Germany’s signature grape Riesling (pronounced Reece-ling) is the greatest white-wine grape in the world. And is so twenty-first century in so many respects. The wines it produces particularly precisely express where they were grown (like Pinot Noir). They last and continue to evolve interestingly forever (at least as long as Cabernet Sauvignon). They are generally particularly refreshing and relatively low in alcohol. And they go superbly – generally better than white burgundy and other Chardonnays – with food. Nowadays most Riesling is dry, not sweet. And German dry Riesling is one of the wine world’s undervalued treasures.
Germany’s 2019 vintage is exceptionally good – especially but not only in the Mosel and Nahe. Major beneficiaries of climate change, German vintners no longer have to disguise underripe grapes with added sugar. Vines that used to struggle to ripen their grapes now bask in sunshine so unremitting that sunburnt grapes have even become a serious problem in some German vineyards.
While trying hard not to criticise their 2018s, most German vintners are clearly thrilled with their 2019s, which have higher acidity and are distinctly more refreshing. According to Dr Katharina Prüm, who has been taking over the famous family J J Prüm estate in Wehlen from her father Manfred, ‘2019 is really a great vintage. We have no complaints in any respect.’
The characteristic of the 2019s is that, despite their appetising acid levels, so many of them are already a delight to drink. The wines of J J Prüm were traditionally released late and connoisseurs knew to give them years in bottle before broaching them, but the 2019s are already gorgeous. It’s no surprise then that the first thing [Katharina] Prüm said about the vintage was that it was one ‘to be enjoyed at many stages – even from us’.
For a full read of Janic Robinson’s article, please visit: 2019. Germany’s breakthrough vintage