Fred worked for many years at the large and well-known State Domain at Kloster Eberbach in Stadt Eltville. He started as Sales Director and then became responsible for the winemaking. He, his wife Sabine and their two children live in a second floor flat in the village of Hallgarten high up on the slopes above the Rhine. You only find evidence of what was his “hobby” in the garage below the flats. Here you will find a few tanks and pruning tools – a true garagiste! He and his wife built up their original 1.5ha of holdings in two vineyards around the village; Schonhell (generally used for the dry styles) and Jungfer (for the fruity, sweeter styles). The dry “Erstes Gewachs” (First Growth) comes from the Jungfer vineyard. Quality is high, yields are low, output tiny.
He green-harvests once or twice a year, stripping out 20-40% on each pass. In the cellar he allows the grapes to cold soak overnight before allowing them to ferment. This, Fred says, boosts the extraction and lowers the acidity. After fermentation he then leaves his wines for 4 months on the lees, adding more layers of complexity. The wines have a wonderful precision and focus – not overblown, just quietly persuasive.
Demand for his wine was so great that he gave up the day job to turn the hobby into a full time job. Uneconomic with just 1.5 hectares, he needed to find another hectare or two. Or three. He always keeps his ears open while he’s out working in the vines. Gossip and rumour are rife among the vines – who has been approached by who, who’s thinking of selling to who? Over the past five or six years he has managed to scoop up more parcels of old vines in his favourite locations, building his holdings to 7 hectares. Fred must be going through some kind of life change at the moment – he recently bought a Harley.
2013 is his first fully organic vintage.
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