BOLLIG LEHNERT   Mosel  -  GERMANY

Stefan Bollig, vintage 1961 and passionately devoted to his work, is a fine example of the new generation of Mosel vintners. The family has been producing wine since the 17th Century, but new cellars and a new house have been built on the outskirts of Trittenheim. Stefan and his wife Jill live in the estate house in Trittenheim with their family, whilst the Weinstube am Domhof (a wine pub) is situated in the old Piesport house. The total holdings of 4 hectares (10 acres) are tended by the family themselves. Their very steep sloped vineyard sites are composed mainly of blue and black decomposing slaty soil.

Stefan has been managing the estate since 1987, after completing his viticultural studies and practical experience in Trier and Bad Kreuznach. Dedications to the estate and costly investments have achieved a high standard of quality. Not many small estates would invest into such an expensive and modern low-pressure tank press, which is so essential for producing a clear and clean must — critical for the production of fine, aromatic Riesling. Careful vineyard management and gentle processing, from the vineyard to the cellars, underline the quality benchmark. Apart from strict pruning to reduce yields, careful foliage management has led to less spraying of fungicides and the final spraying is at least 2 months before harvest. There is no use of insecticides and no mechanical movement of the soil while natural interrow growth of plants is encouraged to further stress the vines in their very water poor slate soils. The grapes on their steep slopes must all be hand-harvested, carefully selected and gently transported as undamaged whole cluster bunches in small bins, without pumping, and whole pressing at low pressure. Natural sedimentation follows before the clear, untreated juice falls by gravity into the cellar. The must ferments slowly under natural conditions with the cellar yeast flora at a cool temperature in old oak Fuder (1000 litres) casks in the underground cellars, whereby the natural sweetness is retained, where appropriate, and the young wines are left on the fine lees for up to 3 months to give the wines more character and stability. Only one light filtration takes place before bottling. Recently, more storage capacity with stainless steel tanks has been added.

The very steep Apotheke vineyard, across the Mosel from the estate house, is Stefan's best site in Trittenheim. "Apotheke" translates to "pharmacy", and its medicinal power is perhaps more than a myth. Stefan Bollig's wines are stylish and crisp with a fine fruity elegance and good mineral content. The fine structure of ripe acidity gives his wines plenty of maturing potential.

The estate label with matching gold capsule, depicting the estate house in Piesport, has been taken from an engraving in the family's possession, and was introduced in 1995 to emphasize the traditional Mosel style of the wines. Apart from using natural cork, Stefan has been bottling wines with the new Stelvin closure since the 2007 vintage.