Peter Jakob Kühn Troken Riesling 2013

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. 

Food pairings:

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.

View from the Peter Jakob Kühm Estates, Rheingau, Germany
View from the Peter Jakob Kühn Estates, Rheingau, Germany

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”.

Image of soils from vineyards in Peter Jakob Kühn

“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.

Wild flowers amongst the vines in the vineyards of Peter Jakob Kühn
Wild flowers among the vines in the vineyards of Peter Jakob Kühn

Many wine producers are now switching over to Biodynamic farming practices, but what does that mean and is it effective?

Rudolf Steiner, Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect and esotericist
Rudolf Steiner, Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect and esotericist

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.

Diagram showing affinities between astrology and plants

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?

2 Comments

  1. I am a big fan of biodynamic viticulture and have met a number of vigneron who are extremely enthusiastic about farming this way. In Alsace, Chablis, Sancerre and Pommard I know people working the land applying as many of the common principles as practical, but in some cases they are having to “transform” the old system and processes slowly. Surprisingly maybe, as an organisational psychologist we are trained in systems approaches to organisational transformation and management, and of course a farm is a classic system, but the trick is in knowing what are the main components of that system. I can only guess at them since I was an expert in financial systems more than anything else[Banks, insurance companies, investment companies]. I even believe in the lunar effect since I get headaches and have difficulty sleeping on full moon nights ….. scares my poor wife witless 😂😂🌜🌛🌙

    Like

    1. 😅 I get headaches when it rains, but that probably depends on humidity. My boyfriend is an agronomist and devout believer that science can explain everything. I expected him to be skeptical about biodynamic farming, but actually he is really interested, especially in fostering biodiversity and living soils. If the moon effects the tides, it may, MAY, also influence water underground. But cosmic forces and positive energy sounds more like witchcraft than sound farming techniques. But who’s to say, maybe we just haven’t figured it out yet.

      Liked by 1 person

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