There is so much to tell about our “Drama Queen” Riesling ( see Riesling Part 1
) that we have to split the content over two pages. Today we're going to talk about history and aging. To say it straight away: for once, young people are NOT in the lead here! :-)
How long has Riesling been around?
The name Riesling was mentioned for the very first time in a letter dated March 13, 1435, what it was... an invoice! Klaus Klein Fisch (nice name) calculated Count Johann IV von Katzenelnbogen (even nicer!) various Riesling vines that were planned for his newly built castle in Rüdesheim in the Rheingau. You can therefore enter March 13th in your calendar as #rieslingbirthday !
The Riesling grapes are comparatively small, and their frost resistance and long ripening period indicate a relationship with wild vines . In addition to the taste, this robustness and adaptability to the northern (continental) climate were certainly the main reasons why the sovereigns in the 17th and 18th centuries recommended Riesling at the highest level. These included the electors of the Palatinate (clever men).
And so began the triumphal campaign of Riesling . At the beginning of the 20th century, Riesling was so popular that it ranked above French red wine internationally, but sales plummeted when the world wars began. The good reputation has only been rebuilt in the last few decades. Today, Riesling is not only the most popular white wine variety in Germany, but has also regained its place in the top wine rankings internationally.
Where does the name Riesling actually come from?
This is still a mystery, but there are plenty of theories: some say it has something to do with rusling (= dark wood), others suspect "torrent acid" or "trickling down" as the basis. In Baden, the Riesling also goes by the name “Klingelberger”, and there is also a “false friend”, the Welschriesling . This comes from Austria, Italy or Slovenia and has nothing in common with our Riesling. If you want to read it scientifically, you can find the article by the name researcher Prof. Dr. Jürgen Udolph on the Riesling etymology.
And how old should a Riesling be?
The answer to this question is simple (for once, all wine critics agree): Old. As old as possible. In fact, top Rieslings can be stored almost indefinitely. This is due to the fruity acidity, which develops over the years and strengthens the terroir, i.e. the character of the wine. It is not for nothing that the most expensive wines in the world are mature German Rieslings.
For this reason, our new premium Riesling vintages are only released for sale from October of the following year . This means they lie longer on the yeast and have time to develop their flavor facets even after bottling. You may have noticed in the last newsletter: Our special packages included the 2021 vintage as a brand new item. Because we have to wait until next autumn for the 2022 vintage!
Since we (the “young counts” Peter & Jürgen) have entered the winery, we have created a very special corner in our winery: our treasure chamber. Here we have put a few bottles aside from each Riesling vintage in order to use precisely these effects and to be able to taste our wines in a long-term comparison. After a short time, we realized that our premium wines have a lot of potential when they mature - and apart from that, it's extremely exciting to literally taste the different weather conditions every year. Here is a brief overview of the last few years:
Spring: The vines sprout at the end of March, clean blossoms at the beginning of June with optimal weather.
Summer: moderate temperatures (annual average day: 15.49°C), cooler nights ( ø 9.14°C), relatively large amounts of precipitation (approx. 871 liters of rain per year).
Autumn: sunny, cool nights, no rain.
CONCLUSION: fresh, strong acidity, sparkling and fine in taste.
Spring: The vines sprout at the end of February, the vine blossoms have faded slightly ( means that the blossoms are not fully pollinated ) in mid-May.
Summer: more Mediterranean climate, hotter days ( ø 17.06°C) & warmer nights ( ø 10.51°C) in summer, less precipitation (approx. 678 liters of rain per year).
Autumn: Summer temperatures, lots of sunshine, warm nights, no rain.
CONCLUSION: Less acid than 2021 (2021 on average 8.2 g/l; 2020 on average 7.7 g/l), but a little more sugar and therefore a little stronger.
Spring: The vines sprout at the beginning of March, the vine blossoms fade somewhat (= fewer grapes per vine ) at the end of May.
Summer: more Mediterranean climate, hotter days ( ø 16.97°C) but cool nights ( ø 10.21°C), less precipitation (approx. 702 liters of rain per year).
Autumn: summery temperatures, sunny with days of rain, cool nights.
CONCLUSION: Acidity similar to 2020 (average 7.8 g/l), a little more sugar and therefore also stronger, emphasized fruit aromas.
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