A surprise - patience and hard work were more than rewarded!
The weather in 2012 brought with it many a surprise. January, for example, was rather spring-like before it turned frosty cold in February. Our vines withstood the frost unscathed.
Late bud burst. Due to variable weather in March and April, bud burst was relatively late - not until the end of April.
Early blossoming. Thanks to warm weather in May, Mother Nature picked up speed. Blossoming was a week earlier than usual and completed by mid-June.
Coulure and reduced yields. Despite favorable timing, the weather during blossoming in the first half of June was too cool and wet. In the Rheingau, this resulted in considerable blossom drop and deficient fruit set, and with it, naturally reduced yields.
Healthy, loose clusters. Coulure was a blessing in disguise, leaving us with loose clusters that were able to remain very healthy well into November. Even the damp weather in early summer didn’t adversely affect the grapes in our vineyards. Nevertheless, the long-term experience of our vineyard team, intensive foliage management, and plant protection measures were indispensable.
Very good ripening phase. The first signs of ripening could be seen in mid-August, about a week earlier than usual. Conditions for further development during the decisve ripening phase in late summer were excellent. Warm days fostered a rapid increase in Oechsle degrees, while cool nights helped stabilize acidity. In addition, berry skins were quite thick and extremely robust, which enabled clusters to remain healthy for an unusually long time.
Top harvest conditions. At the beginning of October, grapes were in nearly perfect shape – ripe, full-flavored, and absolutely healthy. Oechsle readings were about 85 degrees. Things could hardly have been better. Nevertheless, we were in no rush. We wanted to harvest perfect, physiologically ripe Riesling grapes. In our finest sites, we were rewarded with wonderful, golden yellow berries with 94° - 98° Oechsle.
Despite all euphoria and a qualitatively outstanding crop, we realized that something was missing. Selective harvesting continued well into November, yet precisely because the crop was exceptionally healthy, there were very few botrytized grapes. Yet here, too, we gave our all. Our efforts paid off: although the quantity was minimal, the quality of the grapes sufficiently ripe for lusciously sweet wines was quite high.
Unparalleled in the world - Trockenbeerenauslese, year for year, since 1989. We are happy that in 2012, we were once again able to harvest grapes of every quality category, including Trockenbeerenauslese and Eiswein.
Finesse, elegance, and subtle complexity. Vintage 2012 did not bring forth superlatives. The young wines show great delicacy. They are rather subtle in terms of fruit, substance, and complexity. Alcohol levels are somewhat lower than in the wines of the past three years, yet the new vintage wines are no less powerful and firm. With their delicate aromas and mineral finish, they reflect our vision of wines produced from grapes grown in the stony soils of our cool-climate, hillside sites. They are wines with great aging potential.