GermanWineEstates - The Site for German Wine Lovers

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This website is devoted to a selection of fine wine estates from Germany, whose wines are available in the United States through wine importer and distributor, Slocum & Sons, located in North Haven, Connecticut. This portfolio has been created by Eric Litchfield, the company's Import Sales Director, who has spent considerable time selecting producers that define today's highest standards of wine making. Mr. Litchfield's philosophy is allowing the wine producer and nature to harmonize equally, utilizing sustainable agriculture, organic and biodynamic farming to reach the purest expression of grape varietal, microclimate and terroir, yielding wines of supreme balance and elegance.

It is the objective of this website to provide comprehensive data about these fine wine estates as well as other aspects of the German wine industry, including: current news, understanding German wine labels, wine region information and vintage reports. It is our goal to make GermanWineEstates, information and vintage reports. It is our goal to make GermanWineEstates, The Site for German Wine Lovers.
Wine Estate of the Month
Tidbits of Information



Freiherr von Schleinitz estate is recognized as one of the top estates in the region. The high quality of the wines is continuously confirmed by awards and medals received in regional and national as well as international competitions. Come visit the estate and let us show you the quality in every glass of wine we make.

History
The Hähn family has been in the wine business since 1650. In 1892 Peter Hähn moved to Kobern and started a small winery. In 1956 his grandson Karlheinz Hähn expanded the winery by buying the Freiherr von Schleinitz estate and merged the two keeping the von Schleinitz name.

He started to expand the business by being a negociant but developed his vineyards at the same time. Focusing on his own production and quality the negociant part of the business was reduced and eventually eliminated as the estate grew and became recognized for quality.

The winery received more and more attention for its quality and achieved a national award in 1979. At that time Konrad Hähn, the son of Karlheinz and now owner of the estate, was already involved with the winemaking and is continuing the devotion to quality started by his father. The quality focus of the winery was confirmed by two additional national awards in 1995 and 2001. Weingut Freiherr von Schleinitz is certainly regarded as a leading winery in the area.

Konrad is not only an ambitious winemaker, but also serves on several honorary tasting and review committees. He also supports the cultural life of the region by being a leading member of the Summer Theater, which is located in his wine restaurant Winzerhof von Schleinitz.

Our Wines
Year round care and intensive work in the vineyards are the basis for ripe and healthy fruit, a necessity for high quality wines. Wine making knowledge gained over generations and modern technology used for the gentlest handling of the grapes and wine lead to the high quality von Schleinitz customers have enjoyed and come to expect over the years. Highest quality - ripened in nature and captured in a bottle.

Grape Varieties
The slate soil on the steep terraces provides perfect conditions for the late ripening Riesling grape, so we focus with 90% of our plantings on this great grape varietal. In this unique environment, Riesling produces world-class wines with a wide spectrum of aromas, fine fruitiness and a unique minerality in various styles from dry to fruity. The noble sweet wines are considered the finest in the world.

Since 1988 the remaining 10% of the vineyards are planted with Pinot Noir (Blauer Spätburgunder). Pinot Noir's unique ability to reflect the slate soil and warm climate provides very flavorful yet delicate red wines with a red fruit focus and a light to medium body showing elegant minerality.

Vineyards in the Best Sites of the Valley
In this most northern part, the Mosel valley is very narrow and the vineyards very steep. The warm micro climate and the use of terraces along the south facing slopes allows the vines to grow to full ripeness despite the northern location. The use of machinery is impossible and all work including harvesting is done by hand.

The UHLEN vineyard is one of the steepest vineyards in the Mosel valley. Facing directly south, it receives the most intense sun exposure in the region. This and the low 
precipitation based on the poor soil result in always low yields making for intense wines reflecting the mineral elements of the almost reddish soil consisting of clay and slate. Konrad Hähn uses the grapes of this vineyard mostly for his dry (trocken) wines. These wines are very full-bodied and are great to sip on or wonderful with poultry, veal, rabbit, seafood, steamed fish, raw bar, sushi etc.

The WEISSENBERG vineyard is facing southeast and has deeper soil and more weathered slate. Here the wines are more minerally and fleshy. They tend to be more elegant and fruit-focused. The grapes are mostly used to produce medium dry and sweeter style wines. Most of the late harvest and dessert wines come from this vineyard.
Vintage 2014 in Germany
Information supplied by Johannes Selbach, owner, Selbach-Oster
- 26 January 2015-

Growing season:
The winter of 2013/2014 was extremely mild. Little frost we had in the wine regions, it was not a severe cold and the few cold spells did not last long enough to freeze the soil nor kill pests.The warm winter gave way to an early and warm spring throughout Southwest Germany. Budbreak was very early, so was flowering and growth of the berries to pea size. From March through June, temperatures were higher and the precipitation was lower than the 10-year median. Flowering occurred under perfect, very warm if not too hot day and warm night temperatures and the onset of fruit was excellent, indicating the potential for a full crop. By the end of June the sum of accumulated heat degrees indicated we might have a record warm year, even on the 100 year scale. At the same time the vineyards in almost all of Germany were dealing with drought stress. The long awaited rain came in July, the temperatures remained very warm. August turned to be a cool and wet month. The first half of September, too, stayed cool and wet. The temperatures warmed up in the second half of the month, humidity levels remained high. The grapes caught up nicely from both drought stress in June and cold weather in August and, at the end of September, were thin-skinned and building up good sugar levels. While this was good news, there was bad news by means of a new pest and the lingering, high humidity in combination with very warm weather.

Harvest:
The total German harvest is estimated at 9.242,000 hectoliters (1 hl equals 100 liters). 2013 yielded 8.432,000 hectoliters and the average of 2004-2013 lies at 9,165.000 hectoliters. The two largest regions, Pfalz (2.225,000 hl) and Rheinhessen (2.550,00 hl) had large, stable crops in ’14, almost identical with 2013 and with the 10 year median. The Mosel came to 895,000.00 hl, up significantly over ’13 and 8% above the 10 year median. This was due to a large crop of the ancient “Elbling” grapes in the southern part of the Mosel with abundant yields while the traditional, steep Riesling vineyards of the middle and the lower Mosel produced significantly lower yields and an overall much smaller crop.

While farming practices and foliage work made a difference everywhere, the local and regional microclimate weighed in more pronouncedly in 2014 because of significantly different intensity and quantity of rainfall (even hail, see before) in the 2nd half of September and in October.

Harvest started under fine conditions with a warm, dry period from 20th September until the 6th of October. Much of the crop of the premium varietals (Pinot family, Riesling) in the South was brought in during that time. The majority of the northern regions (Nahe, Mosel, Rheingau, Mittelrhein and Ahr) started harvesting those varietals in the 1st week of October. From 6th October, warm day and night temperatures and frequent rain showers produced thin-skinned berries and a perfect environment for fruit flies. This was accelerated by the rapid spreading of spores from botrytis cinerea and other fungi. In a race against the clock, every available hand and (in flat or sloping vineyards) every available mechanical harvester, were mobilized to bring in the crop, leading to what has been dubbed a „turbo harvest“ in Germany.
 
What to expect from 2014:
It is difficult to make a statement about the 2014 red wines though it is safe to say that Pinot Noir/Spätburgunder fared much better than the other red varietals, courtesy of the Pinot Noir’s relative hardiness. Earlier ripening varietals, notably Dornfelder, were more severely affected by „suzukii“. For whites it is safe to say the early ripening grapes (Mueller-Thurgau et al) brought very good yields and good quality. The premium grapes which followed later were more affected by the unstable weather and, as the harvest went on, were affected by botrytis, not all of it noble, necessitating meticulous sorting. Where this was done right, the yields shrunk significantly though it was rewarded by excellent ripeness, concentration and very good acidity levels. Overall, the Pinots Blancs and Pinots Gris look very promising. The Rieslings are crisp, delicious, with bright, aromatic fruit and harmonious acidity. Expect very fine wines in both dry and fruity style!
 
The larger portion of the 2014 German crop which was picked early, brought good yields and qualifies largely as „Qualitaetswein“ while the much smaller portion, harvested later at lower yields, qualifies for making „Praedikat“ wines up to Auslese. Eiswein has not been made to date. Bottomline, 2014 produced a normal size crop of very good, in parts even excellent quality. The making of 2014 caused extra hard and extra long work, making it a very expensive harvest.
AustrianWineEstates
Tidbits of Information Archive


AustrianWineEstates is a website devoted to a selection of fine wine estates from Austria, whose wines are available in the United States through wine importer and distributor, Slocum & Sons, located in North Haven, Connecticut. This portfolio has been created by Eric Litchfield, the company's Import Sales Director, who has spent considerable time selecting producers that define today's highest standards of wine making. Mr. Litchfield's philosophy is to allow the wine producer and nature to harmonize equally, utilizing sustainable agriculture, organic and biodynamic farming to reach the purest expression of grape varietal, microclimate and terroir, yielding wines of supreme balance and elegance.
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