It was the best of times, and the worst times. Or, to sum up the 2016 vintage in the Mosel region of Germany, it was a nerve-wracking vintage with plenty of ups and downs.
Hail storms in the spring damaged vineyards between Wehlen and Graach and the cool, wet conditions led some to report mildew and botrytis. This was a year that required diligent, expert vineyard management.
“Our vineyard manager [Tomasz] worked so close to the weather conditions that we had none of those infections in our own [vineyards]…All [our] grapes stayed healthy and great looking,” explained Raimund Prϋm, owner and winemaker at Weingut S.A. Prϋm.
Although, conditions improved and warmed up in July, the cold, unseasonable weather reared its ugly head again in August, leading to more hail.
“August hail hurt the grapes growing in the best parts of Wehlener Sonnenuhr, and destroyed a hope for outstanding and top qualities[there],” said Prϋm.
Fortunately, by September the weather changed again, as a warm, dry and sunny autumn unfolded. The grapes ripened and turned a beautiful golden color and attained beautiful aromatics. But, with no rain for weeks, the sugar numbers weren’t as high as expected.
By October 8th, the vineyard manager at Weingut S.A. Prϋm selected out the hail damaged and botrytis effected grapes and showing nerves of steel, left the remaining harvest to ripen for an extra two weeks to up sugar levels. The risk paid off. A whopping 99.2% of Weingut S.A. Prϋm’s 2016 harvest consists of prädikat level wines with the following break-down:
“The first two weeks of our harvesting time we stayed in the middle Mosel picking and selecting. After those two weeks we started at the Ruwer valley and finally organized the harvest in Saar valley with Ockfener Bockstein,” said winemaker Raimund Prϋm.
The estate has 38.5 hectares of vineyard with holdings all over the Mosel and like most top producers, S.A. Prϋm uses “spontaneous fermentation” or natural yeasts to ferment its wines, which some think adds complexity to the wine. The estate also boasts a new winemaker from Portugal, Miguel Barrosso Louro. According to Prϋm, ”[Miguel has been ]checking quality from summer to Fall and from vine into the barrel all the time.” Success is the goal at S.A. Prϋm.
“Today, most of our wines are still in the fermenting process, but we can report already the enormous concentration of fantastic fruit notes and high extract,” says Prϋm, adding that the “long finish” on the wines get’s the estate excited about the new 2016 vintage.
The 2016 wines are slated to be tasted for the first time publicly on the 1st of April at S.A. Prϋm’s Annual Young Wine Tasting.