The 2014 vintage at Weinbach is one characterised by sadness, a fact attested to by the release of two tribute bottlings, one to Catherine Faller's sister Laurence and the other to their mother Colette. For a single family to lose two of the region's most recognisable figures in such a short space of time was cruel indeed.
The season itself saw one of the earliest bud-breaks on record amid warm and dry conditions. Flowering went well and the vines looked set to produce an above average sized crop - so much so that Cathy's son Theo took the seemingly sensible decision to carry out a green harvest at the end of July. September was fine with good levels of sunshine and harvest began on the 23rd in fine conditions. While the team had to wait until October for malic acid levels in the Riesling grapes to drop, September saw the Clos des Capucins harvested, alongside early ripening plots of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir.
But then, with dreaded efficiency, the fruit flies arrived. Much has been said about the dreaded drosophilia suzukii in recent times - but what you really need to know is that they attack ripe fruit only, and with maddening speed. All that can realistically be done is increase your picking numbers and be prepared to sort, sort and sort again. It is not hard spotting the affected bunches, the smell of vinegar is unmissable. And so it was that the decision to green harvest, combined with the heavy selection needed to sort out any affected bunches, led to a painfully low average yield of just 27hl/ha across the board, and as low as 15hl/ha for Gewurztraminer. Quantity to one side, the Fallers have produced a most lovely vintage of great quality - the 2014s represent freshness, poise and assured profiles. Fitting attributes, given the two people this vintage serves to remember.