Adversity Builds Character
2013 was a year for winegrowers with strong nerves. The challenging weather conditions necessitated constant work in the vineyards throughout the growing period. The reward: healthy grapes for the sekt base wine. 2013 thus falls squarely under the motto: “Adversity builds character!“
Across the board, this challenging vintage saw many sparkling wines on the national and international stages struggle to achieve anything like the levels of 2008, 2010, or 2012. Yet for those estates dedicated to intensive manual labor and a selective harvest, the 2013 vintage was a canvas for masterpieces for the ages, framed by the splendid interplay between fruity acidity and fine aromatics.
In the Shelter of the Donnersberg
Unlike many other years, a lack of precipitation was not a daily concern in 2013. Some German winegrowing regions in fact suffered from excess rain in October, although we in southern Rheinhessen were protected by the Donnersberg, which rises to an elevation of almost 700 meters. The shelter of the Donnersberg and beautiful September weather led to a fantastic sekt year, with late ripening.
Delayed bud break
Spring 2013 was shaped by cool temperatures and a lack of sun. This in turn led to late bud break for the vines. A blessing in disguise, as it protected the shoots from nighttime frosts in April, a plague for many other winegrowing regions that year. A wet May followed, slowing down the growth of the vines and delaying blossoming until late June. It was fairly clear at that point that it would be a late harvest. There was also a brief stretch of happy butterflies in our bellies, as the conditions were suggestive of sublime past sekt vintages such as 2002, 2004, and 2008, each of which also featured a late blossoming.
Full Vintage Report 2013
Exhaling in relief during summer
July finally brought sun, light, and warm days to us winegrowers of the Wonnegau. The warmer weather led to strong growth of the vines. This in turn demanded our full attention in the vineyard to care properly for the quickly growing shoots. Timely tying and training of the shoots was needed, as was manual thinning of the canopy to provide the grapes with good access to light and circulating air. The advanced age of our vines encouraged loose clusters. Given that roughly two-thirds of a grape’s aromatic compounds are located in the skins, the slow ripening promoted the development of complex aromas. That is something that sets our winegrower hearts aflutter, a true gift from nature.
Late start to harvest
We’ll remember 2013 in part for the blissfully late start to harvest. Our team kicked things off on September 23, 2013 and finished picking our 10 hectares on October 16, 2013. The cool September nights were decisive in delivering the fruit we need for a highly expressive sekt vintage. Slow ripening during the cool days of September and October also contributed significantly to sekt base wines of moderate alcohol content and a complex spectrum of aromas. Cool nights also kept the acidity fresh and lively—another essential factor for a grand sekt vintage. Add in long lees contacts and the results can only be called a true delight in the glass.
A combination of meticulous teamwork in the vineyard, the strength of old vines, beneficial weather conditions in the southern Wonnegau, and a bit of luck all came together in a tremendous 2013 vintage. We are exceptionally proud of how this year continues to develop and express itself in our Réserve sekts. There is a good reason why we waited over 8 years to present this sparkling wine at the peak of its powers. Our tastings provide all the evidence we need: these sekts will continue to mature for many years to come.
The Raumland Family