In July we visited Weingut Wittmann and was guided both in the vineyards and in the cellar by the Cellarmaster Georg Rieser. We also had the chance to taste a large range of their wines.
We spent quite some time visiting their different vineyards. Georg got very en gaged when we talked about how they work in the vineyards to produce the best possible grapes. He pointed out that this is where the great wines are created, not in the cellar.
Weingut Wittman perform green harvest but the timing and the amount removed depends on the vintage. In a cold vintage they do an early green harvest to ensure faster maturation of the grapes. Another important task in the vineyard is the removal of leaves around the grapes. They need to avoid getting grapes wet, since this could result in botrytis, but they also want to reduce the amount of sun directly on the grapes. Therefore they cut more on the side that has morning sun, and less on the afternoon side since this is more intense. They perform several harvests per vineyard to ensure clusters/berries are picked at optimal ripeness.
Weingut Wittman has been biodynamic since 2004 but before that they had a long history of organic viticulture that started in 1980. By 1990 they where 100% organic.
In the cellar they have some beautiful large oak casks that are over 100 years old. Some of the Großes Gewächs (GG) wines are stored in the old casks but some are in the stainless steel vats. Georg also comments on the importance of maintenance of the old wooden vats to ensure freshness. They do have some barrique size barrels but these are used for red wine and for some Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay. New wood barrels are never used for the Riesling wines since they do not want any wood notes on the Riesling.
Since some years back they use a sorting table for selection before the grapes are pressed. This is one more initiative to heighten the level of quality in the fruit that goes into the wines. Gravity is used as much as possible instead of pumping when moving the must from pressing to fermentation and then on to storage. As Georg puts it: “The wine has to be handled gently”.
Wittman uses natural yeast and spontaneous fermentation in most cases, but sometimes they need to add some yeast to ensure the process finishes in time. If possible they do not want the wine to be fermenting during the winter. In colder vintages with less opulent fruit they use longer maceration times to add depth to the wines.
They vinify different harvests and plots separately and then later make blends based on the quality and personality of the wine and vintage. They have a tasting with more than 90 different wines where the staff and the family takes part, and based on the impressions and opinions they decide on a blend for the vintage. This means that there are no pre-decided vineyard sections for each type of wine.
The wines we tasted at Weingut Wittmann
2015 Wittmann Riesling trocken
Slim nose with yellow apples and tropical fruit. Fresh citric acidity with minerals and a grippy and almost a bit salty expression.
This is an energetic and precise wine and a very good entry level Riesling.
2015 Wittmann Niersteiner Riesling trocken
This is an Ortswein from vineyards with mainly red slate, situated close to the Rhein.
Ripe notes of yellow apples, apricot, an abundance of tropical fruit but also some fresh young green apples. Rather broad acidity but with good structure and grip.
The wine has a generous and juicy expression.
2015 Wittmann Westhofener Riesling trocken
This is an Ortswein from vineyards with mainly limestone.
Tight fresh fruit nose with apples, pears and some slight stone fruit. Very pure and precise acidity that also has a juicy expression.
Mouthwatering and well balanced wine.
2014 Wittmann Westhofener Riesling trocken
Rather ripe tropical fruit notes, apples and some petroleum. Juicy but not very precise acidity that stays in a rather long finish. A rather generous and opulent wine.
2015 Wittmann Westhofener Aulerde Riesling Großes Gewächs
The soil in Aulerde has less limestone than Kirchspiel and Morstein.
Rather broad and open nose showing tropical fruits like apricot and lychee. The acidity is juicy and stays in a long finish.
This wine has a very generous expression and good structure.
2015 Wittmann Westhofener Kirchspiel Riesling Großes Gewächs
Compared with Morstein, the Kirchspiel wines are usually more open and ready to drink early and is often showing notes of grapefruit. The soil is similar to Morstein.
Very fresh nose with white stone fruit, lots of lychee and some young apricot and pears.
The acidity is amazing with a very energetic and firm expression and an abundance of minerals. Some fresh fruit notes balance the acidity well.
At the moment the wine is slightly dominated by the acidity but it should develop fantastically with time. A great wine with fantastic potential.
2015 Wittmann Westhofener Morstein Riesling Großes Gewächs
The wines from Morstein usually has a lot of citrus and acidity. The soil has clayish marl and limestone on the upper layer and more limestone in the subsoil.
There are multiple layers of fruit on this dense and concentrated nose, but it never gets overly dominant. We also find some very slight flint and yeast notes and white flowers.
Juicy and mouthwatering acidity with a grippy expression showing both lime fruit and lemon. Again the fruit is dense and complemented by some herbal notes.
The wine already has a good balance between the acidity and the fruit and it manages to combine generosity with elegance. A truly fantastic wine.
2014 Wittmann Weissburgunder Weißer Burgunder Reserve
Aged in new oak barrels of 600l.
Fresh young apricot dominated a rather opulent nose. There are also oak notes on both the nose and palate but they do not get dominant. Good acidic bite and minerals on the palate where we also find some nice fresh fruit.
This is a rich and charming Pinot Blanc.
2014 Wittmann Chardonnay Reserve Trocken
Rather slim palate with tropical fruit and som notes of oak.
The wine has a rather energetic acidity and juicy pineapple notes on the palate. Will require some more time to find the right balance.
2015 Wittmann Riesling Auslese
Residual suger of 120.
Rather slim on both nose and palate with young tropical fruit and honey, combined with a rather juicy lime acidity.
Fresh Auslese with good precision, but rather one-dimensional.
2015 Wittmann Westhofener Morstein Riesling Auslese
Residual suger of 125.
Lots of young stone fruit and pineapple combined with honey and floral notes.
Energetic Auslese with a grippy acidity and a good mineral structure. Should develop fantastically with time
2015 Wittmann Westhofener Morstein Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel
A rather spicy nose with stone fruit, herbs, apricot, bees wax, white flowers and lime.
Dense and multi layered palate with similar notes as on the palate but also a fresh acidity and mineral structure.
Fantastic Auslese that should be kept in storage for a long time.
Overall impressions of Weingut Wittmann in 2015
We were very impressed with Wittman’s wines from the 2015 vintage. They have a complexity and depth in combination with a precise and very energetic acidity. The Kirchspiel and Morstein GG wines are truly amazing and we would recommend anyone to stock up on these, but also the other wines keep a very high quality level.
One last note
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