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.
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About Signature Quality
Selbach-Oster Riesling vineyards lie on a 4-mile / 7 km stretch along the Mosel starting in Zeltingen, upstream to Wehlen, Graach and Bernkastel. Vines have been cultivated here since Roman times. Every single vineyard on that short stretch of river has its own special environment and microclimate—its terroir. Each single lot of wine in the cellar shows its own individual, complex "fingerprint". No single day 
is alike and each year, each vintage has its own unique character, its "signature". The grapes mature slowly in a very long, temperate growing season. All the above represent traditional "values" which we at Selbach-Oster cherish; we try to refine and preserve the liquid result in the bottle, the sleek, tall green Mosel-bottle. All this in order to present you with Riesling the way we like it: with elegance, complexity and depth of flavor. With the subtlety and fragrance of flowers and the intense mineral quality from our slate soils. With the taste of delicate fruit and a lingering, crisp finish. The way it has always been.

About Tradition
Our assets have much to do with our hands. Since several generations. Since 1660 in our family ownership, as a matter of fact. Our main treasure is simply what nature presents us with: excellent vineyard-sites in the heart of the Mosel region, old, ungrafted vines on steep, south-facing slopes planted on heat-retaining, mineral-rich, rocky slate soil. Granted, these "assets" bring various risks year-in - year-out... but also great opportunities. Most important, however, are the results.

About Nature and Handcrafting
Wine is Nature: a multifaceted, living creation. As wine producers, we have not forgotten that we are people who live from the land, who are dependent on nature. Wine is more to us than just business or a source of income. It happens to be our passion, too. A part of ourselves goes in every wine we produce. As you might expect when looking at our vineyards clinging to precipituous slopes, everything from pruning to harvesting is done by hand in an "old-fashioned", labour-intensive process. We can proudly present our customers with truly handcrafted wines. Our philosophy of winemaking is "hands-on" in the vineyards and "hands-off" in the cellar. When this motto is put to use it creates the best possible conditions for making truly fine wines while always leaving the "making" to the wine itself. This means we try to realize the full potential the individual soils, vineyards and vintages have to offer. It starts with labour-intensive work in the vineyards from pruning (low yields) through careful canopy-management to the culminating point - meticulous, rigorous selection at harvest. It ends with the gentle pressing of the fruit. A slow, cool fermentation with the grapes' own natural yeasts then "makes" the wines in our cellars. "Hands-on" is needed again for getting the wines ready for bottling. We believe that minimal handling (i.e. pumping and filtering) is rewarded by a maximum of flavor, freshness and delicacy. We strive uncompromisingly for top quality. And it is quality which speaks for itself. Most of our wines are still fermented and matured in the traditional oak "Fuder"-barrels supplemented by a small number of stainless-steel vats. We do not use new oak for Rieslings to preserve the delicate structure of subtle fruit and crisp acidity as purely as possible.

Our Philosophy
Our philosophy is to make elegant, crisp, low-alcohol but full-flavoured wines which the Mosel has become famous for. Our ideal is to make wines that reflect the “parents” of the wine, i.e. the mineral-rich slate soil and ripe, juicy Riesling fruit. In order to do that, it takes excellent vineyards, careful vineyard and yield management, very selective handpicking and, if necessary, making three passes through the same vineyard.

The grapes are gently pressed at low pressure, the juice settles by gravity, not by centrifuge and is then fermented in a cool cellar at cool temperatures, mostly with it’s own, wild yeast. Only for wines which must ferment to total dryness we do add yeast.

We produce Riesling in all styles, from very dry to lusciously sweet, from elegant and light to complex and rich, depending what Nature allows.
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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