On Sunday I was lucky to attend the VDP Weinbörse in Mainz, a wine fair, where many of Germany’s top winemakers presented their collections of the 2007 vintage.
And for those who didn’t read it yet, 2007 was a blast! The summer wasn’t too hot and rather dull, but then in autumn, nice weather held on throughout the harvest season permitting the grapes to ripe out comfortably. The pros’ say that this situation where the grapes have a lot of time to ripen is much better than a burning hot summer where the grapes ripe faster and might yield higher must-weights, but do not reach the right physiological ripeness due to water stress of the vines.
But are there also any flaws in 2007? I couldn’t find any. The only difficulty in this vintage is to find wines which stood out among all those delicacies. It’s much easier to detect the better wines in bad vintages, and I guess for a lot of winemakers less good vintages bear a bigger opportunity to distinguish oneself through intense work in the vineyards and talent in the cellar. So 2007 might be the year of the lucky wine buyer with sufficient quantities and excellent overall quality.
It is the least to say that those are some good auguries for visiting a vintage presentation. So I strolled through the fair, knowing that I only had time to try a few of these allegedly fantastic wines, and thus I visited the stands of some familiar winemakers and of some others I heard much about.
And I can only confirm, the big picture is certainly fantastic in Germany for 2007, and even at a smaller scale you can barely find disappointments. So rather than giving a detailed review (which I couldn’t do since I didn’t try enough of the wines) I decided to post some of my impressions, things I personally found noticeable.
First, while strolling through the Rheingau booths, I was really impressed with Künstlers’ 2007 vintage. Künstler creates a style of Riesling that only he can make, so mineral and fruity, and yet slim and elegant. And this vintage we really have a Künstler in perfection for me. All the wines have an incredible elegance while being so rich in minerals and texture. Wow!
Secondly I was thrilled to try the amazing Robert Weil TBA, with dazzling golden color, rich oily texture and feeling like an explosion of caramel and exotic fruits on your palate. The length is incredible and holds for minutes… The other wines of Robert Weil, I also found outstanding by the way.
Now that I mentioned Weil’s TBA, I also have to mention Schloss Johannisbergs’ which is a little lighter, but still of unbeatable intensity with caramel all over.
The wines of Josef Leitz came a little less on the fruit but instead were loaded with minerals and spiciness as usual. Some were a little more slender with finesse, some heavier with loads of power – all of them had nice mineral substance. The Berg Kaisersteinfels Alte Reben showed some wonderful creaminess on the palate as did also the Berg Rottland. I was even lucky to sneak a peek of the famous Goldkapsel: what a monument of power and minerality!
In the Pfalz, Christmann also showed up with an outstanding Riesling collection. What impressed me a lot there was the very good quality of the entry Riesling, so full rich and balanced, just yummy. Furthermore, the very luscious Königsbach “SC” might be a promising indication for the yet to come Idig GG.
Staying in the Pfalz, Knipsers’ Sauvignon Blanc, which has already been acclaimed by the press also received my blessings ;=). It’s a very clean wine with clear fruit, refreshing and 100% cat pee free. Of course, at Knipser estate one cannot overleap his reds, even if they had nothing to do with 2007, the youngest poured being a 2004. They’re convincing as usual, marrying finesse and power, but still very young with sharp tannins.
So back to the whites of 2007. I was running out of time and went on to Rheinhessen, but only tried very few wines there and missed out plenty of top producers. At Kühling Gillots’ booth I spotted one very interested Michel Bettane – I bet he also liked the Qvinterra Riesling, which has a vibrant texture, a certain spiciness and is all in all a luscious wine. At Heyl zu Herrnsheims’ the Rothschiefer was an equally good wine.
So that was it. The day just passed by too quickly and in the end just too many wines remained untasted. I missed out on entire regions like Saar, Baden, Nahe and only had a few tries of Mosel, Rheinhessen and Franken. But in the end the conviction that 2007 is a fantastic vintage is built up and pretty much cemented and hopefully there will be many more tastings over the next few months and years.