Weingut Leiner is a Biodynamic winery in lbesheim, a municipality in Südliche Weinstrasse or southern Pfalz district, in the southern part of the Rhineland-Palatinate or Pfalz region of western Germany, about thirty minutes’ drive north of the border with Alsace (French) and on the edge of the Pfalzerwald (Pfalz forest). Production is around 120,000 bottles. Sven Leiner has made a name for himself for the Pinot Blanc from Kalmit.
Owner: Sven Leiner. 3rd generation.
Vineyards: Bereich Südliche Weinstrasse. 2018 16 hectares (93.5 acres).
Biodynamics: Biodynamic practices since 2005. Make all their own preps. Serious composting.
Biodiversity: I asked Sven what he added to the farm organism since taking over (excluding the biodynamic work with the vines) and he said ‘we augmented the biodiversity with the different cover crops in the vineyards. We also developed a new relationship to our cultural space. So we began look after the surrounding land and installed trees, hedges and other habitats. In 2021 we added chickens and recently (March 2021) we cooperated with a farmer who now can graze some of our vineyards and orchards with his Highland Cattle.
Celestial cycles: ‘The perpetual rhythm of expansion and contraction sustains all life. Year after year, we are witness to the dynamic forces of the cosmos and the seasonal influences that dictate our growing cycles. Biodynamic cultivation confirms that the formative forces active in all plants are in harmony with these phenomena. We are therefore very attentive to these natural and cosmic cycles and have deeply internalised them in our cultivation practices. Our vines repay us with a healthy balance of plant growth and fruit maturity, which are due entirely to our efforts in the vineyard.’
Certification: 2003 Bio sans papiers. 2005 Biodynamic practices begin with advice from Dr Andrew Lorand. 2011 First vintage with full Demeter certification with no conversion period as the estate could prove it was working that way to Demeter rules. | 2020 Still certified Biodynamic by Demeter. Member of respekt-BIODYN too.
Viticulture: ‘A good winegrower is a good observer [of] the natural processes and metamorphoses occurring in the vineyard to gain an ever-deepening understanding of the land as a living organism. Only when soil is in balance can it be the source and destiny of all life. It is my experience that the microorganisms in the soil forge a symbiotic relationship with plant life that we as winegrowers harness – and in fact support – in vine training. I firmly believe that bringing out the most authentic expression of our unique terroir requires a truly healthy vineyard’, says Sven.
‘We know from years of personal experience and observation that the [Biodynamic] 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 (each bottle label shows a different insect found in the vineyards), 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′, says Sven.
Cover crops: Sven told me (May 2021) he used ‘oats (Hafer), triticale, phacelia, buckwheat (Buchweizen), chunky clover (Sparriger Klee), yellow mustard, oil flax (Öllein), oil radish (Ölrettich), crimson clover (Inkarnatklee) and various herbs. But in the older vineyards we work mostly with direct sowing.’
Plants for teas: Commom Horsetail, stinging nettle, yarrow, willow, ivy, chamomile, and birch leaves.
Winemaking: Natural yeasts.
Brut Nature: ‘The basic idea behind ‘brut nature’ is to produce a classic sparkling wine entirely without any additives used in modern wine production. Each bottle is made from nothing but grapes, hence the name: brut nature,’ says Sven. Bottled in 2015, 2016, 2017.
A range of wines ‘for any situation,’ says Sven.
Fusion weiss: White.
Fusion rosé: Pink.
Fusion rot: Red.
Gutsweine: The hand-crafted “handwerk” series stands for wines that typify their varietal character.
Weißer Burgunder handwerk:
Spätburgunder Trocken handwerk: From a mix of buntsandstein (colored sandstone) and alluvial soils on gentle slopes protected from inclement weather by the nearby Pfalzerwald (Pfalz forest). 60hl/ha, fermented naturally and aged 9 months in neutral oak fuders.
Spätburgunder Trocken Ilbesheim: The ‘villages’ level Ilbesheim Pinot Noir is terroir-specific. Grown at the highest elevation in the Rhine plain upstream of the Haardtrand, a ridge of lime and shell deposits formed 27 million years ago from the primeval Tethys sea. 45 hl/ha. Blended from Kalmit, their best vineyard, a steep hillside of limestone, and from a red sandstone site near the Pfalz forest. About 15% whole clusters, vinified completely with natural yeasts in French and Austrian barrels, 50% new. Aged about 18 months in wood.
Ortsweine (VDP term for wine from a single Village)
The soils around the Kleiner Kalmit elevation yield a diversity of textures. Each slope has its own microclimate, a combination of natural elements coming together to define the properties that give the wine its characteristics and exclusiveness. These interactions are reflected in our Ortswein varieties, crafted to offer uniquely individual wine personalities.
Ilbesheim Grauer Burgunder: Pinot Gris.
Ilbesheim Weisser Burgunder: Pinot Blanc.
Ilbesheimer Spätburgunder Trocken Reserve: 2005 Lightish ruby, some wild Pinot Noir fruit on the nose, earthy, bit dry from ageing in newly purchased Stockinger oak vats at the Südpfalzconnexion tasting, in the Weinhandlung am Kleinen Platz, Landau.
Lagenwein: The Kleine Kalmit is the highest elevation site fronting the The Haardtrand Palatinate Forest in the Rhine Valley, and was formed from lime and shell deposits left behind by the primeval sea some 27 million years. Its name is derived from the Latin “calvus mons”, which roughly translates as “bare mountain”.
Kalmit Riesling Trocken From vines on limestone, on a sloping site at 270 metres (885 feet), the highest peak in the Rhine valley. 2016 Lovely creamy yellow fruit (Demeter Austria tasting, 2018).
Kalmit Spatburgunder Trocken: From vines at 240 metres (787 feet). 2015 Light, bright pure red cherry with well weighted oak (Demeter Austria tasting, 2018).
Kalmit Weisser Burgunder:
Ilbesheim Weisser Gewurztraminer Trocken:
Ilbesheim Grauer Burgunder Trocken 2007 Screwcap. Earthy, bit of residual, bit neutral, clean, light (Südpfalzconnexion tasting, 2008).
Ilbesheim Weisser Burgunder Trocken:
Kalkbruch Weisser Burgunder Trocken: 2019 Pfalzer Landwein. From limestone, deep loess. Skin contact in the press. Spontaneous ferment. 10 months in oak vats.
Kalkbank Weisser Burgunder Trocken: 2018 Pfalzer Landwein. Clay-limestone in the Kalmit nature reserve. South, south-west facing. Poor soils. Skin contact. Spontaneous ferment in oak vats. 10m on lees. Less than 2g/l RS.
Kapelle, Weisser Burgunder: 2019 Spritzy fresh with creaminess and depth from the lees, well weighted, bright and with a nice matt texture too to make it versatile by the glass, with food ror both.
Drawn from the best barrels in the best vintages.
Arzheimer Strasse 14
D-76831 Ilbesheim, Germany
Tel +49 (0)6341.30621 | www.weingut-leiner.de