Soft, fragile and delicate. Minimalistic finesse and charm with a sweet disposition.
Luminous, almost transparent, straw yellow colour with green reflections. Subtle and refined aromas of wild flowers, chamomile, fresh cut grass, and candied kiwi and pineapple. On the palate soft and slightly sweet balanced by fresh acidity. Overall very delicate with a light body and returning notes of chamomile on the finish.
The slightly sweet taste of this wine and the delicate floral aromas make it a good choice for delicate desserts. Some examples include: cream pastry puffs, shortbread or almond biscuits, coconut cookies, Angel food cake.
The Peter Jakob Kühn Estate has been in the family for about 230 years. It is located in the Rheingau region of Germany, known for its superb Riesling. The Estate is focused on Biodynamic viticulture and is a proud member of Demeter, an independent organization that runs the biodynamic movement. They aim to produce “a soulful wine in the greatest possible harmony with nature”.
“We don’t just encounter weeds, vermin and diseases, but a certain logical system of cause and effect, which we just need to understand better and that we can influence gently but effieciently.”
-Peter Jakob Kuhn Estates website
The grapes are handpicked and selected before being pressed with low pressure for several hours. The must, unfiltered, runs down from the press into the cellar where it rests for a night before being transferred into containers for fermentation. A spontaneous fermentation with only the natural yeasts is used without controlling the temperature in order not to manipulate the natural process. If the wine “wants”, there is a malolactic fermentation. The wines then rest and mature in contact with the yeasts for up to 3 years, and are then aged in large oak casks.
Many wine producers are now switching over to Biodynamic farming practices, but what does that mean and is it effective?
Biodynamics is a type of organic farming based on the ideas of Austrian philosopher, Rudolph Steiner. Steiner believed in a type of spiritual science where a farm is seen as a complex and self sustainable living system which functions in accordance with natural forces. According to Steiner, even the most distant movement of stars can cause changes in the land, and if something is wrong it means that the forces are out of balance. This approach claims that the weakness in conventional science is an obsession with analysing physical effects without taking into account the forces underlying them. Biodynamic farmers aim to disturb nature as little as possible by creating balance and fostering a harmony between soil, plants, animals and cosmic forces alike.
While organic farming prohibits the use of pesticides on crops, biodynamics goes a step further with the use of “preparations”, or herbal sprays and composting techniques, and the timing of work on the land (such as planting, pruning and harvesting) regulated by the movements of stars and planets following a lunar calendar. Other practices include burying cows’ horns filled with quartz crystals into the soil to replenish it with natural nutrients and attract light. In addition, cover crops, green manuers and crop rotation are used to encourage biodiversity and create healthy soils.
Winemakers claim that these practices lead to stronger, cleaner, more vibrant wines which are more balanced, with more longevity and sense of terroir. While biodynamics could certainly be seen as more sustainable for the environment, there is still some skepticism. Stiener may have originated the ideas, but he never actually put them into practice. It is criticised as pseudoscience being overly influenced by esoteric and mystical beliefs and there is no actual scientific evidence of its efficacy.
What are your thoughts on Biodynamic viticulture?