WEINGUT SCHLOSS VOLLRADS IN RHEINGAU, GERMANY
Welcome in Rheingau region, a German wine region internationally renowned for its steep slopes overlooking the Rhine and its winemaking traditions.
You'll find a majority of riesling and some spätburgunder (local name for pinot noir). As the region is cool and continental, vines can struggle to reach optimal ripeness, that's why they are mainly planted on south exposed slopes to get longer and warmer days of sunshine. One key element is the sun reflection from the Rhine, bringing extra warmth and light.
Weingut Schloss Vollrads is one of the established familial winery of the region, focusing exclusively on growing Riesling.
Riesling is an aromatic white variety giving wines with high acidity, aromas of citrus, white flowers, stone fruits, petrol and honey. Wines range from dry to sweet, still to sparkling. Riesling is frost resistant so can stand cold winters in Germany, but is late-ripening, so it needs sun-exposed sites to ripen fully. Riesling is definitely among my favourite grape varieties.
Grapes in Weingut Schloss Vollrads are hand-harvested several times during harvest, to get different levels of ripeness (the longer a grape stays on the vine, the more sugar it will accumulate). This will allow to produce different style of wines.
In Germany, the main classification ranks wines considering their must weight (sugar concentration in the grape juice). Based on this classification, the sweeter the must, the higher the quality of the final wine. From the lowest to the highest quality: Deutscher Wein, Landwein, Qualitätswein and Prädikatswein (the latter with 5 sub-categories). I'd be happy to give more details about the German classification in another post.
On the picture, it's a Quälitatswein trocken 2018: a wine grown from one of the 13 eligible regions for the Quälitatswein category. This wine is dry ("trocken"), it has a high-acidity and shows aromas of apple, lemon and flint.
The estate is part of the famous VDP group of producers. It's a hallmark of quality, that you will recognised thanks to the VDP logo (eagle and bunch of grapes on the screw cap). It guarantees that the wines are made following strict requirements and only from a specific region. VDP producers only represent about 5% of the total volume of German wine produced and 7.5% in value.