Friday, March 8, 2013

With Wine Maker Clemens Busch in Puenderich at his Winery in the Mosel Valley, Germany

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Clemens Busch at Kloster Eberbach

For more, see:
Schiller’s Favorites from the VDP Grosses Gewaechs – Grand Cru – Presentation at Kloster Eberbach, 2012, Germany

Weingut Clemens Busch is one of the top producers in Germany. And not only that. In a region where the humidity and extremely steep vineyards make most wine makers to rely on some level of pesticide, Clemens Busch is 100% organic/biodynamic.

In a region where noticeable residual sugar in the finished wine and low alcohol is the calling card, Clemens Busch’s focus is on dry premium Rieslings that can compete with the best dry whites in the world. But Clemens Busch also produces off-dry wines as well as powerfully complex, nobly sweet wines.

Pictures: Annette Schiller, Ombiasy Wine Tours, and Clemens Busch at Kloster Eberbach

Weingut Clemens Busch is in Pünderich in the Mosel Valley, rather far down stream. The Busch family lives near the banks of the Mosel in a restored half- timbered house built in 1663. Because flooding can occur here, the vaulted cellar, built in the 1970s, lies nearby, on higher ground, at Clemens’s parents’ home.

 Picture: Weingut Clemens Busch and Tasting Room

The business has been run by Rita and Clemens Busch since 1986, with son Florian joining the team in 2008. Clemens is the fifth generation winemaker at this estate.

Vineyard area: 10 hectares
Annual production: 55,000 bottles
The winery is since 2007 member of the VDP (Association of German VDP).


Clemens Busch is considered by many to be the master interpreter of the natural winemaking approach in Germany. Clemens Busch began using organic practices in 1984 and more recently moved towards biodynamic. Winemaking is practiced in accordance with the guidelines of the ECOVIN association.

Pündericher Marienburg 

Most of the area under vines is situated in the Pündericher Marienburg vineyard which covers almost the entire hillside on the opposite side of the river from the village of Pünderich.

Pictures: Pündericher Marienburg 

Until the wine law of 1971, the Pündericher Marienburg consisted of several small plots and not without good reason, because the wines grown in the different parts of today’s Marienburg vineyard are still very different. It is not only the different slate soils but also the special microclimates that play an important role here. To emphasize the specific differences that exist within the Pündericher Marienburg, the corresponding wines of Clemens Busch still bear the names of the old plots: Fahrlay and Fahrlay-Terrassen, Falkenlay and Raffes, as well as Rothenpfad and Felsterrasse.

Fahrlay and Fahrlay-Terrassen, directly across the river from the Busch’s house, consist mainly of blue slate, producing a Riesling with a particularly intensive mineral flavor and slightly salty notes in the finish.

Pictures: Clemens Busch

Falkenlay, including the old-vine section called Raffes, is made up of grey slate, producing particularly creamy, fruit-driven Rieslings.

Grey slate dominates in the original Pündericher Marienburg location and this is where the grapes for »Großes Gewächs Marienburg GG« are harvested among others.

Riesling grapes are grown on 95% of the area, along with Müller-Thurgau and Spätburgunder to a lesser extent.

Wine Cellar

In the cellar, it is obvious that Clemens Busch does without high technology. After crushing, the grapes undergo skin contact and ferment spontaneously in both stainless steel and in oak Fuder (wooden casks of 1000 liters), sometimes into the next year’s harvest. In addition to lees contact, Clemens Busch likes to do lees stirring to increase the wines’ fruitiness and richness.

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller and Annette Schiller, Ombiasy Wine Tours, at Weingut Clemens Busch in Pünderich

As an exception, special yeast is used for noble-sweet wines where the sugar levels are sometimes so high that wild yeasts would not even begin to work. The wine ages in the oak fuder.

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