Nature provided us with a rich and mature harvest! The earlier wines in the cellar indicate good things to come. Here is a quick review of our vintage 2018:
January was quite warm, February and March cool once again. Then, however, instead of springtime, summer immediately arrived in Langenlois! In Kamptal we did not suffer any late frost, just a short cooler period with continuous and quite heavy rain in May and many, many hours of sunlight, making circumstances ideal for an incredibly early and perfect flowering (starting the 22nd of May).
There were high hopes for an outstanding harvest. Summer was extremely dry, apart from a few dashes of rain in June and a local thunder shower Mid-July. So, harvest started as early as never before (Sekt base wines by the third week of August) and after a more or less unstable September with a few rain breaks, and because of the accelerating ripeness, we were picking almost uninterruptedly.
Initially the high yields caused quite a stir also in the Kamptal. Considering temperatures and potential precipitation, many growers decided in favor of a very quick harvest. But the weather held and rewarded all who had remained calm and patient. However as soon as we approached top qualities (mostly concerning Riesling) , the yield was going down dramatically. Selection for absolute top wines was consuming time and forces, yet will definitely pay dividends! On the Zöbinger Heiligenstein, for example, our experienced team spent over two weeks with meticulous selection. This resulted in wonderful, sparkling clean and delicately fruity Riesling grapes on the one hand, and on the other hand, even a little barrel of sweet wine, pressed from the few but perfectly botrytized berries. The drop of bitterness: Only 50% of an average yield on the most famous site!
Almost throughout the whole period we were bringing in Grüner Veltliners from most varied vineyards and towards the end, of incredible density and complexity. The resulting wines, especially those of old vines, will be mightier as the 2017s, nevertheless they already appear to be firm and promising. It is still too early for a final verdict on the “Erste Lagen” wines although we feel quite confident.
The warm year definitely benefitted the red wines: Pinot Noir and Zweigelt with a perfect physiologic maturity came in before the end of September. We waited a bit longer for the Cabernet Franc, and, considering the strict selection done, we are indeed looking very much forward to the result in the glass.
A TBA of Gelber Muskateller from Rosenhügel resulting from the remaining grapes there, ideally concentrated by noble rot, it brought us the worthy finale! We had just managed to pick them out, before the autumn rain started. A then again blessing rain, helping to get the natural fertilizers (cow manure) into the soil and to anchor the seeds for the green cover before the hibernation of the vines.
Looking back at 2018, as constituted by the end of November, we state a 2.1 °C higher average temperature, and significantly more sun hours, compared to the long term average. Precipitation levels were a bit lagging behind.
The vegetative advantage from spring held until harvest and the rain in September kept us busy. From the perspective of our colleagues in the vineyards, this meant maximum dedication almost nonstop. Not least because of their commitment and performance, we may look forward to another vintage of high quality!