S1 EP0018 - Erni Loosen of Dr. Loosen, J. Christopher, Villa Wolf and Eroica TRANSCRIPT
Erni Loosen is one of the most important figures in the world of wine, particularly for his role as the charismatic ambassador for Riesling.
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File Length: 01:32:49
FULL TRANSCRIPT (with timecode)
00:00:00:07 - 00:00:23:13
Chris Missick: This is Viti+Culture, Where we share conversations with makers, growers, thinkers and doers, folks who cultivate a good life. My name is Chris Missick and I'm a lawyer turned winemaker in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. And I'm sitting down with great people in wine and other walks of life to hear their stories, learn their lessons and take their advice on the perfect pairing.
00:00:33:24 - 00:01:05:01
Chris Missick: I'm thrilled to bring you our interview with Erni Loosen, of Weingut Dr. Loosen, and a number of other exciting projects such as Oregon's J. Christopher, The Pfalz's Villa Wolf, and the collaboration with Chateau Ste. Michelle in the production of Eroica. Erni's effusive personality, decades long experience and passion for making fine wines that respect the land have earned him Decanter's Man of the Year award and international recognition. Our conversation was fun and engaging and definitely an episode you don't want to miss.
00:01:05:23 - 00:01:37:19
Chris Missick: If you like this podcast, please be sure to read us five stars in Apple podcasts and like our videos on YouTube. It really helps with the ratings and in introducing new folks to the show. And don't forget to visit our website at viticulturepodcast.com. And please subscribe to our Substack, where you'll get show notes, transcripts, musings and exclusive offers. We increasingly center our content around Substack's distribution channel and subscribers will have the chance to hear some exclusive podcasts delivered right to your inbox.
00:01:38:16 - 00:02:22:29
Chris Missick: You can also support the show at Substack and help us in producing high quality, in-depth content with makers and producers of all sorts. And though I'm not the best with social media, please check us out on all the major social media platforms. Additionally, if you or a maker you know, is interested in being on the show in the future, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Special thanks to Kirk Wille, president of Loosen Brothers USA, the importer and distributor of Dr. Loosen and a slew of other fine brands. And Bob Madill, who was featured in Episode 13 of Viticulture for helping to arrange this interview. And now here's the show.
00:02:38:23 - 00:03:04:15
Chris Missick: Welcome to Viti+Culture. And I'm honored to have an in studio guest today who is truly one of the wine world's biggest figures. He has projects all over the world. He has influenced Riesling in a way very few others have over the centuries. And he's known for his projects, Dr. Loosen, Villa Wolf, the brand Eroica and many other projects. Thanks so much for being here today. Erni, may I call you?
00:03:04:18 - 00:03:08:02
Erni Loosen: Yes, sure. Thanks for the invitation.
00:03:08:04 - 00:03:36:10
Chris Missick: Oh, well, it's been wonderful to have some really world renowned winemakers in studio to share not just about their brands, but their deep thoughts and themselves. And if anybody has spent a few minutes on YouTube, they know that you are not just a colorful figure, but someone who thinks deeply about what they want to do with recently. So what I'd like to do is just start with this. Is this your first trip post covid outside of Germany?
00:03:37:03 - 00:04:50:10
Erni Loosen: No, it's my second. But the one to the U.S., you know, I was six weeks ago already in the U.S., OK, not not so easy for you to go because, you know, there's a ban for Europeans to come to the U.S. You have to go. You have to apply for night and national interests of exemption or exemption. But you have to go to the you know, to the to the embassy or to the consulate in Frankfurt. And it took me four months to get the interview and all. But then if you got it, then it is really not complicated anymore. I mean, they basically issued it to me for a whole year so that I don't have to apply again and again, because before that you had to apply. It was only 30 days value and then you had to play again, you know, which made it a nightmare. But so now so that's made it easy. You know, I was in my winery. We have still a winery in Oregon, you know, J. Christopher. And what we also do recently, we have one of the oldest recently vineyard there, planted 76. So I had to go there. We wanted to do some planning. And so and that was six weeks ago and so on. And then I got this invitation here for the FLXcursion. Um, so yeah. So I came again.
00:04:50:23 - 00:05:00:08
Chris Missick: So one of the things that we talked about before the interview started was how obviously there were a lot of curses to covid, but it did show that maybe you didn't have to travel quite so much.
00:05:00:16 - 00:06:44:27
Erni Loosen: Well, yes. I mean, I'm astonished. You know, in the old days, you always thought all you have to visit all your customers. You know, we are very export oriented. We selling our wines to 80 countries around the world. And then you think, oh, you have to at least show up once a year or I mean I mean the smaller countries to twice our ones and two years of ones and three years. But it's still not a lot of traveling. I was traveling, I don't know, a nine, 10 months a year every I mean, at least every month around the world. You don't trip, you know, to save time. You know, if you fly always west, you know, then you fly with the time. You can work the whole day, you know, and don't lose time with flying, you know. So I figured it very well out. But I mean, with covid, you're suddenly recognized and it works also without, you know. Yeah. And and don't lose and you don't lose business. And I mean, the funny thing is we had a 10 percent growth, you know, and everybody had to sit at home, so. Well, you think, oh, good. Oh, that's all. You spend a lot of money, a lot of stress, you know. And so but I love to travel. You know, I want I love to come to the U.S. I must say, you know, I love to go to the winery, to Oregon, I mean, to our collaboration to Seattle, you know, and sure. Also to travel for the business because the U.S. is still our largest market export market. I love to visit. I mean, you know, I must say, I love the U.S. I love to come here, you know? Yeah. And so with this, like, year grant of you don't have to go through this permit process any extra times. Is that put more pressure on you to come here and take advantage of that or. Oh, no, no, no. I'm really I'm really I'm really happy. I'm looking forward to it. If I have a reason to go it know.
00:06:45:25 - 00:07:27:07
Chris Missick: But I definitely will not do this intense traveling anymore, you know. So by first, I mean, it's so much more difficult to get flights and. Oh, yeah. These around the world trips. You, Madam Secretary, did you know you had it the next day. Yeah, I know often nowadays. I mean, traveling is also very difficult, you know, and it's I mean flights and I don't work together anymore. You don't have an either. You don't have a connecting flight. I saw things. I mean, you can watch what I do now is going it's return flights. Yeah. Going and back. You know, that's because with all the connecting flights and I would I mean, internationally, it's very difficult. So from that point of view and it's anyway limited, you know.
00:07:27:24 - 00:07:36:19
Chris Missick: Yeah, we've dealt with that in my family. My wife is from France. Our sister has been wanting to come and see our new baby here a long time. Yeah, that is coming up on a year.
00:07:36:21 - 00:07:53:22
Erni Loosen: It's the same with the. My my nephew is in the winery since February last year. Yeah, um, in in Oregon, you know, he works there. He's not allowed to go home because he's not allowed. Then come back. And as soon he leaves the U.S., he's not allowed to go back so badly. He has to stay there. Yeah.
00:07:55:09 - 00:07:59:21
Chris Missick: What I'd like to do is get a little background on your personal history.
00:08:00:09 - 00:09:09:27
Erni Loosen: Well well, my personal history, you know, we are a typical family winery. You know, European family winery. They are not as big as you see in the new world. Huge conglomerates, not of of wineries, uh, typical family wineries, you know, with with a history, in our case of 200 years, going back 200 years, doing Riesling on the model since 200 years. Um, well, it's a Catholic area. A lot of brothers and sisters now. So from that point, we have four brothers and two sisters. I was the only one who decided to go into the business, was not really in these days, was not really what I wanted to do. But, you know, I always said I've got often asking how you can you get a winery? You know, how how does this work? I said all, you know, very easy. You only have to study the wrong thing. And I studied archaeology, you know, and the only two options as an archaeologist, you know, in Germany is. To find a job as a taxi driver or going social welfare is two options, but the job, you never get a job as an archaeologist. No, they have no jobs as archaeologists
00:09:10:03 - 00:09:14:03
Chris Missick: and even as a taxi driver. Now, you have to compete with Uber as well.
00:09:15:18 - 00:10:10:08
Erni Loosen: So from that point of view, it was my brothers and sisters. I said for brothers and sisters, I said, oh, you have to take the winery, you have to take over the winery and slow down because you are your stupid archaeology's never gives you a job. You know, if you rather will survive with a winery as ever, get a job as an archaeologist. And they all went until the winery will be kept it all in the family. The reason I was never very fond of it. I'd never get along with my dad. You know, he was also not 100 percent with the winery. He was a lawyer. He was a politician and the parliament. And so and he was also not very much with the winery. And so but, you know, but on the other hand, I always liked that, you know, it's a it's something where you can do a lot of things. You know, you can you know, you can find yourself, you know, and. Yeah. Well, then I started 19. Oh, my God. 1ST of January, 1988.
00:10:10:10 - 00:11:12:26
Erni Loosen: You know, I've been going into the business and I say the company was completely rundown, sadly. I mean, I think I took it over with 250000 turnover. And my dad said, oh, you always wanted to have the winery. But it comes with a package. You know, what is the package? Oh, there's only five hundred thousand. That's you have to take over two things that and then these days it was only a 25 acre winery, you know, but our reasoning. But. I mean, that's always a good reputation, it wasn't always, you know, I mean, came from some old names. You know what my mom is from the family, you know, is one of the most famous winery's states down there. So it is it has a it has a history by by the family, you know, and, you know, in this in this valley, you know, if you looked at the most very, very narrow, really, you know, I mean, everybody is you know, I mean, I always say that's 2000 years on incest. You know, everybody is, you know, relative to everybody. The big families are married together, you know. And so.
00:11:13:03 - 00:12:04:03
Erni Loosen: Well, I always say at least once in a hundred years, you need to find some fresh blood. Otherwise, I would sit here like this. So my grandfather came from Berlin. And so. But it is but, you know, the great thing was, you know, a lot of people said, oh, my God, you know, here this guy takes over the winery. You know, what does he know? And so it all and but everything. I mean, OK, it was it was not in a good shape, you know. But what is the most important thing with the winery are the vineyards, you know. That's right. And the winners have been all over. My father my grandfather had been very tight fisted. They never planted on, you know, so I still have vineyards which are over 130 years old on their own roots, no thanks to the Tight-Fisted father. And today I see it differently. You know, in the old days.
00:12:04:06 - 00:12:06:17
Chris Missick: Sure. I mean, there's a typical generation conflict.
00:12:06:22 - 00:12:42:01
Erni Loosen: Yeah. When everybody has I think if I would have a son, I possibly would have the same problem. And, uh, yeah, but so I inherited first extremely wonderful concrete benefits and enough. Yeah, it was all great vineyards, concrete vineyards and there have been all old on their own roots, you know, so that I have still a good amount of vineyards which are all more than 100 years old and the oldest are even more than 130 years old. And that is this is an asset, you know. Yeah. You can make great wines, you know. Well, you get all you have to wait one hundred thirty, you guys. Yes, exactly.
00:12:42:16 - 00:12:46:20
Chris Missick: Exactly. You know, you don't know this, but I was a lawyer.
00:12:46:29 - 00:12:49:18
Erni Loosen: Oh yeah. When when we came by my dad.
00:12:49:20 - 00:13:01:12
Chris Missick: Yeah. Well I understood that once we came to the Finger Lakes I wanted to both practice some law, small practice and, you know, run the winery, make the wine. I realized I couldn't do it.
00:13:01:21 - 00:13:14:12
Erni Loosen: And although it started to become famous archaeologist and then you can do the winery side of it, it doesn't work. You have you want to if you want to do it right, you have to give full attention to the whole thing. Exactly.
00:13:14:25 - 00:13:30:24
Chris Missick: Especially if you know what you want, because there's a certain point at which you can only explain it to people so much. Yes. If you aren't there, hands on. And you know, we're a tiny winery. So when my kids like making the wine, you're not going to fulfill the vision you have.
00:13:30:26 - 00:13:33:21
Erni Loosen: No, that's vision and passion. It is. It is.
00:13:34:16 - 00:13:39:24
Chris Missick: And that is one word that really defines you is passion. When did you first develop the passion for wine?
00:13:40:19 - 00:14:32:05
Erni Loosen: Well, I would think. A good question, to be frank, I mean, you know, that's just the other thing in which we are not so much used. If we we we meet winemakers from the new world and the old world, and it's usually family business, as I said, you know, and you grow up on the winery, you know, I mean, all the work downstairs, you know, you live up above the winery, you know, and the action is every day, you know, the workers, the people who work in the vineyard, in the winery, in the cellar. And so it is all beneath you, you know. So as kids, we had our bicycles to know. And in the cellar, you know, and and you meet these people who worked for the winery every day. So basically, as a small kid, you know, on you, you see this. And that is often sometimes we think I have no I don't have to go to school for learning wine.
00:14:32:09 - 00:15:08:25
Chris Missick: You see it every day. You know, since you grow up, you see it every day. And you you are involved in it, you know, and you help. Then, you know, all and the vineyards are behind there. And this is when picking them. Sometimes I thought I got the impression that my dad only had so many kids enough that he had on Christmas. Now, because ice wine comes always the freeze always comes, not in the working \days. You know, it comes on Christmas, on the New Year, New Year, you know, it comes on the weekend, you know, and then you don't have labor, you know. So my dad kicked us all out of bed. And so I just wasn't picking at three o'clock in the morning. And so he had a good source.
00:15:09:01 - 00:16:25:03
Erni Loosen: But but on the other hand, you are from little as a little boy on permanent in this section, you know. Yeah. You see, you help down in the cellar and, you know, can can you guys help the winemaker now he needs some help today or can you do some labelling and help there. Oh, we need some help, you know. Or can you drive the the the girls who who are doing the vineyard work, you know, can you drive them today around, you know, and so and to the one went to the other. And so I mean, you know, you're always somehow involved, you know what I mean. Automatically, you know, and therefore I think. Either you, you you develop a feeling or love for it, you know, I mean, my other brothers, they are scientists and I know he's a professor of laser physics and and and the other one is mechanical engineer. And so but they with me and my younger brother, too. It seems that we fought we had some kind of a love, you know, developed the love or whatever, you know, as we grow up for that. I think the reason that I wanted to I wanted to do it was this kind of. There's tension with my dad. He was a very old style of. You know, that's always difficult, you know.
00:16:25:20 - 00:16:34:10
Chris Missick: Well, it's tough. I mean, you know, you he grew up in much different conditions and especially in a small valley, like an older way of doing things.
00:16:34:12 - 00:16:40:20
Erni Loosen: Yes. And he was you know, that's the war generation. Yeah. They had some problems. I think.
00:16:40:22 - 00:16:56:00
Chris Missick: Definitely. Definitely. So, I mean, there were so many different culture classes at play there, you know, and that on top of this idea that, I mean, in the world was changing in the 50s and 60s. Yeah. So as a whole.
00:16:56:02 - 00:18:03:11
Erni Loosen: Yeah, I bet winery's that takes always a little bit longer, you know. Exactly. Things changing and they are very, very slow and. Oh yeah. And that was basically when I took over 88, you know. Yeah. I think it was really the last, the last moment, you know. Yeah. We had to do something because things are changing, as you said, you know, and certainly it had been also going in the wrong direction. You all know you know, in the 70s, everything was still good. And until the 60s, until 71, 72, 73, I would say. But then the late 70s, you know, it started a middle 70s, you know, with this what they called the new wine law in 71. The new window was not a good wine law for us. You know, it was too liberal. You know, they allowed too much snow and then possibly, you still know it. It's a long time ago. Then suddenly the whole world was flooded. But from from this prolonged wine, from this German wine, which was called Fromage Non-public Tower of Madonna or whatever.
00:18:03:13 - 00:19:56:01
Erni Loosen: I mean, Liebfrauenmilch was the only wine, you know, which exists that you could find it everywhere in the world. But it was only this one style of wine, which was no Riesling, had was mass production, a sweet, plonk wine which flooded the world and basically ruined the whole reputation of the German wine. So now people, they had it in the Rhine wine bottle, as we call it, you know, the Rhine bottle, the right and bottle. It was this brown wine bottle. And the people thought from the old days, oh, that must be reasoning. The wine bottle is recently, you know, but there was not a drop off recently. And that was and that destroyed. I mean, so I mean, so badly the reputation of German wines and certainly also the reputation of Rieslingh that I can tell you when I took over the German wine market was. I mean, poor, I mean, we had to start from the scratch. No, no, no, I mean, no wonder that winery was so bankrupt, so high that, you know, that I must say, there was a that was a generation. That was our generation. Then, you know, starting at 80's it was Robert Weil who also took over 87 and was doing half. And then there was these these these handful of people, you know, who had a really a vision and a view and said, we have to go back to our roots. We have to I mean, and I had these old vineyards and so I have the material know. But I mean, we have to get the message out, you know? I mean, it is barely praying the flag and plowing yourway. I mean, my first export market where I started again was England, you know, and I always said, oh, my God, I have been going into England because it was so much closer now and plowing my way through England, keeping the reist things like, you know, I have been I mean, in the beginning, the people said, oh, you have been going to big wine merchants. And they said, Oh, I find reasoning single.
00:19:56:09 - 00:20:32:28
Erni Loosen: Oh, why do you have hey, I need a container of Liebfrauenmilch , but I don't pay more than 99 cent for the bottle. And so I said, no, no, I have fine reasoning. I mean, that was so. And then you did I mean, I found an importer finally, you know. Yeah. And it was difficult. And then for the first time, we did tastings, you know, in elderly people's home, you know, where people sit in the wheelchair and still remember the good German times of Riesling from 1911, you know? Oh, yes, I remember. We went well. Oh, I remember the 38 vintage. I said, oh, that's fifty years ago.
00:20:34:15 - 00:21:06:26
Erni Loosen: So this is the future. So but it was a lot I mean, I tell you at the beginning was hard, you know. Yeah. I mean to convince, you know, even the press in England these days, you know, which is the international press these days. I mean, everything happens in London if it comes to wine. And so it was a long, long way to convince them about that Riesling and that I have been fighting for to that reasoning. Get accept that again as one of the great I mean, grape varieties as it these days, Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or whatever.
00:21:06:28 - 00:21:40:03
Chris Missick: You know, it's fascinating because a number of things come to mind. One, that it sometimes takes a generation of young guns. Yes. To reinvent, which are now old, too, and that you find this in almost any industry. But it's especially poignant in wine, the desire for short term profits at the expense of the long term gain. Yeah, you know, a generation decided they wanted to fill their coffers with cheap wine and as a result, it took up to two generations and maybe more to regain the excellence that was once there.
00:21:40:05 - 00:22:06:17
Erni Loosen: I would say it's it takes us I was the first generation and I think to go to get there where we once were, you know, at the turn of the century, last century. German reasoning belong to the most expensive wines in the world, more expensive as first rate growth Clarets. No, I mean, it's amazing, you know, and I think I mean, we would never get there at all because we also expect that, you know, the production is higher nowadays. But I think we are on the best way.
00:22:06:29 - 00:22:57:08
Erni Loosen: To I mean, I think we are Riesling is recognized again, you know, also here in the U.S., you know, but that we still get out of the corner that Riesling is medium priced cheap, medium priced and sweet. You know, that is still that we have to overcome it. Know we have been with all the press I would say, and with the weather, with a submenus, you know, with the weather, you know, with the people who know about wine, you know, I think we we had been winning the game, you know. Oh, now we have the second step is now convincing the consumer that they if they take a class of reasoning that they I mean, drink, I mean that it is a very high reputation wine and a great variety as they would buy a Chardonnay or whatever Sauvignon Blanc or whatever is popular.
00:22:57:18 - 00:23:08:01
Chris Missick: Well, you look back through history and like one of the most important events for world trade, the Suez Canal. Yeah. Like it was German Riesling that was used to celebrate that event. Yeah.
00:23:08:03 - 00:23:45:04
Erni Loosen: Yeah. It's amazing. You know, I mean, the in England, you know, the most expensive ones turn of the century. I mean, the Queen Victoria, they all try and get, you know, King Edward or whatever they call it, you know. And so, I mean, it's amazing, you know, so we really. Yeah. Destroyed it with a stupid decision, you know. Yeah. To give everybody the right to to produce the same thing and huge masses, you know, not I mean reasoning. I mean German wine. The German reputation for wine was built on Riesling, you know, even that we are so big in other varieties and all that people don't know. I'm sure we are the largest Riesling producer in the world.
00:23:45:22 - 00:25:35:19
Erni Loosen: We do nearly 50 percent of the world production of Riesling. I think 50000 hectares, which is about 125 thousand acres of reasoning, has grown worldwide. Half of it is grown in Germany. The next largest producer, I mean or grower of Riesling, the U.S., you know, with I think 10 percent, you know, and then the next one is Australia with something eight percent and then that's with seven percent, you know, and then Eastern European countries, you know, and Austria. And so and so from that point of view, we are definitely the leading country of reasoning. That was always the way, you know, that the reason that Germany was always famous for Riesling, you know, but what people don't know that Germany is also the largest Pinot Blanc producer in the world. It's the largest Pinot Gris producer in the world, you know, and we used to be even the second largest pinot noir producer in the world after the Burgundy. But then a few years ago, the U.S. took over because since what was it, Sideways, 2004. Yeah, which I mean I mean, it's amazing, you know, that such a movie. I mean, I thought it wasn't a brilliant movie, you know, but that's such a movie. Can can, you know, start such a hype, which is still continuing. That is I mean, this is possibly the first ever grape variety in the U.S., which I mean, we always have these kind of peaks and then Sauvingon Blanc becomes fashionable genre is going out than it is. I don't know, Pinot Grigio becomes fashionable, Moscato becomes fashionable. It always peaks and then goes down. Yeah, but with Pinot Noir that is going on now, it's in sixteen, seventeen years. It's growing, growing, growing. And I think a few years. The U.S. took over Germany as the second largest pinot noir producer, but we are still the third largest pinot noir producer. Nobody would've thought ever. We think Pinot Noir. You think about New Zealand or I mean or Australia or California.
00:25:35:21 - 00:25:45:11
Erni Loosen: So know. Yeah. How about this is this is amazing. So but Riesling lead the way for if people think about German wine, they think about reasoning. Yeah.
00:25:46:00 - 00:26:03:19
Chris Missick: When I first began my kind of deep dive in Riesling, unfortunately, that I had that same misconception. You know, this was what, two decades ago now. Most Riesling was sweet. After I had gotten to know some of Stuart Pigott's work a little bit, I went back and found him.
00:26:03:21 - 00:26:05:23
Erni Loosen: Was very helpful in these days. Yeah.
00:26:05:29 - 00:26:10:09
Chris Missick: The first book he wrote, I think was 1989, and I think it was called Beyond Liebfrauenmilch . Exactly.
00:26:10:11 - 00:26:14:07
Erni Loosen: I still have the book. Isn't that a great title? It is.
00:26:14:15 - 00:26:26:29
Chris Missick: I brought a copy to provide and I had him sign it and he said I didn't even know this book still existed. But yeah, that that late eighties was a period of just rapid change in development. Yes.
00:26:27:01 - 00:26:48:03
Erni Loosen: It's so, so from, for all the people who started and to get in and all the fine wine estates, it was a very difficult time and know. Yeah, it's very difficult. But I mean but I mean, you have to be consistently, you know, on it, you know. I mean, it is I mean, I remember a lot of my colleagues said, why are you going the whole time to England?
00:26:48:05 - 00:27:25:10
Erni Loosen: You know, why do you want in England, you know, you can't sell wine that they will never buy, high end reasonings, you know, and so they buy only Liebfrauenmilch . That's true. It was about Liebfrauenmilch market that I think they didn't get the point, you know, yeah, I'll be going to England. I knew that I can't sell much wine there, but I met all the wine journlists there, you know, and if you meet them consistently, you know, and they start to get into because there's no place in the world where you can go to so many tastings every day, every day they are tastings. You can go a vertical bottle tasting, Port tasting, Burgundy tasting. I mean, the first wines and everything which came new to the market.
00:27:25:12 - 00:27:34:04
Erni Loosen: It was discovered like Chateau Musar. I remember 86. You know, somebody gave me a wine from Lebanon. I said, what, there's wine. Yeah.
00:27:34:06 - 00:28:28:19
Erni Loosen: Chateau Musar was I know. I mean, nobody in the world knew about this thing. You know, that these things happening in London, in London, these things happening. And I thought that Stuart had been living there. You know, we became very good friends. And he took me always to these tastings and these tasting said to the journalist, you know. Yeah. And these journalists. Sure. They said to me, when I come on, you know, and I wouldn't want German wine, but if you meet them, you know, every two months, you know, and after two years, they said if they have something to do, I mean, you know, they have to write a little bit about German wines. They phoned me and said, hey, and so, you know, and so slowly they started to sort of taste reasoning. I got in and said, oh, that's good. You know, that's that's great. And so it has a very little step by step in and then, you know, and then slowly, slowly, slowly, because how you get the message through, you know. Yeah. I mean, you have to be consistently on the ball, you know. Yeah. Running, running, running and keeping the reasoning flag up and know
00:28:30:03 - 00:29:06:24
Chris Missick: And wine isn't like a lot of other things because, you know, I always describe this and I'm sure you do too. But you can make an object and you can post that picture for sale on Amazon and someone can see that object and like it. Maybe they'll bring it into their home. Riesling isn't just an object. Wine isn't just an object. It becomes us when we consume it. There is something, a deeper connection with wine, and there's something that awakens not just the senses, but like I have a little bit of synesthesia. So when I taste wines, I see color. And that is just you cannot just tell a story. People have to experience that.
00:29:06:28 - 00:29:16:19
Erni Loosen: Yeah, sure. So yeah. But with the story you'll have to make them hungry. Yeah. Taste them. You know, Zack. So the story is also very important, you know.
00:29:16:23 - 00:29:17:08
Erni Loosen: Yeah.
00:29:17:10 - 00:29:30:22
Erni Loosen: A wine lives also from the story, you know, and so on from the passion of the winemaker. You know, if you can tell the story of, you know, nobody wants to hear I mean, analysis. And yeah, if you describe a wine with analysis, I mean, how boring, as I said.
00:29:31:20 - 00:29:39:02
Chris Missick: So before we go on a little bit, because there's obviously a lot of topics I want to get to. I'm just curious, what had made you so fond of archaeology and what were you hoping to do?
00:29:39:04 - 00:31:13:23
Erni Loosen: Oh, well, I mean, you know that I just told this story yesterday to, uh, you know, my grandfather who lived also, you know, I mean, you know, family in Europe, you know, everybody lives in the same house. The grandparents, you know, my parents, the children, the nanny, everybody, the dogs, the cats, everything is in the same house. And my grandparents have been living on the lower floor. I said he was from Berlin. My grandfather, Dr. Adams, um, he was from a very high bourgeois family, very highly educated. He was that was the most famous boarding school in these days. He from Prussia and he was from Prussia, you know, and that was the Eton of Germany, you know, this high end boarding school where he was, you know, very, very intelligent guy, you know, very, very lots of books. And he still we still have his private library, over ten thousand books, you know. And my grandfather always thought that he has to kind of take care about his grandchildren and all. It was always I mean, I was very disciplined, was not this kind of old style, you know, you know, people, you know. So we had been not allowed to play in the afternoon because he he and grandma that afternoon nap. It has to be very quiet. But then. Yeah, and then when he get up, you know, had been going to his library, had been reading his books for two or three hours, you know, and then as kids, grandchildren. So he always thought to say to judge us, you know, and then he always thought, oh, he peed on my oldest one, who is the scientist. He gave him science books and out of the library, you know. Yeah.
00:31:13:25 - 00:32:18:08
Erni Loosen: And with me, he always said, oh, my God, I'm what I'm doing with him. I know it's useless. It's useless. Well, I'll do it for this guy. And he said, OK, I think he might get possibly I can get him. He, my grandfather always want to get us interested in something, you know. Yeah. What possibly I can get him interested in archaeology. And so he the first book he gave me I had to read and then you know, and then a week later we had to then he asked, I said what was in the book. And so and I said, what can you tell me? You know, what you learned. You know, the first book he gave me was about Tutankhamun. You know, Egypt. And so I think possibly that was the thing which which which got me interested, you know, it was my grandfather who thought he has to find everybody's grandchildren interest, you know, and to you know, to so. Yeah. And so and for whatever reason, I always wanted to study the archaeology, you know. And so that's. Yeah, but at the end, I mean, I couldn't finish it, you know, because my dad became very sick and somebody had to take over the winery.
00:32:18:10 - 00:32:27:04
Erni Loosen: Yeah. So my brothers and sisters are you well, you better stop your stupid archaeology and get into the winery and do something, you know, real.
00:32:27:22 - 00:32:33:12
Chris Missick: And it's almost a shame that there isn't more funding for wine archaeologists, you know.
00:32:33:18 - 00:35:10:09
Erni Loosen: wasWell, that was interesting because I was always interested, at least, you know, and I have to be to be true. I had already my thesis. And what I wanted to do was basically to make my thesis about the Roman winemaking, you know, and, uh, you know, the historic winemaking in these days, you know, and so but we'd never get so far. Um, but it is interesting, you know, I mean, that is I mean, historic winemaking is quite amazing, you know, because the people really knew a lot of things, which we think nowadays are you know, they did amazing winemaking. I tell you, I found things. I mean, I do a lot of learning by doing with winemaking. I mean, I found out things. I mean, that's so amazing. We would never you would never, ever thought that this makes so great wine because we are all trapped in it now with our schools now and our being at Davis or Geisenheim, you know, and then these professors say, oh, no, no, no, that doesn't work at all. And these old days they didn't know what they did, you know? I mean, how can they say it if they never even had the wine, you know, and even never produced a wine like that? You know, how can they say this? Because then they say, oh, if it keep stuff on the barrel that oxidize and all they get materi is that that I don't know. I mean, that get carried aromas bullshit, you know, I mean, you find it out only if you're doing it, you know, when you need a lot of time, then patience, patience, patience. I started even something like that, you know, as an alcoholic when I still studied archaeology, 1981, you know, I wasn't in the winery yet, you know, but I found an old wine make a book, you know, of in my grandfather's library, you know, from 1807, you know, and and then they they I mean, I said what they had they said Riesling from Rhine in Mosul. And these days, 200 years ago, was kept 20 to 30 years in the barrel on the full yeast when I read this, you know, and these days, you know, it was the tradition of winemaking. What we did. I mean, after six months of months, we recorded and, you know, bottling Celebi, blah, blah, you know, and I said, hey, come on. And I thought, you can't keep wine 30, 20 to 30 years at the bar on the four years. That must be completely oxidized stuff and or materized stuff, you know. And so that must be possibly something which we couldn't drink, wouldn't drink nowadays anymore. Yeah. I mean, we all know two or three hundred years. They had a lot of different tastes. You know, the English like oxidised wine, you know, the French still calling for wine is slightly oxidised. They call it goût anglais, you know. Yeah. Yeah. Goût anglais is the French, the English taste. You know, I like it oxidised.
00:35:10:18 - 00:35:51:02
Erni Loosen: But you know this we know because that's the reason Madeira and Sherry has a has a following in England, you know, and I thought maybe they'd produce it have because they brought it to England or whatever. I mean, that must be oxidized stuff, you know, but, you know, I tell you, I couldn't get it out of my hand. You know, I have my head, you know, and they have been going eighty one, you know. Yep. During the fall, you know, I said to my dad, can I have a barrel of wine, you know. Eighty one vintage we were just harvesting is I can do whatever you like, you know. Yeah. And so and so I left this barrel, this 81 barrel after this recipe, 27 years in the barrel. Wow. And bottled it in 2008, you know.
00:35:51:04 - 00:35:51:19
Chris Missick: Yeah.
00:35:51:21 - 00:36:15:00
Erni Loosen: And have it now already. Thirteen years in the bottle you know. Yeah. It's still not released. We're going to release it this year. Forty years old, you know. Eighty one. Amazing that forty years I took my time you know. And you know what I found out. You know, that's amazing. I call this wine always my Benjamin Button wine. You know why. Because every year when we open a bottle, the wine seems to get fresher and fresher and fresher. I can't explain it. I'm not a chemistry guy.
00:36:15:02 - 00:36:19:03
Erni Loosen: I'm not a scientist. And all that that the other side of my brothers, I've been that diligent guy.
00:36:19:05 - 00:36:22:16
Chris Missick: So, no, we're not going to be talking about Redox potential, right?
00:36:23:01 - 00:37:18:28
Erni Loosen: And and this is so amazing, you know, I mean, to find out things like that, you know, and this you find out only out if you're doing it. It's just the opposite. What everybody told you how the wines will look like if you keep it that long in the barrel. And this was an initial initial say from me experience and. Oh, yeah, that I, I mean, did more and more experiences of winemaking as my great grandfather did it between 1880 and 1930. Why in 1930, you know, because 1928, 1930, the first sterile filters had been invented by a company which was called Zeiss. My grandfather was the general director there of a CEO. You would say nowadays? No. And they invented that was the most I mean I mean, important invention for the wine industry was the filter, the sterile filter. And suddenly you didn't have to wait anymore.
00:37:19:05 - 00:37:57:25
Erni Loosen: So because before that, you know, before the technology for wine existed. The people knew so much about winemaking and the time, what time does to the winemaking, because they had to wait, they had to wait, that they clarify itself, they have to wait, you know, that the wine get clear and you know that it settles down, that it gets stable itself, you know, and these things take time with with technology. You know, suddenly they didn't have to wait anymore. And with finings, they didn't have to wait anymore. You know, I mean, if you I mean, for example, protamine, you know, nowadays you have bentonite the bentonite on it.
00:37:58:01 - 00:40:13:07
Erni Loosen: The next day, rack it, protein is out. Yeah. But if you want to sediment protein, naturally, you know, only by time you have to wait minimum 15 to 16, 17 months. And that's the reason that in the old days you always had to sell us all the wines had been stored minimum two years in the barrel because you had only the time for natural sedimentation, natural fining and natural clarification, you know. Yeah. And with the technology, suddenly you didn't have to wait anymore things. And that is the major difference. And the old days, they had a lot of time. You know, you have no technology then. Nowadays we have no time anymore. But therefore the technology, you know, and but it makes a huge difference. And so I discovered then with my own making and I have been going back to the old winemaking with my grandfather, that is the good, you know, which how I produce them. Not it's not law, you know. I mean, I do it only the style as my grandfather did. I leave it, you know, one, two, three. I don't even back to the best barrels of my grandfather kept it eight years in the barrel on the full year. And I tell you, I just had some some Michelin star restaurant owners. Now, last week with me, you know, they visited me and said, you guys want to taste something, you know? And I said, yeah, sure. I mean, OK, we go to the cellar, know, I showed them the barrel thirteen, which is still on the full lees. You know, will it be possibly part of this list this fall, you know? Yeah. And I said, what do you think? Oh, my God, this is pretty and so fresh, you know, is it from last vintage? I said, no, it's eight years in the barrels. Thirteen. Yeah, it's kind of unbelievable. They said, how? Let me freshen up. Look, I mean this you'll find out if you're doing things. You know, that's I mean, I wouldn't say that everything works out, you know, but you learn with a time every year you learn a little bit more. And I mean it it's not only I mean, it's not only dumping and the barrel and waiting and all. You have to survey them. You know, you have to to you know, I've always to top it up, you have to look, you know, and so and it's also I mean but it is an amazing journey experience, you know, and that's the reason I have to still get I mean, I need to another I mean, I have to get hundreds, you know, because there are still so many ideas, which I want to do.
00:40:14:05 - 00:40:45:04
Chris Missick: You know, you are speaking my language on so many ways. One, this idea that just because you're credentialled means you know what you're doing. I talk a lot about how important, you know, whether it's just doing the community college program. You don't get a certificate for experience. No, but that's the most important thing you can have, you know, to this idea that we're smarter now than people were in the past. We just have different tools. Yeah, they knew what they were doing. And what they were doing was they may not have known the science behind it, but they were closer in tune with the nature.
00:40:45:06 - 00:41:33:03
Erni Loosen: Yes. And they had been watching it over a long, long, long time, you know, and they got the experience from their parents, you know. And so, I mean, that is I mean, sure it is. Was also, I would say, an innovation, because I always said if I would have the discussion or if my grandfather had his discussion with his grand grandfather, his great grandfather would said, oh, God, these kids, you know, they don't keep the wine twenty years anymore in the barrel. He leaves that only two or three years, you know, and then he puts it after three years of the bottle, he puts it in the market. How crazy is this? And so, I mean, and nowadays people say, how crazy is this guy keeping wine three years in the barrel, you know? And so it's always I mean, even this I would love to see this discussion of my grandfather and grandfather that I mean, he would say, oh, this guy.
00:41:33:07 - 00:41:41:06
Erni Loosen: I mean, he's doing modern winemaking only three years and the barrel. Is this guy crazy, these young kids? You know, it's true.
00:41:41:09 - 00:42:00:26
Chris Missick: It's true. How much of that do you think like? So there's this thought process that like when you plant an acorn, you're never going to sit under the shade of that tree. It's for future generations. How much of it is this is also part of a family inheritance to keep a business going and also like the best way to do it?
00:42:00:28 - 00:42:36:19
Erni Loosen: Oh, yes. I mean, I tell you, my younger brother is ten years younger. You know, I'm a great guy now, mechanical engineer, one of the the other side who are smart and studied in the sciences and engineering. And so and so he is great. Without him, I could never I mean, build this company, you know, which is quite big nowadays. And but he is more this kind of engineer type of guy, you know, and I. Produced now since 15, 20 years, I'm into this thing, you know, but that means also if I go to historic winemaking and in the old days there also my grandfather never drank a bottle of wine when it was minimum 20 years old.
00:42:36:27 - 00:43:15:13
Erni Loosen: I know that the restaurants can't do it. They can't put it on. And possibly most restaurants are not there anymore after 20 years, you know. Yeah, so. So I think it means the winery has to do it, you know. So I build now in the last 10, 15 years, you know, something like four hundred thousand five hundred thousand bottles, you know, reserve wines which are sitting in the cellar and will be released in 10, 15, 20 years ago or after 10 years or so, you know, and so it's getting more and more. And I'm always in the tasting. Just last week, you know, with a winemaker, with my brother. And then I say, oh, yeah, we bottle this and two years, then we put it 10 years away and this we bottle we leave it a little bit more, but that is going to years.
00:43:15:27 - 00:44:20:05
Erni Loosen: And so and then my brother said, I don't have space anymore. I don't know where to put it. You know, all the sellers are full with Lionel. And I always thought we produce wine to sell it, not always to put it away, you know? And so I said to Thomas, because that is the vision, because this is this is for the next generation, you know, I mean, they have a fundus. I mean, to buy in commercial quantities, to sell in commercial quantities, wines, you know, historic wines, which are 10, 20 years old. We just released last year the 97 which got in Spain and the 98 would come out this year, you know, and the 81 after 40 years coming out this year, you know, I mean this but this is a future project for the next generation that I hope to continue it. You know, I'm not selling it and cash in, you know, but they're continuing it because if you are once in the road with 20 years, then it is easy to continue it, you know, because but me as the first generation who started it, I had to wait 20 years. No, but they only have to continue it. You know what my brother said? And I said, Thomas, you know, I have this vision. You know, I have this vision.
00:44:20:07 - 00:44:56:07
Erni Loosen: What we're doing here is a is something which nobody did. Again, we're going back. It's like in a time ship going back to our great grandfather's winemaking. And you see that team that makes so wonderful, great wines. Now, everybody who tastes these wines, our reserve or might say it's amazing, you know, it makes a totally different thing. You know, I have this vision. This is this is the the future thing, you know? And I think in ahead of twenty years, not of two or three years and 20 years ago when we released these wines, you know what my brother said that's difficult.
00:44:56:09 - 00:45:25:05
Erni Loosen: And he said, do you know what old Bundes Counselor or President Helmut Schmidt said? No. He said if you have if you have visions, go to the doctor (laughing) these young kids, you know, go to the doctor. But I think it is. And this for the next generation, my nephew, you know, will possibly take over in 10, 15 years or 20 years.
00:45:27:01 - 00:46:15:29
Erni Loosen: So, you know, I mean, this is he has then I mean, I would possibly not cash in this anymore, you know? Yeah, but it is the same, like I mean, investing in a cork, trees, you know. Yeah. Cork tree needs also 60 or 70 years before you can harvest the first time, you know. Yeah, but nobody would. I mean, plant them. We will run out of Cork once you know. So I mean. Yeah I think wine has you have, you have, you need the vision that it's you, have to think and much longer terms, you know, as you know, I mean, sure supermarket wines that there's something that from that, you know, that I bought for the wine freak's, for the real connoisseurs. So, yeah, I think there we have we want to go to great back to great quality. There is a lot of expense. What we lost, you know, because we don't know about it anymore.
00:46:16:05 - 00:46:40:10
Chris Missick: You know, there's this philosophy called traditionalism and they talk about different archetypes. And one of them is the the man out of time. And I feel like those of us who are the most passionate about wine are are men or people out of time because you're making wine from grapes that were planted one hundred and thirty years ago. Yeah, you'retasting it now, but it won't be released until, you know, maybe you or I are gone.
00:46:40:12 - 00:46:48:05
Erni Loosen: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. One would be going to bottle. This will be another twelve years, you know, and in the bottle before we release it,
00:46:48:15 - 00:47:04:03
Chris Missick: I just, I get so fixated on that concept. It's this beautiful thing where we really do become just caretakers and that is part of the integral story of humanity, you know. So in a sense like wine is the most human thing we can be doing.
00:47:04:05 - 00:47:06:05
Erni Loosen: Yeah, that's fantastic.
00:47:06:15 - 00:48:37:26
Erni Loosen: I mean, you know, and you meet these people, you know, I mean, I must say, I like I mean, you know, Chasselas has also a little bit this kind of reputation in Switzerland, you know, to be this kind of, you know, I mean, not cheap, but I mean, there's kind of average white wine which they drink, you know, and so nothing. Right. And so I know. But I met once. Now, I drink once a bottle of of a gentleman and I mean Monseiur Bovard and I'm from the Lake Geneva, you know. Yeah, and that wasn't in New York, you know, I was. Oh, yeah, fantastic wine. And and I was with a guy with a wine freak there, and he said, oh, yeah, this is the best producer. And I always wanted to meet this man, you know? And so because I saw something in this wine, I mean, the first class, I said it's never had anything like that. And so, you know, and by accident, I met this guy, but a friend in Switzerland, you know, who opened his wine cellar. And he is also famous winemaker Gantenbein by, you know, and I happened. Walking down the right of the way to the winery and there was this older gentleman next to me, white hairs, and so I don't know why I said. I don't know why, I mean I never met you, but are you Mr. Bovard, is that. Yes. And you are Ernst Loosen, aren't you? I said yes. You know, I said I had your wine in New York. It's amazing. This wine was so great and this guy was and then he man, this guy was possibly already 75 years old, you know. And then we had been talking the whole night and he said, I have to do this and this and this. I want to do this. And and then I said, excuse me, Monseiur Bovard . I mean, I'm amazed what you all want to do.
00:48:38:03 - 00:48:51:14
Erni Loosen: But when you want to do all these things and I mean, I didn't want to say I mean, about his age, he said, Ernst, you know, how should I ever get 100 years old if I have not all these visions and projects which I still want to do? Yeah.
00:48:51:16 - 00:49:04:20
Erni Loosen: Isn't it great that I see it the same? You know, you don't get old, you know. No. I mean, you have so many things do you want to do is still an experience and and there's so many interesting things you find out every every year.
00:49:04:22 - 00:49:30:01
Erni Loosen: You see something different again, you know, I mean, OK, my staff, they they sometimes they say, you know, they got to come to my secretary when I come back from swivelling. I said and because I come always back with all these ideas. Oh, Tom Verni, my winemaker. Oh, we have to do this and this and this and this. And then Bernie, go to my secretary. Hey, when is this guy leaving again? Traveling again. We did not want to have, you know, get him on a plane.
00:49:32:10 - 00:50:00:01
Chris Missick: What they don't understand is that minds like that... Don't come back with just the same number of ideas. Typical. You're going to come back with a wealth of new things. Ten times the number and their job is going to be harder. Should have been able to keep up that travel. That's great, though. Oh, man, I love it as far as collaborations. So Eroica has really gotten just some stellar reviews recently.
00:50:00:25 - 00:50:55:18
Erni Loosen: It's also a project. Look, I mean, ninety nine was the first vintage that's I was 22 years old now. I know. And so and it is also a project by learning, by doing, you know, definitely. I mean I came to to to Washington in ninety nine now and didn't know much about it. It was barely my, my old friend, a lawyer, you know, who basically told me, look, you know, CHateau Ste. Michel Is doing something with Antenori, but they are the largest recent producer here in the U.S. You know, they should have been interested also to do something, you know, for the reasons, you know, I mean, and so and so he made the contact. And so, you know, we wrote to them. And so in these days, the old CEO, Alan Shupe, was immediately, you know, pro and said, hey, yes, come visit us. You know, that's a great idea, you know, because weaselling is so important for us, you know, and we also have the problem. But recently, he has this very low reputation.
00:50:55:20 - 00:52:06:19
Erni Loosen: We don't you know, the prices are low because it still this reputation because of Liebfraumilch . It's cheap and, you know, sweet. And so we definitely have to do a Renaissance style renaissance for Riesling, you know. And for me, I said to such a big company, me as a small company, and I don't have the sources. Yeah, I could work for my, you know, twenty five acres in these days, you know, or 50 acres. We had ten. And so but here is a powerful company who has also the sources, you know, I mean, with the press and everything, you know, I mean, let's do something. Bring the old world the best from the old one of the best from the new world together, you know, and work on Riesling. And I didn't care if it does a German Riesling or American Riesling, as long Reisling as a grape or it gets comes back on the tablet of great, great varieties, you know, and then then everybody gains from it, you know, it doesn't matter, you know. And so and then Allen was extremely, you know, open. Yeah, let's do it. I tell you, we have been going to the winner and the evening now when we came back handshake in the plane and said, yes, we are doing something. And that is what I mean, such a company the next day, you know,
00:52:07:10 - 00:52:30:25
Erni Loosen: have a Harvey Steinback already phoned me. I wasn't a little I kind of Mexican, you know, I'm in a place, you know, I have Harvey Simon on the phone. It's like, hey, Ernst, tell me what's going on there with Saint Michelle. You know, you guys doing something together. I've heard, you know, I mean, Alan Shupe phoned me, you know, and this is this these companies, they can do it, you know, and that is what we and we want to do a renaissance for. Right. Which has no reputation anymore.
00:52:30:29 - 00:53:06:27
Erni Loosen: But we all believe it belongs to the queen or kings of of grape varieties. Then you need a partner like that. And so and then we happen also. We learned a lot. You know, we have been starting also in the beginning with the wrong wingnuts. So, yeah, we happened too much in the warm places. And slowly we learned we have to do different viticulture, you know, there, because in a hot climate, you have to adjust the rich culture, you know, I mean, we changed arrogation. We did this and that. And so it was all about extending the hangtime, you know, extending the hangtime, because that's a hot climate. I think you don't have the time, you know, but it was it was a wonderful project.
00:53:06:29 - 00:53:28:14
Erni Loosen: And nowadays we harvest, you know. Even later than we do it in the Mosel now. So with a long time, but without overriding this, that is a long time to get the full aroma ripeness, but not the sugar overripe ripeness enough. And that was the whole goal. We have been working since 20 years on it, you know, I mean, we pretty much there we are no more on the ancient legs. And also it's a great it's a great project.
00:53:28:16 - 00:53:37:13
Erni Loosen: And we got I mean, often said that is still the only American Riesling which got the most allocation. I look at Christine.
00:53:37:18 - 00:53:47:18
Chris Missick: OK, so in terms of managing that ripeness, is that through in those hot areas, just slightly larger yields, larger deals?
00:53:47:20 - 00:55:01:15
Erni Loosen: It's the easiest thing, sure. I mean, to cool down I mean, more hedging than that. The growth is going into the laterals and up in the in the grapes, you know, shading, you know. Yeah. And that and that what I think was the biggest mistake that they kept, they treated the white wines or the reasoning as they treated the red wine. So now with deficit arrogation, with a red wine, you want the phenolics, but you don't want the phenomics with everything up. And so we had been changing them. And what we also saw instead, drip irrigation. We saw that the overhead, you know, irrigation have been cooling down the vineyard and uninteresting and so also delayed the delayed the the ripeness. And so that was a lot of things which we found out, you know what you could do little viticultural tricks up to and hence get a longer, longer hang time enough. And so but then the two most efficient ones are going higher, you know, more to the north, the ancient lakes area, you know, beautiful begoing going rather now. I mean, something like up to maximum 900-1,000 feet, you know, and then and then hang a little bit more fruit. You hang a little bit more fruit because you got 3600 sunshine hours.
00:55:01:17 - 00:55:48:29
And I'm sorry, I mean, the whole low yield thing, you know, to be frank, that is was it's out of the 50s and 60s when we had in Europe and this little ice time, you know, yeah, it was cold. You know, you got barely the grapes, right. And then if you hang a lot of fruit, then it is even more disaster. The whole low I mean, low yielding, you know, I mean, you know, to go down with the yield was due to the very cold weather conditions in the 40s and the 30s and the 20s and the 50s and the 60s, you know, to get the fruit ripe at all. I mean, Bordeaux's in these days, even Bordeaux 15 in the 50s, you know, or in the 60s. Yeah. I mean, the average ripeness was 11 percent potential. Even great vintages like 86 have been jeopardized now.
00:55:49:02 - 00:56:11:24
Erni Loosen: And that was great vintage that you had an 11 percent potential sugar ripeness, you know, and these days. So from that point of view, you had to go down with a yield. But if the if the if the if the weather conditions, you know, is perfect, like sunshine, like everything, then I mean, that can ripen more fruit and you get more elegant wines then, you know. Yeah. If you want them, you know,
00:56:12:01 - 00:56:27:16
Chris Missick: it's that idea of balance. And it's, it's not just a cliché word, you know, for so long, even until I'd say relatively recently, you know, you'd have writers who would say there's a template two to three tons per acre. Well, it depends on where you are.
00:56:27:21 - 00:56:41:13
Erni Loosen: Yeah. Yeah. I should tell you this this this this formula. I mean, as less yield is better, the wine, you know, as such, I mean but it has so much in the head of the people that because if the growers themselves, they know it too, you know. Yeah.
00:56:41:15 - 00:57:17:21
Erni Loosen: But if they pray things you know what the journalists or what the what the what the what the consumer want to hear, you know, then then you are trapped. Yeah. And then you're trapped, you know, because then the people really think oh my God, this is only I mean I remember at 92 and also Madame Lara, you know, she had only, I think five hectoliter per hectare. And I mean I mean, I tell you, if it would have been 40 hectares, it would have been the autocrat's. You know exactly what I mean. But everybody said, oh, my God, you know, so then the optimum wine must be if you have only one bunch back then.
00:57:19:18 - 00:57:24:16
Chris Missick: Yeah, we do. We do berry removal. Every cluster only has one bearing. Yeah.
00:57:25:03 - 00:57:48:03
Erni Loosen: Yeah. From that point of view, I mean we have to get back to I mean common sense again, you know, I mean it becomes really sometimes, you know, I can't really hear it anymore. What's prowar sometimes telling you, you know. Yeah. But I mean at the end of the day the only thing what counts is here, in the glass, you know, what is it? You know, and that is the other thing. You know,
00:57:48:25 - 00:57:56:18
I don't want to drink ideology, you know? And so, you know, I want to drink a great bottle of wine. And that is here in the glass, you know.
00:57:56:23 - 00:57:58:19
Chris Missick: Exactly. I love that.
00:57:58:21 - 00:58:00:12
Erni Loosen: I haven't heard it put that way.
00:58:00:14 - 00:58:41:18
Erni Loosen: But I don't want to drink ideology because you're right. So many people figure out what they want to make in this, like, almost ethereal framework and then they execute that. No, they are getting so I mean, it becomes like religions, you know. Yeah. And so if you don't do this, if you're not a biodynamic or if you don't do it in amphoras or so, it becomes this kind of or natural or whatever they call it or orange. I mean, I don't care. Everybody should do whatever he likes. And he thinks that is the greatest wine in the world. I think that's OK. But why are always these people try to mission you? You know, if you do something else, ask them, you know, and that is typical religion thing. You know, they try to mission you because they don't feel safe. If not, everybody is doing it.
00:58:41:20 - 00:58:51:08
Chris Missick: And I you know, it's why my my ideology is just twofold. And it's not even an ideology. It's just a vision. Authentic and delicious. Yeah. Yeah. Simple.
00:58:51:14 - 00:59:33:18
Yeah. And we all, I mean, and it would be horrible if we would all we would all do the same wine. I agree with that. The great thing on wine is the versatility that that people who like fresh young wines and the people who have a little bit more experience like this other style, a little bit more mature. And I'm sure there are people who love these kind of natural wines or orange wines. It's not really my cup of tea, but I don't want to criticize them, you know, and if they're well-made and also here they are, huge, huge quality differences in them. And so everybody should do what he thinks, what his passion is and what his if he thinks that's the greatest wine in the world. Yes. OK, you know, but please, I mean, let other people also live and so on.
00:59:33:20 - 00:59:43:13
Chris Missick: J. Christopher, it was my birthday gift from my wife. A couple of bottles. Oh really. Oh, the Pinot Noir three years ago. Oh, I absolutely love those wines.
00:59:43:23 - 01:00:18:14
Erni Loosen: Yeah. And he is the same. We do it. I mean it's we do it also as much as natural as it used to be, you know. So with two years overpowering, you know, which is very important to the overpowering, you know, that it can sedimented itself and everything. You know, we do only punch down and small I mean, open bread buckets, you know, we do no fining, no filtration, all fermented with natural juice, you know, and we try to keep it, you know, I mean also by the by by 13.5 alcohol. I know.
01:00:18:20 - 01:02:00:12
Erni Loosen: So that is I mean, this is something which works with Pinot Noir. Wine the old days, it was thirteen short due to global warming. We have to accept that. But I mean, I tell you, I, I, I for me that I mean Pinot Noir with fifteen point five I could and it's not for me, you know, Riesling and Pinot Noir was always for me. The white and the red twin, you know. Yeah. You know, because they have so much in common, you know, Riesling and Pinot Noir aromatics now they need a certain terroir to make a great performance and they need a cool climate. You know, they even develop with age the same aroma structure, the sushi. Wow. What the French call. And that is also thewe call it filling up with our wines, with reasoning about food. And so what is very, very close and it is amazing, you know, the great Pinot Noir from Burgundy with age, they, they, they, they develop this sweetness, this extra sweetness. They become sweet in the taste and not by sugar, but the extract, you know, and the same our traditional old style. Auslese you know, which had been much lower sweetness. But they lose, you know, I just had a 38 tasting, Auslese. And so you know, I mean, that was like Burgundy, you know, and they they lose all the sweetness. And then these two wines, if you put them next to each other, they have the same aromatics and they have the same sweetness level suddenly. Yeah, the one had been coming down, the other had been in the palate coming up. You know, it's amazing. I had once this group of them for high end Michel Bettane, this very famous wine journalist from France. He brought them and he said, oh, he wasn't on the model on Sunday. So he phoned me because he knows that I always have food there. And I said, hey, I'm here with some six, seven friends from our restaurant owners from Paris.
01:02:00:14 - 01:02:32:24
Erni Loosen: And, uh, are you there? I said, yeah, sure. Oh, can we come along? I said, yes, when you want to come on the afternoon. The evening. Because he speculated already we have. I thought, OK, then I will cook something, you know, and then I did the traditional leg of dear, you know, as my grandmother did a lot, praised, you know, and you have a little bit, you know, mushrooms, the shunters in there. And you do with some of the the the the I say these these red current berries and they know that Sweeten's up, but it works with the sweetness of the of the of the
01:02:32:26 - 01:03:40:19
Erni Loosen: deer, you know, and I put next to each other, you know, fifty nine Auslese, you know, and 69 from Chateau Latour. Know. And so and these guys, they have been amazed. They said, oh my God. Yeah, really. Because first they said, what do you think of reasoning? I was with this and isn't that a sweet box? I put it next to each other. Try it. You know, and it was really the aromatics was very similar. And the sweetness level was also because the 59 lost all the sweetness and a little bit they left, you know, which works with the sweetness of the dear, you know, and and the burgundy bit of this. As with, you know, I mean, expect sweetness was a beautiful, sweet finish, and then that's what I mean, fine, very fine. The food and the soup are fine, fine, fine. And they said amazing. They would never thought that you can drink them next to each other. You know, usually you say you I mean, first the red and then the white or the white first and then the red. No, you could drink them next to each other because that is the old tradition. And in our area, you know, to drink very old Auslese, Riesling Auslese, old Auslese, with with game with the white boar, or whatever.
01:03:40:21 - 01:03:50:12
Chris Missick: You know, it makes a lot of sense. And you know that what I'm really taking from that is I need to call you a few hours before the next time I'm in the Mosel.
01:03:50:24 - 01:03:52:24
Erni Loosen: I'm always a deer in the freezer.
01:03:55:01 - 01:04:17:09
Chris Missick: I love it. I love it. So one of the things that you've really become known for in recent years is being an evangelist for Grosses Gewachs. So just from a ground level up for the audience, what is Grosses Gewachs ? Yeah, how is that determined? And then what is your mission in this?
01:04:17:21 - 01:05:06:01
Erni Loosen: Well, Grosses Gewachs is the German translation for Grand Cru. You know, I'm a member of the VDP. This is the Fine Wine Growers Association in Germany where the 200 best wineries, you can say, of Germany, a member of, you know, and sadly, like in Burgundy, where they have this classification, you know, of course, Grand Cru, Premiere Cru, Village. They have the maps and they showing them the the vineyards and different colors. What is the Grand Cru? What is the Village? What is the Premiere Cru, that turned they also integrated into the French wine law. You know, there's this, this, this, this classification of the vineyards. And we have the same classification now, even older than the Burgundy classification. Our classification is from 1868, you know, same three classes, three colors and the same on this old map.
01:05:06:03 - 01:06:31:29
They said, yes, the erste lager first sight, zweite lager second site, . So I did like a second side, dritte lager third site, but which translates in Burgundy as the first site would be Grand Cru the second site would be premier cru and third side would be village. So. And but. The VDP the difference is the German wine law never integrated this classification, which is older, the Burgundy coming into the German wine law. But the Fine Wine Growers Association said, you know, where I remember off said, look, I mean, we have this we have the same tradition as Burgundy, you know, the same tradition, even older, you know, and it has said that the German wine never indicated this kind of, you know, in heritage into the window. And we decided then the fine wine crystallisation, we will do it for all the members. You know, we will do our own rules now. We will go back to this old tradition of classification. We will integrate into the into the into the to the to the wine fine wine association rules. Now, this classification again, you know, and, um. But. The problem is we are not allowed to put Grand Cru on the label because it is a trademark of the French, but we are allowed to put the German translation of Grand Cru on the label and that would be Grosses Gewachs or the English translation is great growth.
01:06:32:08 - 01:07:05:18
Erni Loosen: So by accident, the German translation and the English translation has the same GG, you know, so you can say Grosses Gewachs is the German name for Grand Cru or the English name for Grand Cru, Great growth, you know, and if you see a GG symbol, you know which eye on the bottle or on the label GG symbol on the on the bottle, on the label, it tells you that this vineyard, which is on the label, is a Grand Cru vineyard, you know. So GG means Grand Cru, a great, great growth. vineyard, you know,
01:07:06:03 - 01:08:20:23
Chris Missick: but by, by, by, by the VDP law, a GG has to be Has to be always dry, has to be a dry wine so we are not allowed to do the traditional fruity style wines like Kabinet, Spatlese, Auslese, calling GG the GG also is not only means conclusory, it means also this is a dry wine. But still I put the dry stick on it to make it easier and easier to understand, you know. So that means it has to be a dry wine from a Grand Cru vineyard, that, you know, GG it is not allowed to release it before the 1st September of the next year, but then the wine making is on you, you know, so I choose the wine making for my GG as my grandfather did it, you know, and the very old days and by indigenous yeast, fermented and the old barrels, fuders, they called fuders in England and France and other bigger ones, 1000, 2000, 3000 liters you know. We keep it minimum. Twelve months on, the full yeast in the barrel now topping up up to eight years, you know, so between 12 months or one year to eight years, you know, in the barrel, our GG's, you know, so we we approach a different winemaking. I mean, we we thought, let's do the winemaking of my great grandfather. Yeah. Give it more time and so on.
01:08:21:02 - 01:08:22:18
Chris Missick: And no batonnage
01:08:22:20 - 01:09:01:04
Erni Loosen: No battonage. We leave it only on the yeast, sitting on the yeast. The idea is, you know, and I think that is possibly what makes them live them so fresh in the barrel and know as long the yeast is alive, you know, then it produces a protective environment in the barrel. And this reductive environment works against the micro oxidation through the staves. It keeps it in balance and other oxidation for the state. So keep that in balance. But you get all the positive thing of all of winemaking in the barrel or from the barrel. But you don't get the oxidation so much, you know, if you do it. But if you do betterness, you kill the yeast and then you enhance the oxidation.
01:09:01:06 - 01:09:20:29
Erni Loosen: You know, that's the reason we don't do battonage, because we want to do we want to produce wines which have I mean, a long "livity" also in the in the bottle, you know, which can age very well. Yesterday we had 2009 or 2008, you know, 11 years old, now 12 years old. It was totally fresh, totally fresh, you know.
01:09:21:08 - 01:09:22:26
Chris Missick: You know, I'm going to start to open this.
01:09:23:03 - 01:09:28:11
Erni Loosen: Yeah, well, that's a good idea at the first start with the way this is blue slate and the other one is Red Slate.
01:09:28:16 - 01:09:29:01
Chris Missick: Great.
01:09:29:03 - 01:09:50:18
Erni Loosen: Um, yeah. And that is something which which we do with our GG's, you know, but I mean, specially if you see a GG is an indication that the vineyard, even if you don't understand, you know, German German names are difficult to read and to understand, you know, but it doesn't matter. You can always say, oh, this vineyard here is a GG on it. And yet, you know, you know, if there's a GG on it, you know,
01:09:51:01 - 01:09:53:08
Chris Missick: so and then Blue Slate and Red Slate,
01:09:53:10 - 01:10:01:16
Erni Loosen: that's like, yes. I mean, that is I mean, you know, I mean, as far as I understand, the soil here in the Finger Lakes is also from Devonian time and all.
01:10:01:19 - 01:10:02:04
Chris Missick: Yeah.
01:10:02:06 - 01:10:43:09
Erni Loosen: Is kind of a shale slate, you know, with our slate is a little more harder, you know, possibly more compressed, more. But this is basically all of the slate from from the Mosel is all from the same time. Red state, blue state. It's all the same time. Red slate, it's only oxidised blue state. You know what volcanic activities We have some areas where we can volcanic activities and the heat of the lava flow, you know, I mean, oxidised on the right and the left side of the blue slate into red slate, you know, so the iron was oxidized by heat. And that part, it is funny. It makes a difference. It makes a difference in the taste, you know, the it is quite, even that it's the same soil. It makes it a difference in the taste.
01:10:43:14 - 01:10:53:15
Erni Loosen: The blue slate, which we have now here from Wehlener Sonnenuhr, which is one of our oldest one. Yeah, this is a vineyard which is more than 130 year old ungrafted vines, original rootstock, no American rootstocks.
01:10:53:25 - 01:13:12:19
Erni Loosen: Um, and the blue slate is always especially Wehlener Sonnenuhr and what Wehlener is the Village, Sonnenuhr was the name of the vineyard, the Sun Dial Vineyard, you know, um, and that was built the sun dial was built by our great, great, great, great uncle in 1842 and now, um, into the vineyard, you know, for geoducks from now and since then, the vineyard, the surrounding vineyards have been called Sonnenuhr where the Sun Dial Vineyard, you know, and so and it is always said that the Sun Dial Vineyard with a blue slate, you know, it's the most typical vineyard for expressing the blue slate. You have the most, blue slate gives very elegant wines, very delicate wines. Fine. I try always to compare wines with people you know. Yeah. For me being a sunrise, always the ballerini, you know, you know. And then we have Ürziger Würzgarten , which is um which is red volcanic soil. That is for me the wrestler and I know. And so and that is the most delicate wines. Wehlener Sonnenuhr was delicate and the and you know, blue slate out usually translates if it comes from fruit aroma to I mean, if it is a little bit less ripe, an apple is a little bit ripe, it goes into stone fruits like white peach snow, mostly white peach, you know, can go if it is too ripe, it can go into a yellow peach, even into apricot. But then it is already that that is too much that we don't want to apricot you know. Then it is too hot, you know. And so back to here, this is the this is the business on a very delicate, very fine. You know, uh, this is the 2018 vintage, you know. And we are also very important for us, you know, Riesling, we don't think that Riesling needs alcohol. You know, Riesling performs as a dry wine for me personally, best between the eleven point five and twelve point five range of alcohol, you know, and then they can age, you know. But we see now I mean and other I mean certain countries like I mean I mean, even in Alsace, you know, I mean, you have Rieslings now with fourteen fourteen point five. I got I don't also just see those on The Wacchau. No I don't think. Oh I don't believe that this is this, this you make don't make better
01:13:12:21 - 01:13:30:04
Erni Loosen: Rieslings. No. And I remember very well when I was the first time and Wacchau, it was 1990, we tasted 88 and 89, you know. And so they're all the smart, all twelve point five. I quit and I have still these wines in my in 1991 and so they're still wonderful. Wonderful.
01:13:30:11 - 01:13:35:20
Chris Missick: I mean this is just explosive on the palate. Beautiful,
01:13:37:00 - 01:13:57:21
Erni Loosen: You see Riesling. As I said, Riesling performs on its own, you know, and especially if it is old vines, they get lots of complexity. This wine wouldn't be better with thirteen point five alcohol, I it basically the other way around, it would possibly be more flabby. You know, this is lively still. You know what, I even after one year on the fringes, you know, in the barrel, you know.
01:13:58:17 - 01:14:07:13
Chris Missick: No, I mean, it's zingy. The first thing I'm the very first thing that comes to mind is, oh no, these need to be drink a couple of years from now. But there's so much pleasure in it right now
01:14:07:23 - 01:14:51:23
Erni Loosen: that is the beauty unreasoning and. Oh, that's one of the you know, I mean, I've been collecting a lot of Burgundy on board, you know, and especially in the old days, you know. Yeah. I mean Bordeaux's which had been produced in the old style, you know, nowadays the old it's a totally different you had to wait ten years before the tannins and everything had been mellowing down, you know, so you had to drink Bordeauxs, which, you know, if you didn't want to have this kind of hot tannins and so and so and that is the beauty on resealing. You can drink them young as old. You know, they perform. There's often something in between where they have a kind of a little bit depressive phase, I always call it. I mean, I always compare, like, these kind of ugly teenagers. No, don't touch them. And these these things. No one in the room. Yeah. Leave them in the room.
01:14:51:25 - 01:16:54:22
Erni Loosen: You know, get get get get away, you know. And so so the first three, four years. That's beautiful, you know, then I always say, I'll leave it then. And when I mean I said in the first three or four years, it's OK, possibly four years. It's already going declining, you know, but then you know, vintage plus ten, then you can start again, you know. Yeah. And about young or after ten years again. But they have always this ditch in between, you know, so where they closed down because that is mostly the the period where the primary fruit, you know, where the wine gains a lot of, you know, but what we could now call the stone fruit aromas and the peach. And so, you know, if this primary fruit aromas are fading away, you know, then the wine is going into this teenage phase. You know, where they are can be very ugly, you know, and and then and then they turn 18 or 21, you know. So then they they they they and then you can talk to these guys again. And and so that it's the same here, you know, because it is this phase primary fruit aroma, which is very attractive with Riesling fading away and then the period through secondary and tertiary and then the tertiary romance that ah, the final romance, you know, and as soon we have the tertiary reaching up, then the wine is back again with different romance. But then it often stays on this plateau. Ten, fifteen, twenty years. I mean yesterday we had opened the ninety seven you know, I mean that's still, I mean this, I think that will stay there for another ten,fifteen years. We don't know when it starts declining you know. Yeah. And you have the taste of but this ditch y'know when it goes it declines, the primary romance declines and, and all the way into the tertiary rooms aromas that then they are a little bit you know, the things are not together, it's not married anymore together. You know, the acidity and sweetness of alcohol, everything sits aside, you know, and that needs to marry again, you know, to come together again. But in a different you know, we also change. You know, that's true.
01:16:56:06 - 01:17:15:17
Chris Missick: I'm interested how you described, you know, the ballerina versus the wrestler, because oftentimes I describe the different sites I work with in different but similar terms is either my skeleton muscle or flesh. Thinking of some Riesling is soft and just fruity. Some is going to be electric in acidic. That's exactly.
01:17:15:24 - 01:17:17:26
Erni Loosen: And that is for me, the mountain climber. Yeah.
01:17:20:07 - 01:17:27:20
Chris Missick: You know, and with his fingernails. Well, I mean, this is just just beautiful. Just beautiful. My compliments to you.
01:17:27:22 - 01:17:56:06
Erni Loosen: Yeah, it's. That's a great win and, you know, it's a great vineyard and the delicacy and I mean very blessed that we still have so many old vineyards in the Wehlener Sonnenuhr, I mean, really over a hundred years. And all that is I think we still have. The three, four and half life that has been the 12 acres, 12 and a half acres with vineyards which are more and Wehlener, which are more than 100 years old. Wow.
01:17:57:03 - 01:18:03:24
Chris Missick: So I have this thought in America, things often happen fast or faster, fast that
01:18:04:01 - 01:18:06:08
Erni Loosen: Everything is bigger here, Every everything is faster.
01:18:06:10 - 01:18:08:13
Erni Loosen: Everything's faster. So, you know, the
01:18:08:15 - 01:18:33:28
Chris Missick: Mosel is defined by two key epochs. I guess you've got Devonian 400 million years ago and then you've got this 200 million years to carve out the Mosel. Yes. In the U.S. we have in the Finger Lakes, Devonian. So, yes, yes. I mean, but then, you know, we don't really see the major impact until the Pleistocene about ten or fifteen thousand years ago. The glaciers.
01:18:34:00 - 01:18:51:21
Chris Missick: Yeah, the glaciers that, you know, carved out the Finger Lakes, made Seneca Lake so deep and and then made a really deep lake 600 feet deep. So, you know, it's almost that classic old world versus new world. It took 200 million years to make the Mosel. And then I was like, oh, yeah, 10,000 years ago. Let's get busy.
01:18:51:23 - 01:19:24:29
Erni Loosen: But it's the same soil. You know, I took it out because the Devonian has 400 million years. Yeah, yeah. Oh, yeah. Well, there's only I mean by different ways created, you know. And so I mean so but I think. Yeah I think yeah. It took us 200 million years. Yeah. But does it make a difference if it. Fifty thousand. Yes. Yes. No. I mean the winemaking is I mean the last that's 2000 years old you know. Yeah. Yeah. Probably 50 years. I don't know. I mean I know you know Herman Weimer is from my hometown. Yeah.
01:19:25:01 - 01:19:25:16
Chris Missick: Oh yeah.
01:19:25:18 - 01:19:46:18
Erni Loosen: My father was a very good friend of his father, you know. I mean, you know, and so the Herman told me yesterday he came here 69 now and that was still was still I mean, he it was definitely already winemaking. I think it was this big company, Taylor, on his days and possibly started and probably in the beginning of the last century, you know, whatever
01:19:46:20 - 01:19:47:05
Chris Missick: It was mid-1800's
01:19:48:19 - 01:19:49:15
Erni Loosen: Mid eighteen hundreds even.
01:19:49:17 - 01:19:54:06
Chris Missick: But it was it was focused on sparkling with native and some early. Yeah.
01:19:54:08 - 01:20:00:00
Erni Loosen: But then 200 years or so in 50 years and already I mean that's a long tradition for winemaking. Yeah.
01:20:00:04 - 01:20:05:27
Chris Missick: Yeah. With big ebbs and flows. Yeah. Yeah. And we made that foolish decision as a country to ban alcohol so
01:20:06:05 - 01:20:09:06
Erni Loosen: That, that didn't help though that for the vineyards at least
01:20:10:17 - 01:20:12:21
Chris Missick: I don't have a dump bucket but I can tell that's
01:20:12:23 - 01:20:14:17
Erni Loosen: OK. What we'll dump in the reverse. Oh yeah.
01:20:16:24 - 01:20:18:13
Chris Missick: I figured that would be the case.
01:20:19:23 - 01:20:26:17
Erni Loosen: Um yeah. So now we have another vineyard which is also or um on the on roots.
01:20:27:15 - 01:21:29:09
Erni Loosen: This is vineyard here, but this wine where the vineyard where the wine comes from, it is that's the reason we put alte reben on there, alte reben means very old vines, you know, and we have very extreme you know, we put on the old vines on the label of the vineyard is a minimum 80 years old, you know, and you know. And so. There's also from more than 100 year old vineyard, and here we have red slate and winemaking is the same. It's also the same ripeness, 12.5 alcohol, um, so fermented on the natural yeast, indigenous yeast in the fudor barrels and stays there for 12 months on the full yeast, not only topping it up every month. And I'm just careful you don't leave it, leave it that it's everything settles down itself. And so, you know, and so but you see. It's different, you know, that dramatic is different now. It's a little bit more say yes, I said it. I live in a mountain climber, a bit more minerally driven acidity here. And it is.
01:21:30:28 - 01:21:34:28
Chris Missick: It's almost got a warmer aspect to it and not in the respect of alcohol,
01:21:36:01 - 01:22:14:02
Erni Loosen: but if you taste it, it is also the Wehlener Sonnenuhr was more rounded. It has more this kind of very delicate. You know, here you you see the grip of the even that the acidity is the same, not higher. No, but it tastes much higher. This acidity, you know, it seems you would think that it is higher and acidity has the Wehlener Sonnenuhr and analytically it's the same. Yeah. The difference is the soil. The soil seems to. Bring out or let the acidity taste more acidic, not because it's higher, my analysis, only because of this kind of a possibly the I, I don't know. I mean, as I said, I'm not a chemist. I have no clue about it.
01:22:14:20 - 01:22:31:27
Chris Missick: It is one of my my winemaking, its scientific influence. But it's not scientific driven. But one of my ways to geek out is running analysis on wines. And I am always shocked when I get to wines like this and I run the analysis and I'm like, oh my gosh, they're exactly the same. Except
01:22:32:00 - 01:26:05:04
Erni Loosen: Because I think, how can you differentiate? If we talk we talk so much about terroir the one time, you know, I mean, terroir is a lot of things. And I'll tell you, it's definitely a combination of in our area inclination of the vineyards and our elevation of the vineyards and our exposure, you know, as most south facing, it's better. You know, it's deeper. It's better. You know, elevation is lower. It's better because it's the warmest vineyards. So you get better ripeness or not. But this is this are microclimate affect us now, which also belongs to the soil, you know, drainage, you know, of the soil. You know, there's so many so many things which which which defines at least the tabua. It it's not only the dirt,you know. I mean, you can only say I mean, the dirt is the easiest you can show, you know. Yeah. From all the microclimates, all from all the things which a vineyard shows. And they're so easy now to to put a volcanic stone in there. And then the stone I mean, I don't know. And then I blew up and then he said, oh, this is this. And that's the good thing, is that often these these these these these the stones. You know, if you if you put the soil on the table, you see also a difference in the wine, you know. Yeah. But if you really want to differentiate in the wine. The difference of the terroir, I think you have to take all these, you have to make this exactly the same wine in each terroir and have to do the exactly the same wine making, you know. Yeah. Because the winemaking. That was I mean, it was so much easier 200 years ago to talk about terroir because there was no technology. You know, they all had to use the same press and there was no machines out there. There was no I mean, there was no I mean, fertilisation nothing, you know. Yeah. And the winemaking was all the same. They had only the the same press that all the same barrels. They had to all dump it in the same barrels and let it ferment until it was dry. And then you could give it a little bit more or less time. But then it was also easy to differentiate the terroir from another producer to to the to the to another terroir from another producer. But nowadays, every producer with all the technology has nowadays what some people have a closed press, some people have an open press, some people use this filter, some people do this treatment, you know, I mean, everybody has his own winemaking. And so we don't know how much this kind of now technology of winemaking, you know, I mean, influence, you know. So if you want to see the terroir, you know, we have seven different. I was on seven different vineyards, So I'm not terroir. Seven different. I know 11 different Grand Crus now, I know if you want to see the differences of all these vineyards, we have to produce them all the same way. We have to harvest them with the same kind of sugar ripeness, you know. Yeah, you have to harvest. You have to do the same treatment. You have to do the same processing. You have to do the same maceration. You have to do the same winemaking. You have to go in the same paranzino and now and you have to do the same natural fermentation, you know, and leave it all twelve months and do the same analysis. No, I mean. I mean. And then. Because if all the other factors are the same and you see a difference, then it can be only the difference of the window that you have a while, whatever you want to call it. No, that's terroir. It's not. You can't translate it only to the dirt, you know. You know, there was so much more complex. You know, there's all these many, many factors. And basically also nowadays, terroir is also the wine making. The winemaker itself, you know, has a huge influence to the wine, to the culture.
01:26:05:08 - 01:26:35:27
Chris Missick: Yeah. Yeah. You know, and even in some places where it's the grower and the winemaker, it's interesting you bring it. I'll be honest, when I have thought about terroir in the past, I've always just thought about. I hate to say it, but checkmarks, right, checkboxes, you know, soils, this, that, and I hadn't thrown myself back to thinking that these winemaker's of 200 years ago that began talking about this were doing the exact same thing. They didn't have extra tools. They didn't have anything else. So you really got to see it
01:26:36:13 - 01:26:53:24
Erni Loosen: For them, it was even easier to see it. Yeah. That this vineyard makes a better one in this because they all did the same. Yep. Even the neighbors, you know, there was no technology that somebody said, oh, I have a better filter as you and I have. Oh, I have finings and I have cultivated yeats. You know, and only the cultivated yeast.
01:26:54:06 - 01:26:55:18
Chris Missick: Have you tried this manoprotein?
01:26:55:20 - 01:27:37:25
Erni Loosen: that you have so many cultivated years and you can have everything if you want pineapple nowadays and your wine, you know, you take these which produce pineapple and say no, but that didn't exist. So therefore that everybody was forced. Because of no technology to do the same, you know, yeah, the only difference is they could do it. It was clever. He did some selection and the winner tonight and took a little bit the boardriders out. And so but that was the only influence to increase the quality by selecting, you know, selecting the better fruit from the lesser good fruit. So, no, but by technology, they had to do all the same because there was no television, there was no filters. There wasn't only that everybody had the same type of a press and there was no modern precedent, wouldn't it?
01:27:40:01 - 01:27:51:12
Chris Missick: Well, I have appreciated your time so much. This is your second time in the Finger Lakes. Just interested in impressions. I know we're still a really young region. There's a lot of room for growth.
01:27:51:14 - 01:30:14:22
Erni Loosen: Well, it's a beautiful area. Of course. It's a beautiful area. I mean, I don't know. It's the second time here. I always arrive here in the rain. The rain is as bad as it is with absolute. There's no difference it. Yeah, but here today is a beautiful day. You know, it's dry. And so, I mean, it's it's a it's a really beautiful I mean and it's so green, you know. Yeah. That is I love it. It's green the area. I know. I mean go to the go to the West Coast. Now you know nowadays if we don't have fires but in summer it's all brown, you know, and no water. And so that's I mean that's you definitely have no lackrof water here . Yeah. No, no. But the lakes, it's it's fantastic and it looks beautiful, you know, and you know and the vineyards along the lake, I mean, so I don't have too much experience. I tested the wines two years ago. Yeah. I mean Herman Weimer's wines I always knew. Yeah. Because, you know, because it's from hometown and if you had the chance to I mean sometimes you saw it on a wine list and then, you know, you ordered it because you know, I mean. Oh that's Herman's you. Bernkastel, you know. Yeah. That was already a friend of my father. And you wanted to do so. I wasn't I had never had it so much on the screen, you know. Yeah, but it is it's about, I think things here also. I mean I mean, that made as it is in most areas nowadays, it makes a huge step in the last 20 years. Yeah. I mean, the huge step. Oh my God. Now and that is the great thing. You have all these young winemakers now. It isn't the same in Germany, you know. Yeah. I mean, I think that is also very important. You know, that as more people. Sure. The competition and I tell you, I mean, I'm not sure if I nowadays, you know, when when I started, I there was no competition. No, I started with my new with these ideas. And there was well, while there was doing half and there Robert Weil, there was Dönhoff, was some people who had also these visions, you know, but we have been a small troupe and we wow, let's do it now. I mean, really, all the young winemakers in Germany, you know, they they they they have such a you know, they want to make great wines and they do everything to make great wine so and so. And that helps also to to get out of this valley of tears, you know, um, of that people see again,I mean, and especially in Europe, I mean, all the journalists tell I mean, there's no better price quality. I mean, relationship for wine now.
01:30:14:28 - 01:31:31:22
Erni Loosen: And that's not only Riesling. Also Pinot Blanc or Pinot Gris. I mean, look to the expense of, you know, Pinot Gris in Italy now. Now you can buy absolutely gorgeous Pinot Gris and Germany now. I mean, top, top, top, you know, for for less than ten bucks, you know. And so it is the people. But OK, that big competition now. But it is important that all these that we have these masses of young winemaker and I think it's the same. Everybody want to make great wine, you know. Yeah, they're all they are full of energy, you know, and that brings in region up. You know, it gets people see it, you know, people see it. The journalists see it. Oh, my God. There's a there's a region which was possibly a little bit sleepy thirty years ago. Forty years. Oh, I don't know. And so now there's all these great winemakers, these young guys. And it's only young people. Yeah. The winemakers are not great, you know. And so. No, I mean, sure. I mean, there was the leading figures in the old days, like Dr. Konstantin Frank, and I would say it was also possibly a pioneer Herman Weimer now for the area and possibly some others, you know. Yeah, but now, you know, I mean. Yeah, but now you see you see it here on the on the FLXCursion, you know. Yeah. It's all young people, young winemakers, they all want to see. I mean they want to I mean full of energy. It's great this this brings the region and you know, on the on the plate again.
01:31:31:24 - 01:31:34:21
Chris Missick: And what does that is. That is so amazing, you know.
01:31:35:23 - 01:31:42:03
Chris Missick: Well, it's an honor to have you here, not just in the region and the podcast, but as an ambassador for Rieslinbg.
01:31:42:05 - 01:31:47:21
Erni Loosen: Yeah, well, as you know, I love wrestling and but we still keep the flag up.
01:31:50:00 - 01:31:52:15
Chris Missick: Well, I'm going to close this out. Many thanks for your time.
01:31:52:17 - 01:31:53:16
Erni Loosen: Thank you. Thanks.
01:31:54:12 - 01:32:36:10
Chris Missick: Well, this has been viticulture where we're with Ernie Loosen, who rose from a troupe of young winemakers in Germany to carry the banner of Riesling around the world. He's also talking a lot about Pinot Blanc and Pinot these days. So let's keep a lookout on those German varietals as well. Thanks again for joining us. And see you next time. I hope you enjoyed the show. This has been viticulture where we share ways to cultivate a good life. Don't forget to visit our website and viticulturepodcast.Com, subscribe to our substack, where you'll get show notes, transcripts, musings and exclusive offers and check us out on all the major social media platforms. Thanks again for stopping by.