GERHARD EICHELMANN ABOUT 2010 VINTAGE IN GERMANY
I just received some short information from my favourite German Wine Guide writer, Gerhard Eichelmann (MONDO-HEIDELBERG). I would certainly like to share it with you.
2010 was an extremely difficult vintage in Germany. Rains starting from august caused problems of rot, often even in unripe grapes, as after a very cold and long winter and a rainy august the sugar levels were quite low. Careful selection was necessary to get sane grapes. A concentration effect brought in general a curious result: High extracts are combined with high acidity and low alcohol. The yields in general were low.
After a careful selection a crucial question was how to manage the high acidity. Especially the younger vintners never had to deal with this question, as all through the late nineties and the last decade the general acidity level has never been so high. Many vintners started the harvest at very high acidity levels, and ended the harvest with the same level, as the concentration process also concentrated the acidity. Most vintners preferred the “chemical” solution in reducing the acidity; some used malolactic fermentation, and some kept the acidity.
But: There are excellent wines! And maybe, in 20 years from now, people who taste German wines from 2010 will talk about a “vintage of the century”, because the high extracts and high acidity will keep the wines young. But one has to carefully select, even more carefully as in 2008 or 2009, which also were no easy vintages. The gap between the best producers and “average” producers is bigger than ever, and even within the best producers there are big gaps, not everyone succeeded in bottling excellent wines.
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Some comments on the major German wine regions:
2010 is an extremely uneven vintage with some but not many spectacular wines on the sweet side (from Auslese up to Trockenbeerenauslese). Very rare are excellent dry wines. There are big differences between the producers. In general there are many “sweet & sour” wines, but some vintners produced classical Mosel Riesling with excellent aging potential.
Better than expected, there are top wines on the sweet as well as on the dry side – but of course also many poor wines.
Spectacular wines from the top producers with fascinating dry Rieslings, especially from the “upper” Nahe, that show a fine minerality and length. There are also some excellent sweet wines – and also a lot of simple wines. And to mention once more: big differences between the producers.
A lot of very simple wines exist, often “technical”. Top dry wines from the best producers, some of the better producers have uneven collections.
As in Rheinhessen there are many simple wines. Within the top producers there are big differences, some have excellent collections, others more uneven.
In Franken there is a quite good general quality with fine entry level wines, but less top wines than in the vintages before.
Like in Franken there is satisfying general quality, and also quite a lot top wines.
2010 is a very uneven vintage for Baden, with many poor “technical” wines, but also quite a lot top wines. The very top producers succeed, others do not at all.
Well, great to see that the one who seaks the good wines will find them, yes, even in 2010! Thanks for this message, dear Gerhard!