Two months of the year 2001 - September and October - sorely tried vintners' emotions and decisively influenced the quality of vintage 2001.
First came September and with it, the seemingly endless rains that evoked memories of the problematic harvest of 2000 and threatened to jeopardize the positive developments of the spring and summer of 2001. Blossoming was timely even though temperatures were slightly cool. In June, July and August the weather was overall well balanced with regard to the amount of rainfall and average temperatures. As a result, ripening began early - for Riesling, in mid-August. It is certainly interesting to note that during the past decade, the development of the grapes has proceeded and the onset of ripening has occurred considerably earlier than in the four decades before.
Although many hopes were shattered during rain-soaked September, the weather changed course in October it was literally a "golden October" that had an extremely positive influence on must weights and enabled grapes to reach a very high degree of ripeness.
Indeed, the very high quality of vintage 2001 is due primarily to the positive developments during the month of October. The Rheingau sites at higher elevations with stony soils, such as those of Rauenthal, Hallgarten and Kiedrich, as well as Rüdesheim and Lorch, benefited in particular. The vineyards with heaver, water-retaining soils near the Rhine were afflicted with rot during the damp, warm weather at the end of September.
At Weingut Robert Weil we were able to harvest a very high proportion of Prädikat wines in 2001. As of late October, we achieved absolute top must weights in the individual Prädikat categories. We produced splendid dry wines from extremely healthy grapes with must weights of +/- 95° Oechsle as well as a full range of lusciously sweet wines, including Trockenbeerenauslese with must weights exceeding 200° Oechsle. On 14 December we harvested Eiswein with 180° Oechsle - and thus, for 13 years running, have succeeded in producing wines of every Prädikat level.
The young wines of vintage 2001 are extremely compact and rich in extract, and have a long finish. They show an elegant, very ripe acidity and a fine, fruity aroma. These wines will doubtlessly rank among the best of the past decade at Weingut Robert Weil.
Yields in 2001 averaged 48 hl/ha - considerably lower than the long-term average. The lower yields are not only the result of selective picking during the harvest, but also - and not least - due to quality-oriented vineyard measures practiced throughout the year.