(8% of total cultivation area)
Dornfelder was cultivated in 1955 in Weinsberg (Württenberg) a cross between the Helfensteiner (Frühburgunder X Trollinger) and the Heroldrebe (Portugieser x Limberger) and then introduced to Germany at the beginning of the 70`s. Due to it` s deep red, almost violet skin colour, this versatile red was responsible for the red wine revolution in Germany.
Dornfelder can be found in nearly all German wine growing areas being red wine grape variety number one in the Pfalz and Rheinhessen.
Characteristics and requirements:
Although Dornfelder ripens towards the middle of the season, later harvesting is made possible due to the variety`s good disease resistance and vigorous growth. This in turn, increases the harvested grape`s quality. Dornfelder produces large airy grape clusters with fat, thick skinned berries particularly in seasons with high precipitation. Typical for a Dornfelder, is the deep red juice colour deriving from the skin rather than the flesh, which is opaque to light pink in colour.
Here, the site conditions are of little importance, although drought can cause a problem. High yields can be kept under control through green pruning, increasing quality. Average must weights are between 70° and 80° degrees Oschsle.
The wine itself:
Characteristic for Dornfelder is not only the intensively deep red, even violet colouring, but in particular it`s fruity depth of ripened red and black berries. The must interacts with the skins during fermentation (maceration) lending tannins, structure and body to the wine.