2009 – near perfect conditions during the harvest
The winter of 08/09 was a reasonably cold one and an unusually long one t0o. Suddenly, just in time for the Easter Holidays, we were catapulted from winter to midsummer within days. The nicest Easter anyone could remember. The weather moved back to spring … as expected, but it was a very nice, long, gorgeous spring, that didn’t seem to want to end. Summer was sunny, gentle and warm – not hot, just easy and pleasant with little rain.
By mid August – when the grapes started to ripen, I started to worry: there had to be a major shift in the weather soon …. this couldn’t go on for ever …. this was just too good ! The grapes entered their most critical state, a state when they are most vulnerable. Rain can do a lot of damage at this stage, especially after such a long sunny and dry spell. Well, I think we were absolutely lucky – or did we deserve this ;-) ? Except for two rainy days in the earlier part of September the conditions for a wonderful harvest were great.
By late August it was a widely held concern, that we might get another 2003 harvest with low acidity levels even with Riesling. This made many growers, especially those who produce bulk wines, jump up and down and demand to be allowed to acidify - the request was granted.
We didn't acidify ( never have ! never will !)
On September 9th , we rushed to pick Morio Muskat ( a local grape ) and Mueller-Thurgau in order to preserve the acidity; all the other varieties had enough acidity.
Cool nights which set in from very early September on solved the problem – the acid metabolism in the grapes had slowed considerably.
We didn't need to chaptalize any of our wines either not even any Dornfelder. Dornfelder is very, very rare not to be chaptalized. Only in very special years did we get by without chaptalization and this only happened with selected parcels.
2009 is a very special year: great ripeness yet good acidity on all but the very early grapes. Fermentation was slow and our Grauburgunder and some of the late picked Rieslings and Scheurebe did not make it to dry. The quantity is generally below average due to the dry weather in August, September and half way through October.
As the yeast has settled in most wines now and as we can start to taste it appears that our high expectations will be met ;-)