Dotting Helmut’s vines is an orchard of majestic apple trees, aged 80-100 years old. They belong to the variety known as Kardinal Bea — a medium to large apple with juicy, sweet-tart skin and low sugar content (named in honor of Cardinal Augustin Bea, a German-Jesuit priest who promotes Catholic-Jewish dialogue in the 60s). Every fall, Helmut harvests the fruit by hand and lets the apples ferment before they undergo a secondary fermentation méthode champenoise. They spend two years on the lees before disgorgement, resulting in an exuberant apple fizz that sings for years on end.
Fruit: Apples (Kardinal Bea)
Sub-Region or Appellation: Württemberg
Viticulture: Uncertified by any authority, Helmut Dolde is guided by his dedication to caring for the wild, alpine terroir he wants to preserve for future generations. Helmut eschews the organic movement—because it allows the use of copper sulfates—and focuses instead on leaving the soil in a better condition than he found it. A former scientist, he’s constantly experimenting with synthetics that do less harm and are more biodegradable than treatments allowed under certain organic certifications.
Age of Trees: 100+ years old
Soils: Calcareous marl with pebbles of limestone and clay formed by corals and marine life that thrived in the sea toward the end of the Jurassic period.
Elevation: 1000 feet
Vinification: Gently pressed in a basket press then ferments in stainless steel.
Aging: 6 years on lees before disgorgement to express minerality.