Schloss Vollrads Rheingau Riesling Kabinett 2014
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Schloss Vollrads can look back on centuries of wine-making tradition. According to an ancient deed, the Knights of Greiffenclau sold their wines to the convent of St. Victor in Mainz as long ago as 1211. Today, Schloss Vollrads combines 800 years of its tradition with the latest in wine-making engineering, environmental awareness in cultivation, and meticulous care of the wines. Some 126 acres of vineyards are solely devoted to the Riesling grape.
The distinctive quality of Schloss Vollrads wines is derived from the combination of well-thought out measures, not least the absolute consistency in continuing to grow Riesling grapes. Moreover, the stringency in limiting the harvest by pruning the vines, the careful tending of the vineyards working on the latest ecological know-how, the late selective hand-picking of the grapes, their pressing, the individual storage of the juices and the careful supervision of the maturing process of the wines are just some of the distinctive features involved.
Practically one long and bucolic hillside along the northern bank of the Rhein River, the Rheingau stretches the entirety of the river’s east to west spread from Hocheim to Rüdesheim.
Variations in elevation, soil types, and proximity to the Rhine cause great diversity in Rheingau Riesling. Some of the better Rieslings in warmer years come from the cooler and breezier sites at higher elevations. In cooler years, sites closer to the river may perform better.
In the village of Rüdesheim, slopes are steep and soils are stony slate with quartzite; Rieslings are rich and spicy, intense in stone fruit and show depth and character with age. World class Rieslings come from farther east on the river through Geisenheim, Johannisberg, Winkel, Oestrich and past Erbach as well, where soils of loess, sand, and marl alternate. Long-living, floral-driven and mineral-rich Rieslings come from the best of these sites.
Rheingau growers became early activists in promoting the dry style of Riesling, low yields and the classification of top vineyards, or Erstes Gewächs (first growths). Proximity to the metropolitan markets of Mainz, Wiesbaden, and Frankfurt keeps Rheingau in high reputation. While dry wines are the style here, Rheingau isn’t short of some amazing Auslesen, Beerenauslesen, and Trockenbeerenauslesen.
Rheingau doesn’t mess with many other grapes—in fact 79% of its total area is dedicated to Riesling. But it produces some fine Pinot noir, especially concentrated in Assmannshausen, a bit farther west from Rüdesheim.
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.