Weingut Maximin Grünhaus is a legendary estate located in Mertesdorf, at the foot of a long, steep south-facing slope on the left bank of the tiny Rüwer river, about two kilometers upstream from where it joins the Mosel. The estate belongs to the family of Carl von Schubert and is now under the direction of Maximin von Schubert.
The estate is divided into three separate but contiguous vineyards: Abtsberg, Herrenberg, and Bruderberg. Each of these vineyards has its own distinct micro-climate, gradient and soil composition. Those differences in terroir are reflected in the unique character of the wines made at Maximin Grünhaus.
“Maximin” Riesling (VDP.Gutswein)
Riesling Monopol (VDP.Gutswein)
Riesling Alte Reben (VDP.Ortswein)
Riesling Alte Reben feinherb (VDP.Ortswein)
Riesling Herrenberg Superior (VDP.Grosse Lage)
Riesling Bruderberg Kabinett (VDP.Grosse Lage)
Riesling Sekt Brut (bubbly !!!)
HISTORY OF THE ESTATE
The first documented evidence of Grünhaus, then called “Villa ad Valles,” dates from February 6, 966. Emperor Otto I, heir of Charlemagne, confirmed a donation that had been made in the Seventh century by the Frankish King Dagobert. At that time, the buildings, vineyards and surrounding land had been given to the Benedictine monastery of Saint Maximin in Trier. In 1882, it was purchased by an ancestor of Carl von Schubert, who is the fifth generation of his family to own the Grünhaus estate.
The vineyards and wines
Wines from this vineyard were originally destined for the table of the Abbot (or “Abt”) of the Abbey of St. Maximin. The site covers 14 hectares, parts of which have been planted with vines for over a thousand years. The subsoil is blue Devonian slate and the hillside runs south-east to south-west, achieving a gradient of up to 70 percent. Abtsberg wines are characterized by a finely structured subtle minerality, a racy acidity, generous fruit and great delicacy. They are amongst the longest lived Rieslings of the region.
Wines from this vineyard were made specially for the Abbey’s Choirmasters. Extending over 19 hectares, the site benefits from deep soils with good water retention, over a base of red Devonian slate. Wines from the Herrenberg show fruit and body early in their lives, but also possess extraordinary ageing potential.
The smallest of the vineyards, covering just 1 hectare, the Bruderberg provided wine for the monks (or ‘brothers’). The site has the same Devonian slate soil as the Abtsberg next door, and the wines are very spicy, sometimes with a rustic “slaty” mineral quality. They are classified entirely as Qualitätswein, and have great ageing potential.
Work in the Maximin Grünhaus vineyards is conducted in close harmony with nature. Fertilisation is predominantly organic, and the vineyards have been planted with a cover crop of wild herbs and grasses. They use no pesticides or herbicides, maintaining the health of the grapes through intensive manual work instead.
The main grape variety at Grünhaus is, and always will be Riesling, which makes up 94% of the total production. A hectare of Pinot Blanc and Auxerrois was harvested for the first time in 2008. In 2007, a further hectare was planted with Pinot Noir, for the first time in 150 years.
To ensure quality, yields are restricted to around 45 – 55 hectolitres per hectare (hl/ha); other quality estates in the Mosel average around 80 hl/ha. The grapes are harvested by hand and, depending on the character of the vintage, several passes may be made through the vineyard.
At the beginning of 2004, Stefan Kraml took charge of viticulture and viniculture at Grünhaus. Since that time, the wines of the estate have benefited from his uncompromisingly high standards.
The Grünhaus cuverie is situated conveniently close to the vineyards so that harvested grapes can be delivered to the press within a matter of minutes. Depending on the requirements of the harvest, the grapes can be macerated or subjected to whole bunch pressing in a modern pneumatic press. After natural clarifying overnight via sedimentation, the musts are brought to an optimal fermentation temperature, and fermented with naturally occurring wild yeasts in classic large oak casks (Fuder casks) or small stainless steel tanks. This promotes the optimal development of mineral flavours from the slate soil and ensures the longevity of the Rieslings.
Neither the must nor the finished wine are fined.
The oak comes from trees grown on the estate, adjacent to Abtsberg and on the summit of Grüneberg. The oak fuders are crafted by Rudolf Biewer, one of the last remaining local barrel makers. For the first few vintages, the Grünhäuser Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) goes in the new fuder in order to leech out some of the oak flavors, before being used to ferment and age Riesling.