The 2008 Vintage year at Weingut St. Urbans-Hof in Germany’s Mosel valleys was classic, presenting a series of weather periods that were true to form for our cool climate viticulture area. Our Riesling wines from this vintage are primarily of Kabinett and Spätlesen ripeness levels that are typically crisp, elegant, juicy and with pronounced minerality, reflecting a style that is inimitable anywhere else in the world.
The winter months were uneventful, allowing sufficient dormancy for the vines and without damaging incidents. Despite a later than usual bud break flowering occurred early. The summer months were generally cool, absent of extreme heat and with sufficient precipitation to allow the vines to progress free of interruption or stress. Cool weather in August and September slowed ripening and delayed development by a few weeks. In early October a few nights of near-freezing temperatures turned the leaves on the vines yellow and slowed assimilation.
Our decision to begin to harvest was based on taste and a visual impression of ripeness, not by must weight. By allowing longer hang time we achieved better flavour development and higher physiological ripeness. We began the harvest at the middle of October with dry weather conditions prevailing so grapes remained healthy and absent of damaging rot or disease. The grapes in some portions of our vineyards were still fairly green by the third week in October, so we delayed picking again until the Riesling grapes matured further, developing the appealing yellow tone with brown spots. This is the visual indicator of the point at which spiciness develops in the berry skins.
Harvesting concluded on November 9th.
Our Rieslings achieved between 75 - 80 degrees Oechsle (19-20 Brix) in our average vineyard sites, between 85 - 90 degrees Oechsle in our top sites, and in our warmest Piesporter Goldtröpfchen and Leiwener Laurentiuslay vineyards we reached up to 95 degrees Oechsle. The vintage was topped by a Beerenauslese harvested at 160 degrees Oechsle, and a terrific Eiswein...the first in three years.
The grapes were crushed and allowed two hours of skin contact. As usual, we did a pre-clearing by sedimentation (gravity) only. Low temperatures in the cellar through November and December allowed slow, cool fermentation retaining the primary flavours in the wine and binding a fine, spritzy effervescence of carbon dioxide. We treated the wines with a longer than usual lees contact to impart more body and a sense of smoothness. It was important to leave sufficient residual sugar in the 2008 vintage wines to achieve an optimum balance of acidity and sugar, obtaining brilliancy without overly-pronounced sweetness.
The 2008 vintage wine style is precisely what Riesling lovers appreciate most: very minerally wines with lively electrifying acidity. The wines have the inimitable tension between fresh, fruity sweetness and racy acidity of the best of Riesling wines. With lower alcohol levels than we have seen in years, these wines will be fun, light and easy drinking, with finesse. So playful and easy, yet intriguing, our 2008 Riesling wines encourage opening that second bottle.
ST. URBANS-HOF Riesling QbA: An elegant, crisp and fruity Riesling with a hint of natural residual sweetness. This wine has the typical light character of the Riesling grape and the style of a classic Mosel Riesling.
Alcohol: 9.5% by vol. Acidity: 9.6 g/l Residual Sugar: 38 g/l
OCKFENER BOCKSTEIN is one of our top vineyard sites on a steep Saar valley slope with unobstructed southern exposure and hard grey slate stony soils. Wines from this site are especially lively and minerally in character.
Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Kabinett: A light and minerally Riesling, racy and spritzy with flower and smoky flavours coming from the slate soil. It has an almost electrifying acidity, which asks for the next sip. This Kabinett is very delicate and appealing to drink.
Alcohol: 7.5% by vol. Acidity: 9.1 g/l Residual Sugar: 44 g/l
Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Spätlese: A character full, juicy and fruity Riesling from the Saar Valley. This wine was especially late harvested. It has floral notes, such as elderflower and lilac combined with juicy and fruity acidity, something that you find in the Ockfener Bockstein wines year after year. Also, its silky structure reflects the grand terroir of this famous vineyard.
Alcohol: 8.0% by vol. Acidity 8.7 g/l Residual Sugar: 55 g/l
PIESPORTER GOLDTRÖPFCHEN is one of the finest sites on the Mosel, and the St. Urbans-Hof parcel is located in the oldest portion of the renowned vineyard known as the “Mosel Loreley” for its steep rocky face which descends directly down to the river. The wines are distinguished by their black currant fruit character, smoky and herbaceous aromas and minerality taken from the loamy slate soils.
Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Kabinett: A Riesling of the light weight Kabinett level with enormous depth and structure. The nose reveals an herbaceous character in the most exotic combination with black currant, grapefruit and gooseberry, the significant flavours of Rieslings from the famous Piesporter Goldtröpfchen vineyard site. It also has a refreshing, slight effervescence, which makes it even more appealing and age able. It is incredible how a wine with only 7.5% alcohol can taste so impressive.
Alcohol: 7.5% by vol. Acidity 8.5 g/l Residual Sugar: 50 g/l
Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Spätlese: A masterpiece of nature. This brilliant Spätlese has captured everything that Mosel Riesling is about. The wine releases in the nose the sparkling minerals of the highly mineralized slate soil of the Piesporter Goldtröpfchen. In between the typical Piesporter black currant and grapefruit notes, one can find ripest pineapple and herbs. In the mouth, one can feel the silkiness of the minerals.
Alcohol: 8.0% by vol. Acidity 8.5 g/l Residual Sugar: 60 g/l
Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Auslese: This Riesling Auslese has been selected from partially botrytis-affected grapes, which give it its fine honey like, nutty nose. It has a full, almost viscous body, but no lack of elegance. The fruit gives it the appearance of a baroque painting: full and bold but with lots of finesse and expression. This is smooth power to drink. A wine of this composition can last a very long time.
Alcohol: 8.0% by vol. Acidity 8.5 g/l Residual Sugar: 90 g/l
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