THE EASIEST IS ALWAYS THE HARDEST
The easier a dish appears to be, the more complex the perfect preparation is.
Japanese sushi, Neapolitan pizza, Texan BBQ, Books about these (seemingly) simple classics can fill entire libraries. Great depth in knowledge and years of experience is necessary to bring such dishes to absolute perfection. How could it be any different when it comes to wine?
RIESLING WINE ESTATE AT THE HEART OF THE RHEINGAU
The winery is nestled in the heart of the Rheingau, or more specifically, in the town of Oestrich. Andreas and Bernd Spreitzer have been following the family tradition since 1997. Their signature is unmistakable, bridging the gap between subtlety and concentration in their wines. Delicate, elegant and artfully subtle on the one hand and concentrated, compact and long-finishing on the other. A balancing act!
Today the Spreitzer family cultivates around 24 hectares. Riesling is clearly the focal point. Nearly 95% of their vineyards are planted with this multifaceted grape variety. Approximately 5% is home to Pinot Noir grapes. A rather typical ratio for the region. No other winegrowing region in the world that has such a high concentration of a single grape variety as the Rheingau has the Riesling.95% Riesling
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The climate of the central Rheingau is characterized by scores of water veins and the gentle slopes of the Rheingau Mountains, which can be seen as a silhouette on the Spreitzer wine labels.
Here, all around our hometown Oestrich, the growing conditions for Riesling grapes are perfect. And the essence of excellent wines is excellent grape quality. Committing to careful, intensive care of the vineyards year round is of utmost importance. Bernd and Andreas Spreitzer place great value on working closely together with nature, including cover crops in the vineyard alleyways to regulate microclimate. Every other alleyway between the vine rows is kept green throughout the year, and in the winter grains are often sown as well. The vines are pruned back rigorously, limiting the number of grape bunches any vine will bear and, thus, enhancing their quality.
WINE IS CRAFTSMANSHIP
The bulk of the grapes are selected and harvested by hand so the Spreitzers can be sure that only perfect clusters of grapes land in the wine press. What does that mean exactly? To accomplish their wine style the brothers need fully ripened, healthy grapes rich in extracts. The first step to top-quality fruit is the abovementioned yield reduction. The second essential step is choosing the perfect time to harvest. Traditionally the Spreitzers belong to that group of winegrowers which harvests at the very end of the season – even though the autumn weather conditions can sometimes be quite a hassle. It is extremely important to keep a constant, watchful eye on the grapes in these last weeks of harvest. As vineyard manager, Andreas, together with his team, is in the vineyards from morning till evening, checking the health and development of the grapes in each individual vineyard parcel and staying always one step ahead. At the same time the Spreitzers are in close contact with the local weather offices so they will never be surprised by a sudden rainstorm. The late harvest ensures grapes of optimal physiological ripeness – the foundation for outstanding wines!
The grapes generally undergo whole-cluster pressing. Having spent as much time on the vines as possible, the grapes are especially rich in extracts and the skins are relatively thin – a long maceration time would then be counterproductive. By allowing a natural clarification of the must after pressing, Bernd and Andreas reduce the clouding and bitter substances in the wine from the very start and enable the natural expression of the fruit. Then the must is put into large German oak barrels or stainless steel tanks for fermentation. For the brothers it is vitally important to give the wines plenty of time to develop, so they approach the task of fermentation with great purpose. Later the young wines are carefully tasted and perfected in the cellar. It is a process the entire team spends much time on, and they are the most exciting and intense weeks of the year. It’s the prize for a year’s long, hard work in the vineyards!
AT ONE WITH NATURE
The Spreitzer winegrowers are farmers and, as such, completely dependent on the whims of nature. It is a daily lesson in humbleness and respect. Bernd and Andreas work closely together with nature and are set on keeping their CO2 footprint as small as possible. Several years ago they converted the in-house energy system to photovoltaics and geothermal energy and are now completely free of natural gas or heating oil use in their buildings.
Geothermal energy is as fascinating as it is interesting. The process works by way of a thermal ground probe set deep into the earth. The probe is basically a U-shaped tube loop containing a convector fluid which extracts heat from the earth. The heat is transferred to a heat exchanger and is delivered via a heat pump for use as needed.
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