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“Konrad Salwey has a clear idea of what he wants and can follow his ideas without any compromises now. His latest wines are wild, fresh, pure, and unpretentious.” -Stephen Reinhardt , The Finest Wines of Germany
“The Salwey estate has always been an absolute specialist in Pinot, be it Blanc, Gris or Noir. The style has changed somewhat in recent years, replacing an emphasis on power and opulence with greater elegance and structure.” -Michael Schmidt, German Superstars of Today and Tomorrow, jancisrobinson.com
The Salwey winery is situated in Germany’s warmest region, known as the Kaiserstuhl (the King’s throne), which sits atop an extinct volcano not far from Switzerland and across the Rhine from Alsace. Though the Salwey family’s viticultural roots date back to the 18th century, the winery found international fame in the 1980’s and 1990’s under Wolf-Dietrich Salwey, considered one of Germany’s most outstanding Pinot specialists, and a kind of unofficial ambassador for the unique Pinot wines of the Baden. Tragically, in 2011 Wolf-Dietrich died in a car accident, and his son Konrad was forced to take the helm.
Though Konrad had been involved in the family winery since 2002, the inheritance suddenly thrust upon him was huge: 49 hectares of vines and a production of 350,000 bottles a year was now his sole responsibility. In the first few years, Konrad made the wines in the conservative style of his father, but in the years that followed he has since developed a clear vision of the wines he wants to produce, taking them in a more natural direction.
Salwey is committed to the classic Baden varietals; Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. The wines are fermented completely dry and defined by the loess and volcanic soil of the area. “We require the absolute highest standards in tending to our vineyards,” says Konrad. “100% of the selection is performed by hand and fermentation is done exclusively with natural yeast mostly in big “ovals.” We avoid fining of the wines and almost always bottle without filtration.” Contact with the lees on some of these wines can be extreme, up to 18 months for the GG’s! The goal is to produce full-bodied yet elegant wines with gentle supporting acidity. It’s tempting to call these wines “Burgundian” with their barrique influence, rich textures and saline minerality, but the truth is that not only are they distinctly Germanic, they are distinctly reflective of the Southern Baden and its ancient volcanic terroir, which is unique in the world.