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VDP Grosse Lage denotes our absolutely finest vineyard, Kiedrich Gräfenberg. It is the source of Riesling wines that reflect expressive site-specific characteristics and have exceptional aging potential. In addition to the dry Riesling "VDP.Grosses Gewächs®", we produce classic Prädikat wines with natural, fruity sweetness from grapes grown in the Kiedrich Gräfenberg site – wines that have long been highly esteemed in the Rheingau.
Kiedrich Gräfenberg: Steep sites, Kiedricher Kosterberg, Kiedrich Turmberg and Kiedrich Gräfenberg, and their extraordinarily physiological ripe grapes yield truly great crops that promise wines of great extract (substance) and perceptible mineral tones that reflect their appellations of origin.
In the 12th century, the renowned site was still known as “mons rhingravii” (literally, the hill of the Rhine counts). By 1258 and 1259, documents referred to it as “Grevenberg” – southwest-facing site with deep to medium-deep soil, predominantly stony, fragmented phyllite and dramatic inclines of up to 60 %.
Until secularization in 1803, large portions of the Gräfenberg site numbered among the vineyard holdings of the monastery Kloster Eberbach. Even in the decades thereafter, the site was owned by only a few wine estates.
At the end of the 19th century, Gräfenberg began its rise to fame. During this time, when Rhine Rieslings reached the height of their reputation, Gräfenberg Rieslings from the House of Dr. Weil graced the tables of European kings and emperors as well as the wine lists of leading hotels throughout Europe, from St.Petersburg to Prague, Vienna, Berlin, Paris, and London. Gräfenberg and its neighboring site, Turmberg, consistently ranked among the finest sites in vineyard classifications of that time.
To this day, Gräfenberg has retained its great renown. At Christie’s rare wine auction in 1999, a 1921 Kiedricher Berg Auslese-Growth Dr.Weil fetched the world’s highest bottle price for a white wine of the 20th century: DM 20,000. In the course of its centennial celebration in 2010, “VDP. The Prädikat Wine Estates” held an auction at which Weingut Robert Weil once again achieved a world record price – this time, for a wine making its debut presentation: 2003 Kiedrich Gräfenberg Riesling Trocken - beerenauslese 316°Oechsle Gold Capsule fetched € 5,117.00 per bottle.
Gräfenberg is also the only site in the world in which grapes of every quality category up to and including Trockenbeerenauslese have been harvested every year without exception since the 1989 vintage.
The stony-gritty soils of the Gräfenberg are deep to mediumdeep. Phyllite is a major component, interspersed with loess and loam. This soil composition, with its high proportion of stones and water-retaining layers, provides the site with an optimal and balanced water supply.
Tasting Notes: Stunning Trockenbeerenauslese with beautiful botrytized fruit; deep and opulent flavors accentuate the seductive dance between racy acidity and high levels of natural sweetness; a wine to put down and age for many years to come.
Residual sugar: 381 g/l
Acidity: 12.9 g/l
Vintage report: The winter of 2008/2009 was the coldest since well over a decade. Particularly in the early weeks of January, thermometer readings seldom reached above freezing and temperatures dropped to as low as -15°C/5°F. The weather remained cold even well into March, and included a late snowfall on the 25th of the month – all of which boded for a late bud burst.
Yet April exceeded all expectations. Almost without exception the weather was as warm and sunny as one would expect in early summer, and it was the second warmest April on record since 1884, when weather findings were first documented at the research institute in Geisenheim/Rheingau. This led to explosive growth. By the end of the month, vegetation was some two weeks ahead of schedule and generally proceeded thereafter under relatively balanced weather conditions. Unfortunately, a cold spell during blossoming resulted in damage due to coulure and poor fruit set, leaving very loose clusters and a slight reduction in yield, which, however, also set the stage for clusters that would be able to remain on the vine for a long time.
The 12th of August marked the start of the ripening phase of development, i.e. about two weeks ahead of schedule. Ideal weather conditions enabled must weights to steadily rise. By early October, must weights of at least 90° Oechsle were measured in all sites – coupled with an extraordinarily healthy crop of optimal physiological ripeness. One could truly say that the grapes looked very tempting and tasted just as good. The grape harvest for our Estate Rieslings began on 5 October. Because blossoming was relatively early, grapes had been on the vine for at least 115 days by then. We have great expectations for these wines, thanks to the exceptionally high quality of the crop. The next phase of the harvest was devoted to bringing in golden yellow, fully ripened and healthy crop with must weights of ca. 100° Oechsle – destined for the production of our finest dry wines from the Erste Lage (Premier Cru) Klosterberg, Turmberg and Grosse Lage (Grand Cru) Gräfenberg sites.
The weather in October was somewhat variable, yet the crop remained healthy, thanks to reduced cluster density and cool temperatures. As such, we were also able to harvest grapes well suited for the production of grandiose wines with naturally ripe sweetness in the Prädikat category Spätlese. In the later stages of the harvest, a very fine “noble rot” (Botrytis) set in that enabled us to harvest grapes suitable for all other Prädikat levels, from Auslese to Trockenbeerenauslese. By harvesting selectively, we could pick grapes with must weights of up to 241° Oechsle. As such, we remain in the remarkable position of being able to produce wines of every quality category, up to and including Trockenbeerenauslese, for the 21st year in a row.