Every year fine wines ferment in the cellar of the family Stolleis.
After the gentle pressing of the grapes comes the time of sedimentation in which the must is clarified naturally. Dust and other little particles settle at the bottom of the barrel so that we can pour the clear juice into the cellar using the hight differential. This saves us from having to use filters and preserves the juice's texture. The fermentation begins just a few days later and the yeast converts the sugar into alcohol. In this stage, the yeast is highly sensitive: Florian Thiel watches over the fermentation process and supervises it carefully. The motto that we have made our own applies here, too: Intervene as little as possible, as much as necessary.
During this time we hardly ever see Florian Thiel as he practically sleeps between the tanks!
Sensitive yeast fermentation
Our cooling system provides valuable support during the fermentation process. We can regulate the temperature of each tank, and thus achieve a temperature-controlled fermentation. At the beginning, we make sure to cool more in order to achieve the characteristic freshness of the Stolleis-wines. Just a few more degrees and the yeast would reproduce explosively in this sugary environment: lots of flavour would be lost in a warm environment. After these exciting weeks, there is plenty of time for resting.
That means we let the wines develop carefully and mature sensitively. Our wines are to settle on the fine yeast and develop gently to completion. We give them all the time they need and intervene little in the maturity process. In my experience, this is the best way during the maturity period. We want to bother the wines as little as possible.
EACH YEAR SHALL BE EQUITABLE
In our wine cellar, we have tanks in all shapes and sizes so that we can mature our wines divided into small sections. This approach has proven itself throughout the years. We have experienced it numerous times that two adjoining vineyards fit together perfectly one year, and in another they may have made a completely different development. We would not do our wine justice if we left these peculiarities unnoticed every year.
That is also the reason why, depending on the year, a new wine appears on the menu or why there is no successor to another one. Not everyone understands the fact that good wines may not be available in the following year. Discussions with the wholesale trade, especially, can be a little tough every now and then. However, we will always find a sympathetic ear when we put forward our philosophy. To us, winegrowing is a craft in accord with nature which does not produce standardised industrial products.
Our red wines, our Pinot Noir and St. Laurent in particular, are stored in barrique barrels in the wood cellar. Each year we select either American or French oak in which our wines age in barrique barrels between 12 and sometimes up to 36 months. The three of us, cellar master Florian Thiel, Hans-Christoph und Peter Stolleis, gain impressions on the wines’ maturity levels regularly and discuss the next steps.
When we are all satisfied it is time for the bottling. We start bottling our white wines in the February following the year of harvesting, our red wines after 1.5 to 3.5 years.
This is how we have handled it here for generations. In all honesty, we are very proud of our traditional way. Especially in these times in which the world seems to be turning faster and faster, we rely on our methods and principles that have proven themselves throughout generations and gently add new possibilities.