Hi folks, I'm back from Germany... tasting the wonderful 2009 vintage.
The 2009 vintage was pretty fun to taste - very expressive at this early stage... more "ready-to-drink" at this early point than the 2008s were last year this time.
2009 in Germany differs from 2008 - 2008 was a high acid vintage, while 2009, the wines are more ripe and powerful, with high must weights and good physiological ripeness. The vintage has been compared to 2005 for Germany.
Those who liked Germany's 2005 and 2007 vintages will like the 2009s a lot. There's good balance in a wines, plus good stuffing in the middle. Both dry and fruity wines are good, with lots of healthy (non-botrytised) grapes harvested through a dry harvest season.
My favorite collections this year were:
Zilliken - for outstandingly bright and focused Saar Rieslings
Schafer-Frohlich - for spontaneous yeast-fermented laser-beam precision Nahe Rieslings
Von Hovel - for simply delicious and juicy and minerally Saar Rieslings
Dr. F. Weins-Prum - for classic middle Mosel Rieslings
Schloss Lieser - for terroir-driven spontaneous-yeast fermented Mosel Rieslings
Friedrich Becker - for outstanding Pinot Noir from the Pfalz that gets better ever year
Joh. Jos. Prum - the 2009s were incredibly easy to taste, given that these wines usually take a lot of time to come out - all spontaneous yeast-fermented
But truly, all the estates we visited had terrific wines from the 2009 collection - there wasn't a bad one in the bunch, just differences in style..
New this year: it seems a lot of estates are moving to the three tiered classification for their wines: First group is their Estate Riesling, or Gutsriesling; Second tier is the Village wines (like French village wines); and the Highest tier is the Grosses Gewachs or Grand Cru or First Growth level.
So for instance, Zilliken makes an Estate Riesling, their basic Riesling, then they make a Saarburger Riesling, made from fruit harvested in several vineyards in the Saarburg area, then finally, they make a Grosses Gewachs wine from their top vineyard, the Saarburger Rausch. Other estates are doing this also - for example, Fritz Haag will do a Fritz Haag Estate Riesling, a Brauneberg Riesling Kabinett, and their Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr wines will all be their Grosses Gewachs wine.