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Details for Weegmüller 'Der Elegante' Riesling trocken

AppellationHaardter Mandelring Kabinett trocken
Weingut Weegmüller
(click to find out more)


Germany’s second-largest wine region, the vineyards of the Pfalz (Palatinate in English) stretch for 80 km along the eastern foothills of the Haardt Mountains.  In effect it’s a northerly extension of France’s Alsace region.  At the southern end of our map you can see the border following the Rhine, with the Vosges mountains parallelling it to the west.  That’s Alsace.  North of Strasbourg the border turns abruptly left but the river and the Vosges mountains (now called the Haardt range) continue north.  This is the Pfalz.
Thanks to the rain shadow of the mountains, this is the driest and sunniest of Germany’s wine regions, just as Alsace is in France.  The grape varieties are mostly the same, and the wines are noted for their full-bodied dry style (by German standards, anyway) that is closer to that found south of the border than to the rest of Germany.
One point of difference is the prevalence of red wine.  Over 40% of the grapes planted are black (compared to 10% in Alsace) with Dornfelder now the second most planted variety after Riesling.  Few of the reds (and rosés) produced here are exported, however, being drunk enthusiastically by the Germans themselves.  You’re much more likely to see Riesling, Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris) and Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc).

Weingut Weegmüller

Originally from Zurich, the Weegmüller clan moved to the Pfalz from Switzerland in 1657 and began producing wine in 1685.  They’re the oldest producer in the Pfalz, and are still family-owned and run.  11th-generation Stefanie Weegmüller-Scherr is owner and winemaker, while her sister Gabrielle Weegmüller handles marketing and exports.
Wine in Germany is curiously male-dominated; when Steffi took over the family business 25 years ago, she was the only female winemaker in the region.  Her success has been instrumental in changing attitudes and persuading other women to try their hands at the profession.
The winery and its 14 hectares of prime vineyards are situated in the village of Haardt near Neustadt, at the southern end of the Mittelhaardt sub-zone that is acknowledged as the best part of the Pfalz.  They produce a range of Rieslings, both dry and sweet, along with whites from Pinot Gris, Scheurebe, Gewürztraminer, Sylvaner and Rieslaner.  A recent experiment with the Austrian grape Grüner Veltliner is also yielding exciting results.

about this wine About this wine

There has been a bit of a Teutonic theme running through our last few wines.  First we had a Gewürztraminer from France’s Alsace region, which used to be German-speaking.  Then we drank Lagrein from Italy’s Alto Adige, where most still have German as their first language.  And this week we’re in Germany proper, drinking the greatest of German grape varieties, Riesling.
There’s another thing all three wines have in common: the effects of rain shadow cast by high mountain ranges.  Alsace, Alto Adige and Pfalz are all the driest and sunniest wine regions in their respective countries, though not the warmest, and they have the mountains to thank.  In the case of Alsace and Pfalz, it’s even the same mountain range, although it changes name from Vosges to Haardt as it crosses the border.
This wine comes from the Mandelring vineyard near the village of Haardt where Weingut Weegmüller are based.  In fact its official name under German wine law is Haardter Mandelring Riesling Kabinett trocken 2014, Pfalz.  German wine law is nothing if not precise!
Kabinett implies this is a Prädikatswein: one made from grapes ripe enough not to need added sugar, and within that from the normally-ripe, not late-harvest category.  Most Kabinett wines will be off-dry and less strong than this one, but trocken means dry, so this one is allowed no more than 9 grams per litre of residual sugar, and then only if the acidity is high enough to balance it out.  The formula is Residual Sugar <= Acidity + 2, measured in g/l.
If more of the sugar has been turned into alcohol then the wine will be stronger: this one is 11.5%, which is modest by most standards but strong for a Kabinett.  This wine has 8.3 g/l residual sugar, which is about the same as the Dopff Gewurtz from two weeks ago which was noticably off-dry.  But Gewurz is a low-acid grape that also tastes inherently sweet; the acidity on this Riesling should be sufficient to make it taste dry.
Weegmüller farm their vineyards organically, although they aren’t certified.  Organic viticulture is very rare in cool, damp, northerly Germany, and is a testament to how dry, sunny and therefore disease-free Pfalz vineyards are.  To reduce yields a “green harvest” was performed, picking and discarding the less promising-looking bunches early in the season, so the vines could concentrate their energies on those that remained.
The wine was fermented in large old oak barrels, and then aged for six months in more of the same.

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