Straw wine ('Stréiwäin' in Luxembourgish) is the little brother of ice wine and is one of the rarest and most exclusive specialities from the vineyards of the Luxembourg Moselle. This fortified wine has been produced by Luxembourg wine-makers since 1995, and it owes its rich and sweet aroma to the process by which the bunches of grapes are dried on straw (where it gets its name) or wood. We have to wait around two years before being able to taste the harvest year vintage. The youngest wine on sale this year will certainly be the 2015 vintage.
A rigorous production process
Straw wine comes under the category known as 'late harvest' wines. These are mainly made with Auxerrois, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris or Gewürztraminer grape varieties. For the late harvest (Domaines Vinmoselle's 2017 harvest has only just been pressed), the grapes which are bursting with more sugar are carefully selected by the wine-maker. Using the refractometer, the wine-maker measures the Oechsle degrees, in other words the sugar concentration of the grape must. The higher the concentration, the sweeter the wine. In Luxembourg, straw wine has a concentration of at least 105 degrees on the Oechsle scale, which may exceed 180 degrees. As a comparison, a Riesling is only about 90 degrees. The grapes are then subject to the drying process known as passerillage for the two months following their harvest, before they are pressed.
An award-winning wine
Although we will have to wait at least two years before enjoying the 2017 vintage, it will certainly be worth the wait. The rating given to the Auxerrois 2015 straw wine demonstrated this, as it claimed the gold medal at the Berliner Wein Trophy 2017 and at the Concours Mundus Vini 2016.
(Article written by the editorial team of the luxembourg.lu portal.)