Sparkling, fresh, OJ and grapefruit, juicy. The most complex mimosa you've ever had.
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From 15-30 year old vines planted on calcareous clay soils, the grapes were hand-harvested together in early october, allowed to macerate for eight weeks on skins with spontaneous fermentation in stainless steel lasting eight weeks. The wine spends six months on lees. Unfiltered.
Farming: Practicing organic
The Schloss Mühlenhof property is a large estate (nearly 20ha) spread across the slopes above Kettenheim, 3km south of Alzey. This size would seem reasonable, if not expected, considering the estate was started in 1846 and is now hosting the 6th generation. It began as a rye and wheat mill until the 1920s , when the small vineyard attached became the focus for the family income. The vines of that era have been replaced over time but some on the property are still as old as 45yrs. Now in the hands of Gabriele, Nicolas and Walter Michel, the farm operates ‘organically’ but not by any legal standard. They follow what they call, ‘ecologically healthy’ farming practices, with the intent on capturing the fruity expression of the Rheinhessen style. The vineyards are worked heavily in August to reduced yields (green harvesting), cutting nearly 1/2 of their fruit. Grapes are vinified to preserve freshness while revealing depth and concentration. Considering the size of the harvest, they are experts at doing just that. The cellar does not abide by natural law. Selected yeasts, electronically monitored steel tanks, pumps and SO2 are used judiciously to hone the wine to purity and freshness. Knowing their soils for so long (mostly limestone combinations), the family does capture a clear minerality and a distinct spirit from each varietal, from parcels as small as .4ha.
The Michel’s final act (perhaps their expertise) in the cellar, brings multiple tanks together, each with their strongest asset to form deliciously drinking, full flavored wines with a direct link to the Rhienhessen region. Provided the Michel’s continue in this way, there will be no shortage of this kind of wine along the Rhine, for the generations to come.
Grapes: 60% Müller-thurgau, 15% Riesling, 10% Weisser Burgunder, 5% Grauburgunder, 5% Sankt Laurent, 5% Muskatelle
Müller-thurgau was developed as a cross in 1882 by a doctor Herman Muller, born in the Swiss canton of Thurgau, but then working at the German viticulutural station at Geisenheim. His aim was to combine the quality of Riesling with the reliability of Sylvaner. DNA profiling now places this grape as the offspring of Riesling with a now extinct table grape called Madeleine Royale of unknown parentage.
Riesling is the great vine variety of Germany. Riesling has suffered in an era when 'buttery oaky" has been the desired characteristics in respected and highly valued whites.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the name Riesling was debased by being applied to a wide range of white grape varieties of varied and doubtful quality. It has also been associated with sweetness and lacks the please-all qualities of Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay
Today, thanks to climate change and more widespread determination to increase quality in wine, fine dry Riesling is common in Germany. But while the average residual sugar in Riesling is declining fast, the variety is distinguished for its ability to produce great sweet wines due to it's naturally high level of tartaric acid, which provides a dependable counterbalance to higher residual sugars.
Weisser Burgender is German for pale-skinned grape variety, pinot blanc. Pinot Blanc is a historically French Variety, first observed in Burgundy at the end of the 19th century. It is a white mutation of Pinot Gris (which is itself a lighter berried version of Pinot Noir). Although it originated in Burgundy, today it is found all over Europe. Pinot Blanc is notable for it's piercing aroma and perfumed notes.
Grauburgunder is the German synonym for Pinot Gris, used for the increasingly popular dry wines made in Germany. Pinot Gris is more widely known as Pinot Grigio, and produces soft, gently perfumed wines with more substance and color than most whites.
Sankt Laurent (St-Laurent) is the name of a black grape variety that is thought to be related to Pinot Noir and is most commonly encountered in Austria. It is capable of producing deep-colored, velvety redswith sufficient concentration to merit oak ageing.
Muskatelle (Muscadelle) is partially responsible for the sweet white wines of Bordeaux. It has ancient origins in Southwest France, and has a parent-offspring relationship with Gouais Blanc. It can demonstrate a certain green "tang" but is used almost exclusively in blends, adding youthful fruitiness
Rheinhessen is a huge varied region SXSW of Mainz with over 65,000 acres of vineyard. Most of the Rheinhessen is protected from winds and excessive rain by the hills on its western border which rise to over 2,000 ft. But the temperature in the the vineyards nearest the river Rhine is warmer throughout the year than that of the rolling ountry away from the river, and in severe winters they avoid the worst effects of frost, loess, sand. A significant number of Germany's pioneers in organic and biodynamic viticulture have come from the ranks of Rheingessen growers, further helping to attract attention to the region.
Tasting notes: Sparkling, fresh, OJ and grapefruit, juicy
Recommended pairings: The closest thing to mimosas in a bottle, try with any brunch fare