With two very difficult years behind we were really counting on this year’s harvest. All signs were promising. Unlike the baby vineyards the older ones had survived another year of drought surprisingly well and just before harvest kicked in there was a bit of rain so the berries were juicy but still far away from any rot. A hungry, fresh crew just had arrived and foreseeing a very tight picking window for the ripening sweet spots I envision we started picking right away. With acid levels being low at the beginning of harvest already looking back it was a wise decision.
So as almost every year we kicked things off in the Bacchus end of August. The sunburn had left some serious damage but the vineyard was performing so well this year, there was still plenty to pick. Even enough to make a Bacchus Pet-Nat again. It’s been a while since that was possible the last time, 2018 was the last time.
Our Domina vineyard (where the grapes for the Black Betty grow) was performing particularly well and ended up being a wonderfully wild, fast and reductive ferment, just in 2019 which was a lovely vintage (as the New York Times found at least).
With acid levels dropping further it became a challenging game of prioritizing the vineyards that don’t have blending options available. Like the Schwarzriesling (Pinot Meunier) supplying the grapes for our red Fledermaus and the Bat-Nat. The grapes were healthy, super juicy, full of tension. Not an overwhelming yield but fantastic fruit.
One by one all the Müller-Thurgau came in as well, a second batch of Bacchus for a skin ferment and the Regent too. Days were still really warm and an early start needed to not roast too badly in the burning afternoon sun. We had gotten into a steady rhythm of picking six days a week, at a good pace but not hectically, a few summery evenings of processing but no long nights.
And straight after the “early” varieties were picked Silvaner was on. Silvaner harvest also defines the picking time for our traditional field blend, the Frentsch. Last year we had just enough for a barrique but this year, six years after planting, we got a serious amount. The vineyard’s still young, some varieties maybe a bit underrepresented, but the diversity is breathtaking. Finding the sweet spot between rotten Muskateller or Gewürztraminer and underripe, sour Riesling is a challenge but I think we did well this year. A short skin ferment as I like to do it with the Grauburgunder was the vinification of choice to extract some color (blue Silvaner, red Muskateller, Spätburgunder, Grauburgunder) while maintaining a slightly fruity profile. The wine has finished Malo already and it’s very promising. Just imagine having all these grapes mixed in a glass:
Certainly another highlight was the Heimat Silvaner which had also extraordinary fruit to pick. We left the destemmed grapes outside for two nights – it started getting cold in the evening – to give it a bit maceration before the ferment kicked in. When it got inside it was ice cold but fermentation kicked in within hours and was finished a few days after. This wine really benefits from the hot summers we’re experiencing more and more often and shows an unusual depth and density in the cellar already.
The Grauburgunder was struggling a bit more with the drought in the sparse middle of the hill but is otherwise also close to the hot 2019 which was a beautifully rich and colorful vintage defining the Weinschwärmer. And quicker than we thought everything was in and just the Riesling was left to pick which also performed really well compared to the last years.
After four weeks things started slowing down significantly as we were bringing in apples (the orchard didn’t have many to offer this year) and prepping vineyards for the next season already.
Decent quantities, healthy grapes, happy people – it was a good harvest.
Thank you everybody for having been part of this vintage ❤️