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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.
THANKS TO TIRELESS WORK IN THE VINEYARDS, A WET AND WORRISOME START GAVE WAY TO A FAIRY TALE SUMMER AND BOUNTIFUL AUTUMN!
THE WINTER OF 2016 KICKED OFF WITH THE SAME ALL-TOO-FAMILIAR MILDNESS OF RECENT YEARS, AND ENDED UP THE SECOND WARMEST EVER MEASURED IN THE RHEINGAU IN OVER 130 YEARS OF RECORD-KEEPING.
THE WINEGROWING COMMUNITY WAS MUCH MORE CONCERNED ABOUT A DIFFERENT FACTOR, HOWEVER: UNUSUALLY HIGH VOLUMES OF PRECIPITATION THAT FELL WELL INTO THE SUMMER MONTHS. THE RAIN WAS INITIALLY VIEWED AS A WELCOME CHANCE TO REPLENISH THE SOIL FOLLOWING EXTREMELY DRY CONDITIONS IN 2015. AS THE DELUGE PROGRESSED ON AN ALMOST-DAILY BASIS FROM MID-MAY THROUGH THE END OF JUNE, THE WINEGROWERS BEGAN TO WONDER IF THEIR BOON HAD TURNED TO BANE. AND YET THE BIGGER PICTURE REMAINED ROSY. BUDBREAK ARRIVED IN THE LAST WEEK OF APRIL AND FLOWERING BEGAN IN MID JUNE, BOTH WELL WITHIN THE 30-YEAR MEAN. WE WERE ALSO SPARED THE CLASSIC SPRINGTIME HAZARDS OF HAIL AND LATE FROST THIS YEAR, ALTHOUGH WE DID OBSERVE FUNGAL GROWTH, ESPECIALLY PERONOSPORA, WHICH LOVES SUCH WET CONDITIONS. THE CHOICE AND TIMING OF WHICH COUNTERMEASURES TO DEPLOY BECAME AN EXISTENTIAL ONE.
AND THEN, ALMOST UNEXPECTEDLY, THE SKIES BRIGHTENED AND A MAGNIFICENT JULY, AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER DAWNED. FOR THOSE VINES AND GRAPES THAT HAD COME THROUGH THE TRIBULATIONS OF THE FIRST HALF-YEAR UNSCATHED, A FAIRY TALE SUMMER AND GOLDEN AUTUMN AWAITED. THE SUN RETURNED FROM WHEREVER IT HAD BEEN ON HOLIDAY AND GRACED THE VINEYARDS WITH PLENTY OF RAYS. THE INITIAL RIPENING PHASE WAS UNREMARKABLE DURING THE FINAL DAYS OF AUGUST, BUT THANKS TO THE STUNNING SEPTEMBER THAT FOLLOWED - THE RHEINGAU'S WARMEST IN HUMAN MEMORY - THE BERRIES ENJOYED NEARLY PERFECT RIPENING CONDITIONS. A BIT OF RAIN IN EARLY OCTOBER DID NOTHING TO DARKEN THE OUTLOOK FOR A FANTASTIC VINTAGE.
WE WERE FORTUNATE TO BRING IN TREMENDOUSLY HEALTHY FRUIT OF STUNNING PHYSIOLOGICAL MATURITY. THE GUTSWEINE WERE ALREADY MEASURING WELL OVER 80 °OE WHEN WE LAUNCHED HARVEST IN EARLY OCTOBER. JUST AS IMPORTANT WAS A HARDER-TO-MEASURE FACTOR: THE GRAPES TASTED FANTASTIC. IT'S IMPORTANT TO ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT A WINE CAN NEVER TASTE BETTER THAN THE BERRIES USED TO MAKE IT.
THE EXTENDED HANGTIME PROVIDED THE ORTSWEINE, THE STEEP ERSTE LAGEN AND THE GROSSE LAGEN VINEYARDS WITH MORE OPPORTUNITY TO RIPEN IN FULL AND DEVELOP A COMPLETE AND COMPLEX RANGE OF AROMATICS. IN ADDITION TO OUR PRIZED DRY RIESLINGS, 2016 GRACED US WITH DELICATE NATURALLY AND NOBLY SWEET PRÄDIKAT WINES, THUS MAKING 2016 THE 28TH CONSECUTIVE YEAR AT WEINGUT ROBERT WEIL TO SEE A SUCCESSFUL HARVEST OF AUSLESE, BEERENAUSLESE AND TROCKEN-BEERENAUSLESE.
OVERALL HARVEST YIELDS LINED UP WITH THE WELL-ESTABLISHED AVERAGE, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF OUR NOBLY SWEET PRÄDIKAT WINES. THAT FRUIT HUNG HAPPILY AND HEALTHILY ON THE VINES WELL INTO NOVEMBER, PROMISING MOUTHWATERING WINES BUT HIGHLY LIMITED QUANTITIES.
A spring and early summer of record-setting rain led to irregular flowering and triggered widespread outbreaks of peronospora (a.k.a. downy mildew), resulting in sporadic crop loss. August and September set records for drought and heat, catching-up ripening. Leisurely harvest during a chilly, largely clear October and November resulted in outgoing Rieslings of modest but generally lively acidity, moderate alcohol, and understated complexity. (Mittelrhein and Terrassenmosel Rieslings tend toward acid-deficiency.) Few Auslesen and even less botrytis.