Saturday, February 7, 2009

Update from Germany

I'm still in Germany here, and this particular hotel in the Mosel has a computer with internet access, which is very nice. The keyboard is not as difficult to manage as those in France, with their major differences compared to the ones back home. The German keyboards mainly differ in their placements of the letters z and y, and a few other ones.

It is Saturday night here and we have had an intense week of tasting, beginning on Monday, as soon as the plane landed. We hit Furst in the western part of Franken, then drove to the eastern part of Franken to Wirsching. After that it was bang bang bang all the way through Baden, Pfalz, Nahe, and then the Mosel. Today was in the Mosel's side rivers of the Saar and Ruwer. We tasted a lot of wines, the majority of which are the 2008 tank samples (most are unfiltered and look like Wittekerke beer or hefeweissen) and the rest of which are 2007s and some cool older wines. For example, today at Karthauserhof we tasted some 1969 and 1971 vintages, which were pretty awesome.

So far, our view of the 2008 vintage is that it is a classic vintage, harking back to the old school before vintages 2005, 2006, and 2007 gave incredibly ripe wines that made everyone fear that Kabinetts will no longer be possible out of Germany's vineyards. 2008 is in some ways like 2004. Great acidity, especially for those who love high acid wines. Lots of Kabinett and Spatlese, while very little high pradikat wines, which perfectly matches the state of the economy since lower pradikats sell at lower prices and this is good for everyone right now.

In sum, the 2007s will still show like rock stars, with their incredibly long hang times and clean, clear fruit, but those who crave more acid in their German Rieslings will appreciate 2008 for its classic acid profile and its lighter, leaner structure. There is still great ripeness in these wines, just not the level seen in the past 3 vintages. Which is a bit of a relief for many.

As for my favorite estates, they are:

Becker - for their Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc wines - easy to like

Fritz Haag - for the best Mosel Riesling for my taste

Karthauserhof - for wines with such a unique profile, such delicacy and grace, and the ability to age for decades

So far, that is it for wine. We have been having wonderful German food, especially homemade soups at the various wineries. We had soup at Furst, Pfeffingen, Zilliken, and Schloss Lieser. Soup makes a great lunch in the middle of winter.

The other notable thing for me on this trip is how the wineries are all getting remodels that are so fabulous. The modern fixtures are fantastic, and I have taken many photos of these. I love the clean lines, and the mixed use of glass, wood, brush metal and slate. Many decorating ideas here. And of course, all these are a great contrast to the old cellars.

I will post some pictures upon my return.


Samantha Dugan said...

Hooray! Nice to hear from you darlin' and sounds like 2008 is going to be right up my alley! Can't wait to taste those.

Lyle Fass said...

Great update. Can't wait to see pics. Tell the Kaiser I say hello.

Nancy Deprez said...

Thanks guys!

Lyle, Rudi is in NYC Friday - maybe you'll see him!