This acclaimed estate, on the severely steep slopes of the Mosel, was founded in 1956. Ernst Clüsserath Jr. and his wife Heike have kept it family-owned since. It consists of 3.7 hectares of Riesling vines, ranging from twenty to forty years of age, split between the Trittenheim Apotheke and Trittenheim Altärchen sites. With the exception of some rented neighboring rows in 2008, they have remained estate-grown to ensure healthy, complex fruit. The roots dig deep into weathered slate soils and produce naturally low yields. Ernst insists on vine health and management for intense concentration. Early on, wild herbs were planted between the rows to invite insect life in order to naturally keep the ecology in balance. Pruning is a daily, meticulous and necessary task, leaving only eight buds on one remaining shoot. Further green harvesting is done if the harvest is still too productive. He harvests when nature claims the grapes are ready, tasting for aromas he will preserve in the wine. He allows only natural yeasts in the fermentation. The wines remain on the lees for three to four months and malolactic fermentation is never allowed, as he wishes the wine to ‘dance on the palate.’ He aims for perfection, to all the terroir of Trittenheim to shine through: low alcohol, fresh with acidity and layered with the minerals of the stones. Ernst and Heike have more recently joined the Bernkasteler Ring, an organization of Mosel, Saar and Ruwer winegrowers who strive for stricter and higher standards for their vineyards, so it was no surprise that in 1995 his efforts were rewarded by admission to the list of the best 100 wine estates in Germany, and it is no surprise that the estate has remained on the list ever since. Overall they are simply and naturally continuing the magnificent heritage of these magical slopes.
Grapes are hand-harvested from 15-25 year old vines grown in weathered, slatey soils which lend a refined, delicate mineral flavor to the finished product. Vines here receive southeastern exposure to the sun, which, along with the climate and the soil, provides great potential for excellent Riesling. Grapes are handled very carefully after harvest and are pressed immediately after picking. Fermentation begins in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks using natural yeasts and lasts about 8 weeks, after which the wine remains on the lees until being bottled in mid-March. A minimal amount of SO2 is added.