They have only 1800 vines and got 96 points at PIWI International Challenge 2022 for their Solaris ”Elsa” – one of ten wines awarded Top Gold.
Medals are almost becoming commonplace for Fredholms Vingård in Sweden.
– It is the first time that we are submitting wine to a competition solely for PIWI. Previously we’ve wanted to compare ourselves to other wines, says Pär Fredholm at Fredholms Vingård.
The wine „Elsa“, a 100% Solaris that was first released in 2017, has previously been awarded four great golds, five golds and one silver at competitions in Spain, Germany and France. The wine has a couple of days of maceration with one third in French oak barrels before final aging for seven months in steel tanks.
– Internationally, „Elsa“ has always received over 90 points. It’s amazing that it can performs so well everywhere, all the time. Why? I think that part lies in the minerality, the saltiness and the high pH – the acid never becomes aggressive, says Pär Fredholm.
Fredholms Vingård is located, like most wineries in Sweden, in Skåne in the very south. The couple Jenny and Pär Fredholm started in typical Swedish manner on a small scale with red grapes. 25 Rondo cuttings were planted in 2002. Pär Fredholm shakes his head:
– Rondo is not our favorite grape, but at the time everyone here wanted to make red wine. However, it didn’t take long before people realized that the wine from Rondo was not that good, but that white was better suited.
However, he is much more fond of Siramé, which he hopes will get more attention in Sweden.
– It’s a fantastic grape that rarely gets sick. It’s a shame it isn’t more popular. We use it in our rosé together with Rondo, where the latter works better.
Fixed focus is Solaris. The first cuttings were planted in 2008, but it is only from vintage 2017 – the premiere vintage of the prize-winning wine „Elsa“ – that they think they have gotten to know the grape and know how to treat it.
– We prune hard for low yield, around 0.8–1 kilo per log. In the winery, we let the grape skins macerate for a couple of days before fermentation, partly to raise the pH value. Acid is indeed the backbone of all wines, but it can also be the winemaker’s worst enemy.
The 2022 harvest has just finished, and Pär and Jenny Fredholm are satisfied with the vintage, which, however, got off to a tentative start with a cold spring and early summer.
– Then came the heat – but no rain, so some here had problems with stress in their vines. Ours could handle it, so we got a normal maturity and about 13 degrees alcohol, says Pär Fredholm.
Though, he emphasizes the importance of not only looking at Oechsle. You have to look at the whole, not least the phenolic maturity.
To return to „Elsa“ and the structure behind the success. The typical saltiness and minerality – call it energy – which only seems to become more and more prominent, Pär Fredholm finds the answer in the soil. The vineyard has volcanic soil and is located near an old lime quarry.
– Now the roots are starting to dig deep and can reflect the terroir.
And why the name Elsa? After their beloved black labrador of course, always present in the vineyard to contribute positive energy to vines as well as followers on social media.