh apples, the Chardonnay is reminiscent of banana, the Pinot Grigio is like nuts and yellow fruit, and the “de Vite” blend has the fragrance of elderflowers. The Gewurztraminer impresses with the intense fragrance of roses, litchi and sweet fruit that is highlighted by wonderfully refreshing acidity.
The reds are developing so marvellously that we can claim an extraordinary vintage for Blauburgunder (Pinot Nero) and Lagrein. What nature has given us is now developing in our cellar.
Excellence requires patience!