Three leading Estates (von Hövel, Gunderloch and Jurtschitsch) set up the Wurzelwerk Project to explore the roots of terroir. The findings so far are surprising!
Max von Kunow (Weingut von Hövel / Saar / Germany), Johannes Hasselbach (Weingut Gunderloch / Rheinhessen / Germany) and Alwin & Stefanie Jurtschitsch (Weingut Jurtschisch / Kamptal / Austria) are three leading Estates in their region, which all pride themselves to respect their unique terroir.
However, as all terroir-fanatic wine growers, they wanted to put the concept of terroir to the test and answer the question: Is there a terroir signature coming through even if a wine is made by different Estates?
They decided to test the power of terroir over winemaking style with wines from their Estates from the 2012 vintage. Each of the three wine growers would produce a wine from a prime site from each of their three estates (and gave these wines some fancy names to bypass any regulation issues):
They went to great length to ensure equal winemaking conditions. As the grapes needed to be transported over 100s of miles, they for instance agreed that all would macerate te grapes with the same maceration time. Also, all fermented the wines with ambient yeasts.
We had the chance to taste the resulting (nine) wines recently and were really surprised by the result. The wines from a same vineyard could not have been more different in style, ranging from white fruit / smoke to more structured wines.
If anything, the wines showed more an estate touch than a terroir touch at this early stage. It will be fascinating to see how the balance between terroir and Estate impact will evolved as the wines mature. We are already looking forward to tasting the series again in a few years' time!
In the meantime, we applaud these winemakers for taking on this fascinating and quite frankly fun project. You will find more information about the project as well as the possibility to buy these wines on the Wurzelwerk website.
© Text by Mosel Fine Wines "The Independent Review of Mosel Riesling ... and beyond!"
Disclaimer: Mosel Fine Wines is an independent publication and has no commercial relationship with any Estate, association or organization featured in this article.