- Pfalz, Germany
In the news! Weingut Leiner is the newest member of Respekt-BIODYN, the very exclusive (25 members) Austrian/German biodynamic consortium which includes A-list wineries like Clemens Busch, Christmann, Rebholz, Wittmann Ott, Preisinger, and others. Leiner was certified organic in 2005 and Demeter-certified in 2011. Sven Leiner was also shortlisted last year for best German winemaker in Falstaff, Germany’s leading fine wine magazine. Congratulations Sven and Simone Leiner!"
Weingut Jürgen Leiner is located in Ilbesheim in the southern Pfalz, at the edge of the Pfalzerwald (Pfalz forest) and about thirty minutes’ drive north of the Alsatian border. They own 16.5 hectares and produce about 120,000 bottles of Riesling, Pinot Noir, and a few other varieties. They are Demeter certified biodynamic and members of Slow Food.
Sven Leiner explains why: "We know from years of personal experience and observation that the biologically dynamic farming method addresses all the right issues and fosters a harmonious interrelationship of the various parts of the ecosystem. Soil, as we understand it, is a living organism that we aim to revitalise by applying our own compost, organic teas and natural preparations. Our vines respond with healthy and balanced growth. Plant diversity has come to play a crucial role in the fertility of our vineyard, as it not only provides essential nutrients to our vines, but exerts a stabilising effect on the soil life. In fact, it takes a species-rich soil ecosystem, including bacteria as well as beneficial fungal mycelia, earthworms and a variety of insects, to ensure that an efficient nutrient cycle is in place. We ‘intervene’ simply to keep this natural process going. A wide array of plant life also cuts down significantly on the use of natural fertilisers. As passionate advocates of an ecologically sensitive approach to vineyard management, we have grown our vines using biodynamic practices since 2005. Our firm belief in biodynamic viticulture earned us Demeter Biodynamic certification in 2011 without a transition period."
The wines are “natural” but also perfectly clean and pure. Every label has a different insect from the vineyards on the label, a celebration of the life found among the vines. The soils are a complicated geology, generally loess and loam mixed with limestone, but there is a distinct terroir of colored sandstone (bundsandstein) and alluvial mix on the Pinot site and another special soil in the Riesling vineyards with an awesome German name: landschneckenkalk, or literally “land snail chalk.” Again, with the bugs. The Rieslings we are working with are vinified in steel, and the Pinot is aged 9 months in large fuder. The winery ferments with natural yeasts, and experiments with longer lees and skin contact. I have rarely had Pfalzer Rieslings with such dynamic energy and lip-smacking fruit as the Leiners, and the Spätburgunder “Handwerk” is one of the purest, silkiest, most enticingly ripe Pinots I have ever tasted.