“I think [there were] no benefits,” said Sybille Kuntz and laughed, triggering the equally hearty laughter of her husband Markus-Kuntz Riedlin. Speaking as a lone female winemaker in Germany in the late 1980′s, Sybille said, “I decided to do my own thing and set straight ahead. I ignored what they said.” Much like the pioneers noted in Eric Asimov’s piece on wine in the Research Triangle, “Finding A Home In the Hills“, Sybille, long the one-woman operator of Sybille Kuntz Estate in Mosel, also knows that “…the best sort of winemaking was itself an expression of agriculture.”
Posts from the ‘Germany’ Category
In the wake of this week’s political upsets emanating from the E.U., with the resignation of Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boiko Borisov and with the potential re-election of Silvio Berlusconi, it would seem that J.J. Prüm is one of the last standing stable institutions in the E.U., to offer consistency from year to year. With anywhere from 8 to 15 wines produced each year, J.J. Prüm relies on vintage to determine what wines are made. ”In some years,” said Katharina Prüm, “like 2006, there’s no Kabinett.” A humid, warm year, 2006 brought lots of botrytis, yielding excellent quality wines, but no Kabinett and very little Spätlese. However, despite these fluctuations in production, one can always be sure that an Auslese Wehlener Sonnenuhr will offer consistent depictions of the vineyard’s terroir despite the vintage, which is more than what can be said for the promises of politicians.
When it comes to products that we savor and ingest, there’s much to be said for integrity and commitment. After announcing its decision to water down or “lower the alcohol content” of its bourbon, big-brand Maker’s Mark recently reversed its decision after the public freakout that followed its announcement. Fueling the raging fire that forced Maker’s Mark team to recede, consumers expressed their ire via social media, in numbers that (continuously) challenge the role of traditional media. In the 1980′s, long before the public had found its voice in Twitter, Dr. Manfred Prüm of Joh Jos Prüm was mocked and ridiculed by journalists for his spontaneous fermentations. ”But he kept at it,” said Katharina Prüm, during last Friday’s luncheon, and now his peers, who have since followed suit, refer to him as the father of native yeast fermentations, “which is crazy,” she added, because the Romans have been doing it for centuries.
Wilhelm Valckenberg, the latest generation of this historic wine family
The following post is brought to you by Georgia Blume. Thanks Georgia!
When compared to the Old World, our history is pretty young, so having the opportunity to learn firsthand the history that led to the development of our Germany vineyards is pretty incredible. With records that date back to the 12th Century, the historic Prum family is currently represented by Johann Josef Prum, whose own estate (see below) was founded in 1911. Likewise, the Cistercian monks founded Baron Knyphausen’s current estate on the Rhine River in 1141, where wine has continuously been made through when his family bought the estate during secularization in 1803. In the 1300s those same monks brought Pinot Noir to Malterdingen, the site of Bernard Huber’s famous Spatburgunder estate, just as they did to Burgundy. But it wasn’t until the fifteenth century that the Capuchin monks from the Liebfrauenstift monastery started cultivating the famous Liebfrauenstift-Kirchenstück single vineyard, which Napolean sold to the Valckenberg family in 1808. This is the rich history that resonated through our tours and lectures when visiting the old estates pictured below.
A short while back, the husband and wife team, Sybille Kuntz and Markus Kuntz-Riedlin came to town to talk through and share their wines. From the Mosel region near Bernkastel, Sybille is a sixth generation winemaker who initially inherited a half a hectare of vineyards from her father. In 1984, she took over her father’s half acre and bought out her brother’s, and today, she and Markus own 10ha of prime vineyard parcels. As a female vintner in Germany who established her own estate, Sybille is dear friends with opposition and conflict. As a winemaking team that refuses to play by rules of this regional game, Sybille and Markus have redefined the box.
Lieser, 10. November 2011
Perfect vintage 2011
It’s super that we already had the Pinot Noir from Baden in the cellar before the Riesling harvest began in the Mosel. This gave us some time to preharvest our 30 acres of Riesling vineyards and to sort out the raisins from the bunches. This was very time consuming on the 70% steep sloped parcels, as the vines with original rootstock (from pre-phylloxera times) had lots of raisins.