Welcome to our 2021 Germany en primeur offer – the GG’s will be added next week.
‘…There have not been comparably radiant, electrifying Rieslings for years, maybe decades… But my first samples on the Nahe and Mosel showed that the 2021 Rieslings in particular are wines for two, three or even more generations!...’ – Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate (Aug 2022)
‘Electric, thrilling, captivating: 2021 played to the strengths of growers with a reputation for a nimble and playful style. In a real sense, it was a welcome return to normal, giving growers, especially those on the Mosel, the chance to do what they do best: vibrant wines of balance and beauty, with no need to shepherd or fight ripeness and alcohol levels.’ – jancisrobinson.com (Sep 2022)I was on the ground for a few days in May to taste through the vintage, meet the growers and generally get an overview of what was going on. I tasted everything that I will be offering with the exception of Fritz Haag, as Oliver tested positive for COVID the day before my visit.
Overall, this is a return to the cooler vintage style of the 1980s, but with 20 years better winemaking and knowledge. Conditions were challenging (rain, more rain, mildew, floods, and generally cool weather), and what the best growers have been able to produce is astonishingly good. Instead of the ‘new normal’ – trying to slow down ripeness to keep aromas & acidity, this year was the polar opposite – a later harvest, much more focus on getting the fruit ripe, and green harvesting to reduce the yield and increase ripeness in the remaining bunches.
The harvest was saved by September & October with fine, steady weather and only small amounts of rain – which meant, incredibly, perfectly ripe grapes, although not really very many of them! Dry wines have excelled, as have the Kabinett & Spatlese styles, but there is almost no Auslese – just a few warmer parcels achieved botrytis. Some growers told me they had produced only 100L of Auslese. Yields are down across the board, and I struggled to get decent volumes of a number of wines.
This was my first visit to Germany in years, and especially to the Mosel – and a few things really stood out for me:
● A number of the vineyards are absurdly steep. 60% gradients are not uncommon. I mountaineered down the Niederberg Helden vineyard (70% in places), nearly falling over several times, and then almost collapsed after climbing back up. These are not easy vineyards to work!
● The soil – well if you want to call it that – largely consists of big rocks, some medium rocks, little rocks, and tiny crushed up rocks. Basically, it’s just stone in varying sizes – which means the vines have to work very hard to get nutrients and minerals – which is reflected in the wines.
● The difference between sites is very clear. The tasting I did at Schafer-Frohlich in particular was a masterclass in terroir & site differential.
● What these growers have produced is really extremely good this year. Dry extract is high, and the best wines have definition, density, with cool juicy fruit, vibrant lemony acidity and a real mineral quality. I adored a lot of these wines, and they are very different from 2018, 2019 & 2020.
Bearing all the above in mind, the prices charged not only for the quality, but the effort that goes into them, are mind-bogglingly low. I cannot recommend these enough, and have purchased a considerable amount for my own cellar, Kabinett in particular. In several cases, the wine was so delicious I was extremely tempted to drink the sample (and in a few instances succumbed).
These will be shipped in early 2023.