Andi Schneider is widely considered one of Germany’s top up-and-coming Riesling specialists. Of his production, two thirds is dedicated to this grape variety. He farms 13.5 hectares of vines in the region of Nahe. Altogether he releases 70,000 bottles each year, including one estate Riesling, three ‘village’ level wines (two Riesling, one Sauvignon Blanc) and three single-vineyard Rieslings. His three single-vineyard Rieslings, all made using 100% wild ferment, are from grapes grown on the slate and quartzite soil of Domberg, the basalt rock of the unofficial ‘grand cru’ of Felsenberg and the red clay of Marbach.
2018 was a very warm vintage in Germany which was favourable for red wines in particular. The old vine Dornfelder was harvested in perfect health at moderate brix levels, great physiological ripeness, and great colour. The grapes were cold macerated for several days before being allowed to spontaneously ferment in open top wood vats. Just before the conclusion of alcoholic fermentation, the free run juice was transferred to three neutral French oak Cadus barrels from Burgundy (the press wine was added to the fermentation of the classic Dornfelder). The alcoholic fermentation was completed in barrel. The wine spent 12 months in barrique before being racked off and blended. The three barrels blended together were then returned to their barrels for 6 more months before bottling. The wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered.
The most distinct of the three barrels was chosen for the final wine. Throughout this process, the project was called the “Super Dornfelder”, eventually it would be named Dornfelder Alte Reben (Old Vines) and the vineyard name, Domberg, acknowledged on the label.