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Discover Germany | Wine & Dine | The WineBarn Column

Working the Vineyards in spring TEXT: IRIS ELLMANN | PHOTOS: THE WINEBARN

As at any time of year, the weather in Germany can be unpredictable, and sometimes spring seems to arrive hesitantly: it can still snow in March, and the weather in April may change from sun to rain or hail showers in a couple of hours.This makes the work of the vigneron very challenging but it is also what gives us the subtle differences between the different vintages. This month I want to share with you what work is required to ensure the resulting harvest is a good one.

vines to reduce the number of eyes per shoot. It is a labour-intensive task but one that is essential to the goal of producing superb wines. It is also important to repair the training wires which guide the young shoots and to position the fruiting canes onto the lowest wire. As the sap is retained in the one year old wood the shoots are able to develop evenly. When there is a warm start to the spring the shoots develop early and the danger of a spring frost is what the vignerons fear most.

Dr Heger – Baden 2012 Weissburgunder Sonett dry Pinot Blanc dry (£174.60 case / £14.55 bottle) This is a textbook pinot blanc with a pleasantly fruity and slightly floral scent. An aroma of ripe yellow fruits and hints of citrus. Its nicely balanced acidity cuts through the fruity body very pleasantly. Long and zippy finish. Because of manual harvesting and careful vinification, this Weissburgunder is ready to drink now but can also be stored for another 2 – 3 years. For an alternative choice I would suggest: Laible – Baden 2013 Riesling Alte Reben (Old Vines) *** Riesling dry (£197.40 case / £16.45 bottle) This wonderfully dry Riesling enjoys the glorious scent of a delicious passion fruit sorbet. Delicious! On the palate, hints of peach, mango and gooseberry. This wine has an elegant, smooth and succulent finish Happy Drinking! Iris

Careful pruning on the Dr Heger estate I am going to focus my attention on Baden – an area I like to think of as a wine universe! It is Germany’s warmest and sunniest region and has over 39,000 acres of vineyards. A start to the vintage year Temperatures in the early spring are often surprisingly warm – indeed in 2014 they reached as much as 15°C in the middle of February. In the vineyards the early spring work is key to creating the foundations of quality and quantity for the coming vintage. The first stage is the careful pruning of the

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Baden Producers We have four wonderful producers in Baden: Dr Heger, Bercher, Franz Keller and Alexander Laible. The Dr Heger vineyard combines three superlatives in equal measure: extremely steep, extremely hot and extremely stony. It is a true "grand cru" site, known around the world as one of the most famous, and most sought after sites in Germany, thanks to its outstanding eco-balance and extraordinary terroir.

Iris Ellmann (above) is managing director at The WineBarn, an award-winning merchant of German wine based in beautiful Hampshire. The WineBarn, Clump Farm Barn, Farleigh Lane, Dummer, Hampshire RG25 2AF E-mail: iris@thewinebarn.co.uk

As as introduction to Dr Heger’s wines I would recommend you try:

www.thewinebarn.co.uk