In 1999, after a number of winemaking stints in Germany and further abroad, Vollenweider purchased a small, one-hectare plot of vines in the once famous Wolfer Goldgrube. The Goldgrube, like so many vineyards in the Mosel, is one with historic fame. It also happens to have a genetic gold mine of old, un-grafted vines up to and beyond 80 years old. Yet, as with so many of these sacred places, the Goldgrube was going slowly fallow (or, at the very least, under-performing) because it had no author to write its story, no one to sing its song.
And then someone like Daniel comes along and things change, completely.
In his first few vintages, Daniel’s focus was almost exclusively on sweet wines; the results were extraordinary. The wines showcased an explosive energy, glossy and kaleidoscopic mid-palates with a sternly Germanic definition and detail. In 2003, Daniel was awarded the winemaking “Discovery of the Year” by the influential wine publication Gault Millau; by 2009, the same publication had him ranked at four stars, at the same level with heavy-weights Karthäuserhof, Schloss Lieser, Willi Schaefer and Zilliken. This is impressive company for an estate only a few years old, to say nothing of the fact that this “estate” is essentially a one-man show.
The winemaking philosophy is as simple as it gets, there are no short cuts, no compromises. The estate is 100% Riesling and 100% steep vineyards awash with slate. The work is all done by hand and the vinification is as hands-off as possible. That’s it.