Gysler’s history in Weinheim dates to 1450, with record of winemaking dating to 1750. The windy, cool microclimate of Weinheim, and its red soil dominated by Rotliegend sandstone, allow Gysler to ply a quite unique expression of Riesling from his 12 hectares, in a region planted to many lesser varieties and hybrids.
When Alexander Gysler took the helm from his father abrubtly, changes were made in the vineyard, including the reversal of the plantings of experimental crossings, instead focusing the estate by increased plantings of classic varieties such as Riesling and Sylvaner. Next came Biodynamic conversion and certification by Demeter in 2008, with the intention of helping to reverse the reputation of Rheinhessen wines as high-yielding, overly sweet ‘plonk.’ Fruit is hand harvested, which is rare in the Rheinhessen, and composting and cover cropping have become integral to the health of the estate’s vines – every second row is planted with flowers & herbs. In 2005, Gysler began bottling his wines in only 2 quality levels, estate and S-class, eschewing the pradikät system that portends quality is based predominantly on ripeness. Other changes include employing whole cluster pressing, spontaneous fermentations in stainless steel, eliminating fining and racking, gross lees contact right up until bottling, and abandoning the use of süssreserve. “2008 was the first vintage we did absolutely no handling of the juice,” says Alex Gysler.
Extending south from the Rheingau region to become a valley of gently rolling hills, Rheinhessen is Germany’s largest wine region. The best Rieslings of Rheinhessen, often characterized by smoky, peach and citrus aromas, come from vines grown in the red soils of the Rheinterrasse.
Riesling possesses a remarkable ability to reflect the character of wherever it is grown while still maintaining its identity. A regal variety of incredible purity and precision, this versatile grape can be just as enjoyable dry or sweet, young or old, still or sparkling and can age longer than nearly any other white variety. Somm Secret—Given how difficult it is to discern the level of sweetness in a Riesling from the label, here are some clues to find the dry ones. First, look for the world “trocken.” (“Halbtrocken” or “feinherb” mean off-dry.) Also a higher abv usually indicates a drier Riesling.
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