Vintage Report and Sekt Harvest 2010

Quality, not Quantity

Our father and grandfather Willi Raumland preached that complicated vintages are needed to show who in the wine industry truly has talent. 2010 may well be remembered as the kind of vintage that separated the wheat from the chaff. Nature demanded everything we and our vines had in reserve. And yet all that toil and concern ultimately paid off, with the caveat that a bit of extra time is probably needed to verify that assessment. Which is why we waited with our Grande Réserve sekts until 2022—after 10 years on the lees—to present this vintage at the peak of its power.

Vintage report 2010

Headed for the vineyards with a high school diploma in hand

2010 was a memorable year on many fronts. We had just finished with the pruning work in a bitterly cold spring when Marie-Luise graduated from high school. She soon decided that she wanted to use the time before her studies to gain her first practical experience in the wine industry. And so she started a 6-month internship at VDP member estate Weingut Dr. Wehrheim. The entire family—and in particular her parents—were proud to see her interest in craftsmanship develop entirely on its own. Marie-Luise experienced first-hand the thrill of a vintage, the unbridled joy that comes with sunny days and the fear that springs from dark storm clouds. When a heavy hailstorm struck the Pfalz in June, she quickly called back home to Rheinhessen: “Papa, how are our vineyards? Did they get hit too?” Thank God, we in Rheinhessen were spared. And yet nature nevertheless gave us in the southern Wonnegau quite the cold shoulder in spring. Heavy coulure during blossoming in early summer prepared us mentally for what would be a small harvest. Coulure has other cascading effects as well, especially the threat that the grapes wouldn’t achieve ripeness at the same time in autumn. When this occurs, we have to harvest from individual parcels at different times, right down to selective hand harvest on individual vines. It’s a wearisome but necessary task to achieve top quality.

Hot early summer

July dawned with all the glory of a fine summer. On many days our labors kicked off at 5:30 am to avoid the worst of the midday heat. There was even a stretch where the night brought little cooling, troublesome from a sekt production standpoint, as the cool temperatures help preserve acidity levels.

Cool nights, racy acidity

Temperatures began cooling off again in late summer, with rain and cooler nights slowing down the ripening process during August. This allowed aromas in the fruit to gain intensity and refinement without losing acidity—optimal conditions for the production of sekt base wine!

Extreme toil in the vineyard

As expected, the coulure in early summer meant that ripeness varied greatly within different vineyards. We had to invest a tremendous amount of time making selective passes through the vineyards, each time pulling out only those berries that had achieved the optimal ripeness for nuance and lovely aromatics. These selective harvest measures demanded almost twice as much time during harvest as in years past: we started on September 1, 2010 and ended almost 8 weeks later, on October 29, 2010. Even so, the extra effort was ultimately rewarded. The results: deep, racy base wines of fine minerality and elegance.

The joy of the early sekt harvest

Courtesy of the early harvest, our grapes escaped the ongoing rains of late October, meaning we brought in healthy fruit before the weather turned dicey. It must be said that we very much appreciate the chance to push up our sekt harvest by 2 or 3 weeks, as this frequently saves us from the steady rains of autumn. To produce delicate wines of real longevity, we need to pay close attention to the many fine details and seemingly minor decisions in the vineyard. An early harvest is without doubt one such factor in ensuring must weight in the grapes does not rise beyond a certain point. Because the sugar content ultimately determines the alcohol content of the base wine, and since sparkling wine undergoes two alcoholic fermentations, we target moderate alcohol levels.

Our summary: Long (!) live the 2010 vintage

After just a few years on the lees, our tastings of the 2010 sekts pointed in one clear direction: these wines were destined for aging! They would need time to unfurl their full potential. The combination of fine aromas and acidic backbone promises sekts of longevity and cellarability. We very much look forward to presenting our 2010 sparkling wines to you! When opening up these vintages, we are admittedly always a bit reverential—full of respect for time and for nature. One need look only at old photos or even just in the mirror to see how time leaves its traces. Not so these wines, though, which remain deep yet young at heart. Each sip tries to convince you that it can’t possibly have been 12 years since the harvest.

The Raumland Family

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