Germany excited by small but magnificent vintage8th April, 2010 by Rupert Millar
News from Germany would indicate that it was not just the likes of Bordeaux that have produced a 2009 vintage to rival other top vintages of the decade.
Producers across the German fine wine producing regions including the Nahe, Rheingau, Rheinhessen and Mosel-Saar-Ruwer are proclaiming 2009 as a rival to the much lauded 2007.
What is more, quality is high from Qualitätswein to Prädikatswein levels. Ripeness and acidity were good and producers will be able to offer everything from QbA and Kabinett to Trockenbeerenauslese, albeit in small quantities.
The cold winter also had its benefits – Christian Ebert, owner of Schloss Saarstein, announced the estate’s first Eiswein since 2003.
The overall quality of the crop is something of a surprise to producers as the weather during the year was less than perfect and yields were down on previous harvests meaning availability may be a problem.
Felix Prinz zu Salm-Salm, winemaker at the Nahe estate, Schloss Wallhausen and son of Michael zu Salm-Salm, current president of the IWSC, said that the crop size was down 30% on 2008. The Pinot varieties were particularly badly hit, he told the drinks business.
Nevertheless, the vintage reports have been positive. Tilman Queins, winemaker at Weingut Liebfrauenstift in Worms, said: “We harvested healthy Riesling grapes with good must weights. The weather and the course of the harvest gave hope for a vintage with intensive aromas. The first tastings showed lively and fruit driven wines. The basis is laid for an outstanding vintage.”
Walter Bibo, estate manager at Schloss Reinhartshausen, said in his report: “All the requirements for an excellent vintage are present. Like other areas, the middle Rheingau will take advantage of the good acidity in its wines.
“Although the quantity was less than last year, we are really excited and expect a magnificent vintage.”
Salm-Salm told db: “2009 is going to be one of the best vintages in the last 10 years.”
Ebert said 2009 “was a really great vintage, especially in our region (the Saar). We could harvest grapes with oechsle levels around 100 degrees from healthy grapes, which is really unique. The acidity is still at a very good level, between 8 and 9g/l.”
Temperatures fluctuated throughout the year, but August, September and October were warm and dry and completed the maturation of a small crop that had been naturally thinned by an uneven flowering in June following a wet spring.
David Berry Green recently wrote on his blog for Berry Brothers that both Germany and Austria have produced outstanding wines from 2009 and that there were some “real jewels” to be had when they arrive in August this year.
Rupert Millar, 08.04.2010