All over Europe it was really HOT and DRY in 2003! Vintage 2003 was an outstanding vintage. Vines had to struggle with water shortage lasting for months. In Germany 2003 was the first vintage where irrigation everywhere was permitted. That helped us personally to rescue our young vines.
Finally, in September some cooler nights arrived. The media reported about an outstanding vintage and its quality. Honestly we were worried about the taste of the ripe fruits just considering the sugar level. Especially the cool-climate varieties we treated very carefully. We were faced with stomach ache because of the expecting high sugar levels of the white varieties but we waited with the harvest until the aromatical ripeness arrived too. Only the aromatic ripeness of the fruits can balance a high alcohol grade. The best example is our 2003 Rivaner with 13,5% vol., a stunning white wine!
We discovered that really old vines growing in volcanic soil only can stock a limited sugar niveau. For example: A normal vintage of our Pinot Gris SJ produces between 14% and 15% vol. Vintage 2003 of the Pinot Gris SJ had “only” 14,5% vol.
Pinot Noir from a “hot-climate-year”! How does that works? Our Pinots had really soft and smooth tannins and a bunch of flavours we never ever had before!
Our personal highlight of 2003 was the Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon.
All in all, 2003 was a great challenge for us. In the end we were proud of the excellent wines in our cellar!