Jan’s farming on the steep slate hills of the area is strictly organic—a very hard commitment to make. It is far easier to spray pesticides from a helicopter, for instance, than to scramble up and down 60-70⁰ gradient slopes placing natural insect repellants on each and every vine. The hard work is an intrinsic part of the winery’s founding legend, however. Centuries ago, a donkey was originally the laborer of the steep slopes in Kröv until a wolf killed it. Legend has it that the monks caught the wolf and made it do the vineyard work after it killed the donkey. Wolf “Magnus” is still the mascot of the winery today (hence the labels and names).
It cannot be emphasized enough: these are not normal Mosel wines. They would be exceptional in ANY of the world’s winemaking regions, actually. Klein makes classic Rieslings under the Staffelter Hof label, but works with ZERO SULPHUR on this line of wines. They are unfined, unfiltered, hand-bottled, and contain varying levels of palate-tingling residual CO2. The variety of grapes is kaleidoscopic, featuring cuvees from Frühburgunder, Germany’s ruddy, blue/black-skinned “early Burgundy,” a.k.a. Pinot Noir Précoce, Sauvignon Blanc, Müller-Thurgau, Muscat, and a bewildering assortment of Portuguese grapes.
The Little Bastard is one of the Estate’s earliest bottlings of natural wines and reflects the Estate’s “diversity rooted in Riesling”: It is a blend of Riesling (60%), Sauvignon Blanc (25%), Müller-Thurgau (10%), and some Muskateller (5%). The different grape varieties are fermented without any intervention, partially with a little pre-fermentation maceration, and, in the case of the Muskateller, a two week skin fermentation before pressing. The result was then blended together, and after completing the fermentation, bottled un-filtered and without any sulfur added.