We make wine that we like to drink: organically grown, made without additives and without ruffles.
It’s been about ten years, that we got our winery in Gambach, a smallish village in Franconia, about a half hour drive northwest of Würzburg. People who’ve never been around these parts are often surprised by the steep terraces towering over the river Main. They don’t expect them here. But it were those steep slopes and the close-to-ancient vines they hold, that brought us here. Neither of us is from a wine making family, and there was no winery to inherent. It was us, who chose Gambach.
The wines that the region was known for back then – overripe and off-dry – were never really to our taste. We like to think of our wines in terms of acidity first: freshness, elegance and liveliness are what we look for. We want our wines to express their place and we feel, that excessive fruitiness or interventions in the cellar will only distract from that connection.
The majority of our vines grows in a single vineyard: the Gambacher Kalbenstein. Sylvaner is our most important grape variety, but we do have a little bit of Müller Thurgau, Riesling and Pinot Noir (aka Spätburgunder) as well. Besides the Kalbenstein, we also have a few small plots in other places. In fact, our very first vineyard was in the Casteller Kirchberg, which is southwest of Würzburg, thus by now quite a drive. But we love that old parcel and its very old vines a lot, so we didn’t want to let go of it, when we moved to Gambach in 2014. The other plots are distributed among Wasserlos, Klingenberg and Michelbach.
Our vineyards are farmed organically and are accordingly certified. We decided against a certification of our cellar itself though, but besides minuscule amounts of sulphur we neither add anything nor do we filter or fine our wines – it saves us a ton of tedious documentation. Practically all work in the vineyards is done by hand, for one because no tractor could drive through those steep vineyards anyway, but secondly because we don’t want to unnecessarily compact our soils. The only agents used in the vineyard are sulphur and copper at minimal doses, in order to protect the vines.
Our harvest, of course, is also manual and using small bins. Except for our reds, rosés and our two decidedly skin-fermented Sylvaners (Flow and Schale, Stiel & Stengel), all grapes are directly pressed: our highest level wines using an old basket press, everything else using a slightly bigger 50 year old horizontal press. We settle the whites over night and then go directly into barrel – all our wines, even in the entry level, ferment and age in used wooden casks, which range from 110 liters (our smallest barrel – the centenary Rosenrain parcel, that grows on original rootstock just doesn’t yield more) up to 1200 liter casks. All wines are spontaneously fermented, go through malo, are unfined, unfiltered and only see small amounts of sulfur right before bottling.
All wines are spontaneously fermented, make the BSA, are unfined, unfiltered and minimally sulfured only at bottling.
When we harvest, we don’t really care about sugar levels all that much. The overall impression and balance is much more important to us. Like we said: we are looking for freshness, tension and liveliness. And for us, that has less to do with fruit aromas and much more with texture. It is thanks to the very old vines we work with, and the very poor soils they grow on, that we can harvest at very low potential abv, and still manage to make wines that feel whole and serene.