Vintages in German Riesling

Dirk Richter of Max Ferd Richter Mosel

We recently opened a selection of wines from several vintages and producers who we represent. The tasting reinforced the value of knowing your vintages and understanding how the wines are evolving. Just as drinking grand cru Burgundy or Cru Classe Bordeaux it is equally important for top tier German Riesling.

2013 – very fine high acid year

A chilly spring, decent mild summer and wet September and October and therefore a cool year with higher acidity, particularly tartaric acid. 2010 was also high in acidity but was more problematic than 2013. Yields were low and overall quality is considered to be very fair.

Wagner Stempel Riesling Hollberg Grosses Gewachs 2013 high acidity softens out, ripe peach and spice flavours (5.5g/l RS, 8.5g/l TA).

Wagner Stempel Riesling Heerkretz Grosses Gewachs 2013 shy reserved nose, lime and mineral (5.2g/l RS, 8.6g/l TA).

2012 – more concentrated than 2013, dry Riesling and Spatburgunder very successful

While the summer was cool and a little wet, autumn was very dry. High quality spatburgunder and excellent dry Rieslings. Low botrytis influence means there are less of the sweeter styles.

Emrich Schonleber Furhlingsplatzen 2012 meaning spring place a vineyard that catches the morning sun, highly aromatic, lime and herbal, saffron flavours, refreshing almost sharp dry acidity, great elegance but too young, wait 6 months to a year.

Emrich Schonleber Halenberg 2012 a vineyard that catches the afternoon sun, more ready to drink, generous palate, spice, floral but predominately it is the lime character that really shines out.

2011 – no difficulty with ripeness though acidity levels were lower

A really ripe year, acidity less than usual, successful at all quality levels from dry Riesling to Spatburgunder to the fully sweet styles.

Emrich Schonleber Monzinger Riesling Trocken 2011 Precision sums it up, mineral, fresh mango, very pure with very fine balance.

2010 – high acidity

Low sunshine and high levels of rain during the season resulted in wines with high levels of malic acidity which needed skilful handling. A year noted for acidity. We have limited stocks of Wagner Stempel Grosses Gewachs 2010.

2009 – considered to be a great vintage

Ripe, concentrated and powerful wines from a dry warm and reliable season. Drinking young.

Max Ferd Richter Veldenzer Elisenberg Riesling Spatlese 2009 Broader palate with obvious fruit concentration and weight, some fusil notes with stone fruit, anise, herbal. (61g/l RS).

Breuer Berg Roseneck 2009 Smoky, lime, stone fruit, steely, powerful and very persistent length.

Breuer Berg Schlossberg 2009 Great aromatic intensity, smoke, fusil, stone fruit, savoury.

2008 – nervy acidity

Late ripening and cool autumn meant high acid levels, low levels of botrytis but some good eiswein.

Max Ferd Richter Veldenzer Elisenberg Riesling Kabinett 2008 is delicate with floral aromas and high acidity.

2007 – top quality for dry wines

An unusual vintage with an extended growing season due to early flowering but a cool summer mean that the wines have ripeness, attractive aromatics and fine nervy acidity. No 2007 wines currently in stock.

2005 – exceptional year

Luscious fruit of 2003 with the minerality and structure of 2004. Plentiful sweet wines. The Veldenzer Elisenberg Cask 77 Auslese is a very good example.