Germany – Rheinhessen
The prestigious Keller estate is located in the small town of Flörsheim-Dalsheim in the Rheinhessen wine-growing region of Germany and it has been in the family for over 220 years. Klaus-Peter and Julia Keller have plots in the following vineyard sites: Frauenberg, Bürgel and Hubacker (the village of Dalsheim), Silberberg (Monsheim), as well as Kirchspiel, Abtserde, Morstein (Westhofen) and Pettanthal (Nierstein).
The whole Keller 18ha estate crops lower than 35hl/ha, lower than many Grand Cru vineyards in Burgundy! Many vines were planted in the 50’s and 60’s. Dual vignerons, Klaus-Peter and his wife Julia turn conventional wisdom upside down by slowing photosynthesis to achieve a long. slow, ripening period.
The rigorous berry and bunch selection in the vineyard [for the dry wines no botrytis is wanted] enables long skin-contact [with crushed berries], up to 24 hours, in the cellar prior to fermentation. This process enables greater flavour extraction, but excess phenolic extraction [giving hardness or oiliness] is always a risk. In Keller’s case, perfect fruit, great flavour concentration and careful vinification mitigate this risk. A mixture of old oak barrels and stainless steel tanks are used for fermentation.
Klaus-Peter is not afraid to ferment at higher-than-normal temperatures, up to 24ºc, and employs ageing on fine yeast lees (until March for the top wines), and uses mostly wood vats of 1,800-2,400lt.