2010 Germans Have Arrived...

10/18/11 -

(Piesporter Goldtroepfchen just above the village, Grafenberg just past the bend in the river)

...and we couldn't be happier. The vintage is turning into a controversial one, mostly because the high levels of acid were unprecedented in conjunction with abnormally high must weights. That's no problem for us, though; just take a look at the wines we love more than any others: the Loire, Piemonte, Beaujolais etc. We're not afraid of wines with a little cut. Sadly, many of this year's German wines were de-acidified in an unattractive way. Others were picked at the wrong time and are completely out of balance. As would be expected, we had to be very careful selecting wines in this vintage, as it seemed rife with land mines. Now fall has arrived along with the wines, and we're finally getting the chance to sit with them over the course of a meal, an evening, even over the course of a few days, and we're thrilled with what we're seeing. Generally speaking, the wines have opulence and broadness paired with riveting acidity that focuses the flavors and results in exceptionally long finishes. The sweeter-styled wines are going to be quite long-lived, and fans of German Riesling should take advantage of the vintage for either pleasurable current drinking or for long-haul aging. Many of the sweeter-styled wines are still rather tightly coiled at this point and greatly benefit from exposure to air, so a bit of time in the decanter is recommended.

There's only one catch, though: the crop was quite small, in some cases up to 50% lower than normal. As a result, prices have ticked up a bit from last year. This is a little easier to take when you consider how much each wine over-delivers for its pradikat (Kabinett that acts like Spatlese, and so on). The producers and we have also decided to soften the blow by offering well-priced back vintage selections, so you can still get the kinds of Rieslings you're used to if the Brave New World of 2010s doesn't appeal to you. -jfr

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