“We rely 100% on Riesling for our Saar wine.”
In Ayl, we produce Saar wines in the 5th generation
Riesling is our passion at Weingut Peter Lauer. Our wine estate in Ayl has among the best steep slopes on the Saar. In addition to the famous Ayler Kupp, we cultivate two other important vineyards in the Mosel region: the Saar Feilser directly above the river and the steeply sloping vineyard Schonfels, a little farther upstream. Recently, we also replanted and recultivated the now forgotten Lambertskirch, just a stone’s throw from Schonfels.
Our white wines have been among the best in the Saar for many years. Since 2013, we have been a member of the VDP (Association of German Prädikat Wine Estates). Our wines from VDP.GROSSEN LAGEN® in the dry and off-dry styles are particularly special. We also produce exceptional sparkling wines.
Each cask corresponds to a distinctive style and a special point of origin. The must from specific vineyards is always vinified in the same container as the previous year. The cask is thereby unique.
The wild yeast flora inside the cask “hibernates” in the fine fibers of the wood and ferments the same site again in a style comparable to its predecessors. According to grandfather’s custom, all wines are given this number – the house number in the old vaulted cellar.
Our wines are vinified according to age-old artisanal and traditional winemaking practices and fermented spontaneously without genetically modified or cultured yeasts. The vineyards serve as the source of these wild yeasts. But the cellar is also home to natural flora.
On the way to a great authentic wine, both sources are involved and leave their characteristic fingerprint – the yeasts of the vineyard and those of the cellar.
Our wines achieve their inner stability and balance through long and slow fermentations and extensive lees contact – partly supported by bâtonnage, or lees stirring. This also makes the use of bentonites superfluous, and we can do without the commonly used fining agents of animal origin, such as isinglass, gelatin, or casein. The wines vinified in this way stand for authentic craftsmanship and show their point of origin.
In the vineyard, we do not use substances that destroy herbs or poison insects or mites. We use the means of organic viticulture that have been established for years, but without the use of the environmental toxin copper, which has been shown to kill earthworms and microorganisms in our soil. Organic fertilizers from cattle and horse stables in our village are used on the slopes. Heavy machines are not allowed in our vineyards, as they unnecessarily compact the soil and impoverish the living space there.
If you look at our vineyards, you will quickly see that the vines are grown on steep slopes, and the roots go down some 20 meters into crevices of the bedrock. The soil is covered with blue-gray slate, which stores the heat, and therefore ensures an extremely favorable microclimate in the hot slate slopes.
We start harvesting in mid- to late October, which can go on into November. Such a long period of ripening produces the most aromatic wine, the most dense and interesting. A wine that can only be found here – a wine that tells of its location in the slate and heat – of the cold and of the work in the steep slopes. Elsewhere, complex machines have been harvesting the grapes for decades. We firmly believe in the unsurpassed quality of selective and careful handpicking and very gentle pressing. This is the secret of the elegance and delicacy of our wines.
The Saar Valley is relatively high above sea level. The vines grow here at heights of up to 350 meters. At the same time, the wide-open valley offers unhindered access to cool winds. The maturation time is therefore extended and mineral notes in the wine are enhanced. Cool nights ensure large temperature amplitudes, which particularly promote the aromatic character of the Riesling grape.
It was over 100 years ago that Saar wine had a mythical reputation – it was twice as expensive as wine from Bordeaux and Burgundy. A good bottle cost 15 marks (Goldmarks) and more. That would be one or two months’ wages today. The oldest vineyard classification in the world from 1832 testifies to the importance of viticulture on the Saar at that time. This historical viticultural cadastre describes the world’s most exclusive and valuable vineyards of the 19th century. At this time, great-great-grandfather Matthias laid the foundation for a 180-year-old tradition.