As if his environs weren’t fairytale enough, Helmut is lucky to lay claim to an ancient stand of black pear trees. The Schwarze Birne is a random seedling of unknown origin, which was historically used to grow an excellent cider pear on the northern edge of the Swabian Jura. However, there is no pear variety with the same name in the modern register. From the shape of the tree top, the wood and buds, the shape comes closest to resembling a present-day pear but is still quite different, more stout than long. The juice is tart, characterized by a high sugar content and delicate tannins. The color turns dark olive to gray-green when ripe, hence the name: black pear.
Fruit: Black Pears (Schwarze Birne)
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 (known in Burgundy as marne blanche) 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.