Schloss Mühlenhof 'Pinke Pinke' 2020
Producer: Schloss Mühlenhof
Varietal: 50% Müller-Thurgau , 35% Sankt Laurent, 15% Gelber Muskateller
Notes: From 20 year old vines in Kettenheim and Alzey, planted to 1.5ha of loess and calcareous clay soils. The grapes are hand-harvested on October 8th, vineyard sorted and whole cluster maceration for 24hrs followed by spontaneous fermentation lasting six weeks in stainless steel. The wine spends five months on lees and then is bottled in January.
The Schloss Mühlenhof property is a large estate (nearly 20ha) spread across the slopes above Kettenheim, 3km south of Alzey. This size would seem reasonable, if not expected, considering the estate was started in 1846 and is now hosting the 6th generation.
It began as a rye and wheat mill until the 1920s, when the small vineyard attached became the focus for the family income. The vines of that era have been replaced over time but some on the property are still as old as 45yrs. Now in the hands of Gabriele, Nicolas and Walter Michel, the farm operates ‘organically’ but not by any legal standard. They follow what they call, ‘ecologically healthy’ farming practices, with the intent on capturing the pure expression of the Rheinhessen style.
The vineyards are worked heavily in August to reduced yields (green harvesting), cutting nearly 1/2 of their fruit. Grapes are vinified to preserve freshness while revealing depth and concentration. Considering the size of the harvest, they are experts at doing just that. Knowing their soils for so long (mostly limestone combinations), the family does capture a clear minerality and a distinct spirit from each varietal, from parcels as small as .4ha. The Michel’s final act (perhaps their expertise) in the cellar, brings multiple tanks together, each with their strongest asset to form deliciously drinking, full flavored wines with a direct link to the Rhienhessen region. Provided the Michel’s continue in this way, there will be no shortage of this kind of wine along the Rhine, for the generations to come.
In 2019 they decided to expand their range and experiment with a low intervention approach that lead to their ‘Boden Funk’ wines. ‘Boden Funk’ can be roughly translated as ‘sound waves’ and is meant to express that the terroir is being transmitted through the roots, into the vines and then finally the grapes. During harvest the Michel’s keep a close eye on the process as they stand back and allow extended skin contact time and extended lees time while the wine ages. The wine is left unfiltered and unfined, using only gravity as a clarifying measure with minimal SO2 added at bottling (10g/1000L).