Germany 2022: Two top picks and an early look at 2023

6 June 2024

Good things to come

A year on from release and the 2022s from Germany are finding their feet, showing a more slender, light-footed impression with accessible fruit and fresh flavours.

For the most part, 2022 is a vintage to enjoy on the younger side, before 2021 and 2019, but there are moments of longer-term brilliance, such as the two wines we spotlight today. Willi Schaefer’s traditionally styled Mosel wines rarely miss a beat. Indeed, we just have a handful of cases of the Himmelreich Spatlese left and find ourselves in the unusual position of being able to offer them twice! The joint estates Battenfeld-Spanier and Kuhling-Gillot are similarly brilliant, as they turn out dry wines par excellence from the limestone and red slate soils of the Rheinhessen. Today we re-offer the 97pt Frauenberg from the limestone soils – a bewitching, mineral-laced, chalky textured Riesling that has proven to age with style.

Our Buyer Mark Dearing is in Germany this week for an in-depth look at the 2023 vintage for whites and 2022 for reds. Early reports suggest a year which oscillated between warmth and rainfall, requiring hard work in the vineyards to keep on top of things. Traditionally, Riesling succeeds in testing conditions primarily thanks to its long ripening cycle which means it has the chance to develop additional concentration, complexity and finesse, long after other varieties have been picked. We can’t wait to hear how this has played out in bottle. Regarding reds, 2022 is set to shine, as tastings from the barrel last year indicated that the trend toward even finer and more precise Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir) across Germany will be accompanied this year by a welcome kiss of sunshine and fuller fruit.

Graacher Himmelreich, Riesling, Spatlese Willi Schaefer, 2022

"Sourced in the same parcel as the legendary 1976 Auslese and picked rather early, the 2022 Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spätlese opens with a clear, precise and elegant nose of white fruits and flinty notes of coolish crushed slate. Intense and lush on the palate, this is mouth-filling and charming, very long and mineral/saline Spätlese that doesn't show exceptionally high acidity but a ripe one that is completely interwoven with the mineral/phenolic structure. This is a hedonistically juicy but weightless and finessed, stimulating and saline Spätlese from the Himmelreich, which didn't produce an Auslese in 2022. All the fully ripe and golden berries went into the Spätlese. 7.5% stated alcohol. Natural cork. Tasted at the domaine in May 2023."96pts, Stephan Rheinhardt, The Wine Advocate

Frauenberg, Riesling, Grosses Gewächs, Battenfeld-Spanier, 2022

"The intensely yellow-colored 2022 Nieder-Flörsheim Frauenberg GG is from pure, calcareous soils and opens with a deep and chalky, lemony bouquet with notes of crushed stones, blueberry bushes. Round and refined on the palate, with fine, silky tannins and a smooth, chalky texture, this is a fabulous Frauenberg whose finish is still astringent and not singing but the potential is superb. It's a generous and substantial wine that should be drunk years from now. It will be released in spring of next year. 12.5% stated alcohol. Natural cork. Tasted at the domaine in July 2023."97pts, Stephan Rheinhardt, The Wine Advocate.

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