Schloss Vollrads, with nearly 800 years of viticulture experience, is one of the oldest wine estates in the world. The vineyards are located in the heart of the Rheingau, where the quality of Riesling is unsurpassed by any other region in the world. In 1728, the world's first Kabinett was produced at Schloss Vollrads and, 300 years on, the estate is still going from strength to strength under the watchful eye of Rowald Hepp and his winemaker Ralph Herke. The estate now has 81 hectares of Riesling vineyards.
All Schloss Vollrads' vineyards are planted with Riesling, and are situated between the Rhine and the forest clad hills that protect the vines from the cool north winds. Rowald has been improving quality at Schloss Vollrads since he joined in 1997, and his philosophy runs through every aspect of production. Strict pruning ensures that yields are 40% lower than the legal requirement, while further reductions are made by crop thinning.
Variable weather conditons over the growing season with cold, wet weather only interupted by a hot July meant hand-sorting of the damaged bunches at the beginning of the picking season was necessary. Harvest began from 6th October onwards, taking only the ripe and mature grapes - as a result more than 75% of the crop was in the Prädicat-level. From 9th October the Rheingau experienced an "Indian Summer". During the warm, sunny days the sugar level of the grapes rose significantly, while the cool nights protected the typical Riesling flavour. The yield in 2010 was roughly 40% less than in 2009, but the quality of the wines is extraordinary.
The individual grapes were selected in the vineyard by the pickers, often passing through each vineyard many times to ensure the grapes were in the right condition before picking. Only fully-ripened, healthy grapes, with a must-weight higher than 95° degrees at the point of harvest can be used to make an "Auslese" wine. Fermentation with selected yeasts took place over 3 weeks in stainless steel tanks at a temperature of 18ºC.
The colour is bright golden with green hints. The nose is fresh with typical mineral complexity and apple and stone fruits of great Riesling. The palate is refreshing with its fine citrus acidity to balance the lingering sweetness on the finish. The 2010 has a lovely purity of fruit flavours, with apricot, pineapple, peach flavours intermingling alongside a touch of honeyed richness.