2016 Daniel Vollenweider Kröver Steffensberg Riesling Spätlese
Region: Germany, Mosel
Grape Varieties: Riesling
Semi-sweet, light-bodied white; apricots, tropical | Larb moo, and spicy too
Daniel Vollenweider only makes two wines in the Spätlese style: one from the Wolfer Goldgrube and the other from the Kröver Steffensberg plot. Spätlese is one of the levels in the German Prädikat system, which indicates the total grams of sugar in the grapes when they are harvested. At this level, grapes will yield off-dry wines. These sweet styles are what Daniel cut his teeth on as a young winemaker, and what earned him the plaudit of “Discovery of the Year” by the French restaurant guide Gault Millau in 2003.
In 1992, a young Swiss farmer called Daniel Vollenweider tasted a wine called 1990 Egon Müller Scharzhofberger Auslese. He certainly had no experience of winemaking, had no family connections to oenology and didn't know much about wine at this point in time. But that one bottle set him on an extraordinary path that has demonstrated his adaptability and creativity as a winemaker (and also at spinning a compelling yarn that downplays his earlier love for Burgundy and exorbitant asking prices in that region).
Over the next few years, Daniel frequently visited Germany's wine country, swotting up and scouring the best plots. Funnily enough, it was one of of these many internships that Daniel first met Analogue's Founder and Managing Partner, YiXin Ong and the pair struck up a life-long friendship.
In 1999 he made a life-changing investment in one hectare of vines in Wolfer Goldgrube. Goldgrube is a prime Mosel site planted with rare, ungrafted vines hovering around 80 years of age. Its value stems from its positioning on the steep, Southwest-facing outer bank on one of the sharp turns in the Mosel river, creating an inimitable natural suntrap. The site had once been one of the Mosel's darlings, but due to a lack of a modern champion had fallen out of consumer favour.
Together with the other winemakers in der klitzekleine ring, Daniel has now made it his mission to revive neglected old-vine sites such as this one. Over the last two decades he has acquired new sites such as the Kröver site. These younger vines benefit from the riverside location where they capture more of the sun's rays as they are reflected from the surface of the water.
Daniel's mission is simple and humble: due to the steep gradient in these vineyards, they have to be painstakingly farmed by hand year round. Daniel uses no pesticides or herbicides and vinifies his 100% Riesling wines in stainless steel tanks in a cellar under his house in the historic trading hub of Traben-Trarbach.
Find out more here.