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En Primeur

Justerini & Brooks
En Primeur Germany

Since the 1997 vintage we have seen a complete revival of Germany’s fortunes as a producer of world-class wine. Led by the aristocratic Riesling variety and a growing band of first class producers, the country finally seems to be enjoying the recognition it truly deserves.

It is a fact that, British journalists, sommeliers and trade buyers are some of Riesling’s most loyal and persistent customers, clamouring for wine from the likes of JJ Prum, Fritz Haag, Donnhoff, Keller and Carl von Schubert. This most noble of wines is not only utterly delicious, but in today's modern, fast-moving world of over consumption, these delicate Rieslings are refreshing and light, 'weighing in' at anything between 7.5% to 12.5% alcohol. Historically the British have focussed their attentions on the great pradikat wines from Kabinett to TBA, all with a little residual sugar. Nowadays, the great dry wines with the Grosses Gewachs at the pinnacle are also finding favour and provide a similarly stimulating antidote to the more recent trend of overly full-bodied, alcoholic wines.

Germany 2018

Germany’s 2018 vintage is one that will go down in the records books for several reasons. It is possibly the biggest, almost certainly the earliest, and very likely one of the driest on record – a vintage that saw almost uninterrupted sunshine from May until harvest started in mid- September. Most regions had one or two refreshing rain events during the growing season, but otherwise it was sunny, warm, and overall, exceptionally dry. There was no frost, and almost nothing lost to hail – the most notable exceptions being two of Klaus-Peter Keller’s top sites Morstein and Abts E, both of which had their production trimmed by around one third by a severe hail storm on the 1st June.

Germany 2017

2017 was a vintage that threw up its fair share of challenges across Germany’s various winemaking regions. A summer like spring caused a super early start; frost, troubled flowering, hail for the unlucky and early onset botrytis, forced a highly selective and early harvest. Despite these conditions the ingenious Riesling grape, particularly in the hands of Germany’s greatest growers, by and large fared amazingly well. There are very many wines here that will not look out of place when viewed next to their sibling vintages of ’16 and ’15 – albeit in a markedly different style. And after all, isn’t that why we buy these wines year in and year out?

Germany 2016

Following a great vintage is never easy. The abundance of quality found in 2015, from lowly estate wines to top Grosses Gewächs, is incredibly rare. Unsurprisingly it is impossible to state that 2016 can compete in the sheer breadth of its brilliance. And yet, if we narrow our field of vision, there are undoubtedly plenty of individual wines in 2016 which will happily stand shoulder to shoulder with their 2015 counterparts – and in a refreshingly different style.

Where 2015 gave us wines with huge reserves of fruit and concentrated, intense characters, 2016 is more subtle and charming, with cool fruit flavours, complex minerality and often a touch of herbal freshness. There is an exemplary purity and old fashioned refinement to the best of these 2016s which makes them an absolute delight to taste. As one grower noted, “they are more Art House than Blockbuster”. Acidities are ripe, integrated and often play in the background, making way for clearly presented, precise Riesling flavours to take centre stage. They are going to be tremendously drinkable.

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