It was warm – actually, hot – for weeks and months on end. In addition, it was extremely dry. Memories of the unusually hot and dry weather of 2003 automatically come to mind. While 2015 was similar, it was also quite different – or perhaps “normal” by today’s standards. Fortunately, the grapes withstood the heat and dryness quite well. Budding and flowering were perfect; spraying was more like taking a stroll through the vineyards. In fact, plant protection measures required very little effort this year – a situation that was quite pleasant and not bad at all. Even the spotted wing drosophila, the pest that caused us many a headache last year, was not a problem in 2015. It was simply too hot for them to thrive.
At the beginning of September the weather changed and it began to rain. However, by then it was too late to ensure that the grapes would have enough juice later, yet far too early to think about picking. Less than favorable circumstances...and cause for increasing worries. Yet, it turned cooler and cooler and the rain didn’t damage any grapes. Ultimately, the main harvest began even somewhat later than in 2014.
The quality of the grapes was exceptionally high. Even in sites that are often a problem there was hardly any rot, and if botrytis was present, it was of the “noble” sort. Those who were able to wait were able to harvest fully ripened and highly aromatic grapes with extremely good must weights. There was no need for chaptalization or deacidification this year. We were able to harvest all that we had hoped to and could even add a crowning touch with some grapes ripe enough to produce a few lusciously sweet wines. On the down side: the quantity of Riesling harvested was once again very small. Not surprising given the extremely dry year. Pinot Noir, though, was a completely different story. Our casks were finally full.
As always at this point in time, it’s difficult to say how the finished wine will turn out. The juice is fermenting. Sometimes faster. Sometimes a bit slower. But what we could taste thus far is promising. Time will tell...
See here pictures of the 2015 harvest with vine owners in the Hattenheimer Engelmannsberg site.