Postcard of Traben-Trarbach (credit: Max Caesar Publishing)

The Prädikat Powerhouses of Daniel Vollenweider 

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Wolfer Goldgrube vineyard stood in the background, lush and green, warm with the late-afternoon sun; the lines of the single-post vines were occasionally interrupted by the forest cascading down from the crest of the mountain. Daniel Vollenweider explained that areas where the forest was encroaching were plots that had been long-abandoned, and if you looked closely, you could see wooden stakes still poking out from between the trees and scrub. The Goldgrube is a steep amphitheater rising above a bend in the Mosel river, south to southwest-facing, with predominately Devonian gray slate (certain parcels variegated with iron-rich red slate). Old vines here are ungrafted and some are over 80 years in age.

The story goes that Swiss-born Vollenweider initially wanted to buy vineyards in Burgundy, but had to consider looking elsewhere due to the steep price tag. He wanted to make wine in a region rich with history and potential, and a bottle of Egon Müller 1990 Scharzhofberg Auslese has been credited as the decisive inspiration for his journey to make wine in the Mosel. After working in vineyards both in Germany and abroad, Daniel started in 1999 with 1.3 hectares in the Wolfer Goldgrube: an ideal vineyard in the sense that it boasts a fine pedigree, yet had fallen out of use (and the spotlight) in recent decades. He now owns just over four hectares on Goldgrube as well as parcels in Kröver Steffensberg and Trabener Würzgarten (Schimbock), and is a member of der klitzekleine ring, a group of winemakers that revive derelict, steep old-vine vineyard sites in the Mosel. Daniel is dedicated to the uniquely grueling lifestyle of winemakers in the Mosel who choose to responsibly farm these harrowing sites by hand and without using pesticides and herbicides, knowing the hard work is beneficial to both the vines and ultimately the wine.

Door to Daniel's house/cellar. (Photo: S. Bitterolf)

Vinification happens in the multi-level cellar located under his house in Trarbach, a town (along with its sister-city Traben across the river) that was an invaluable wine shipping hub during the last half of the nineteenth century and into the early 1900s. Daniel uses stainless steel tanks and prefers spontaneous fermentation for all wines except for those affected by Botrytis. 

In more recent vintages Daniel has expanded into making dry and dry-tasting wines, which are also outstanding and full of verve. We have chosen to focus on his elegantly textured yet powerful Prädikat wines for this offer because the 2015 vintage is electric and the wines are poised to age profoundly. We are also lucky to have a few bottles still available from past vintages, so we have listed them as well! Cari Bernard

Vollenweider 2015 Mosel Riesling Wolfer Goldgrube Auslese GK

Let's be honest here: this is basically a Beerenauslese, with 140 g/L of residual sugar and 12.5 grams of acidity! 100% botrytis-affected grapes, this wine can (and should) age for quite some time. The nose hints at peach candy, cinnamon, and button mushroom, on the palate the wine shows both intensity and density, rich with honeyed peaches, orange oil, and apricot preserves. A fantastic bottle for those who wait! Cari Bernard

  • white sweet
  • 4 in stock
  • $98.99

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  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $139.99

Vollenweider 2010 Mosel Riesling Kröver Steffensberg Auslese GKA

A vision to behold, golden-hued with a luscious viscosity in the glass. Aromas of honey, wet stone, seashells, and nectarine skin greet you well before your nose meets the glass.  The vintage really shows itself as the acidity shimmers through the notes of baked peaches, marmalade, saffron, and key lime juice. Totally transcendent now, this wine will continue to age gracefully! Cari Bernard

  • Out of Stock
  • white sweet
  • 0 in stock
  • $79.99

Vollenweider 2015 Mosel Riesling Wolfer Goldgrube Kabinett

I must say I've been a tad obsessed with 2015 Kabinett and Spätlese wines from the Mosel. This is not to knock Auslese and above, but the vintage made for such intense levels of ripeness and acidity, that many Auslesen need ample time to right themselves, or even 5-10 years to really begin showing their layered complexity. I'm not a patient person by any means, so the possibility of the instant gratification of Kabinett and (at times) Spätlese wines is always tempting! The Goldgrube Kabinett from Vollenweider is a great example of this magical vintage in a bottle. The nose is quite floral with a whisper of tropical fruit; this expands on the palate into exotic mangoes, tart yellow-skinned apple, ripe peaches, with sky-high tension between the acid and residual sugar. Cari Bernard

  • Out of Stock
  • white off-dry
  • 0 in stock
  • $31.99

Vollenweider 2015 Mosel Riesling Wolfer Goldgrube Spätlese

More herbal and savory in contrast to the floral nose of the Goldgrube Kabinett, the palate boasts a ripeness level alongside a level of acidity that Daniel says is like nothing he's had before. I found the Goldgrube to have a nice balance in contrast to the Steffensberg Spätlese; again the acidity is high, but the wine is rich and textured without being weighty, flavors of dried apricots, citron, orange blossom and green herbs make for a complex, cellar-worthy Spätlese! Cari Bernard

  • Out of Stock
  • white sweet
  • 0 in stock
  • $37.99