The 2013 vintage will have given more than a few grey hairs to Germany’s winemaking fraternity. Be that as it may, there are many very good wines in this vintage. Indeed there are some that rank as truly excellent.
After a cool, damp start to the year, a protracted flowering started later and lasted longer than usual. In many places it was still going on right up to the end of June. This laid the (rather unstable) foundations for the vintage, producing uneven clusters of grapes that were going to require ripening well into late October. July and August provided a crucial fillip being hot and relatively dry, but come September cooler weather had returned, notably during the nights. By late September acidity levels were high, ripeness seemed a long way off, and neither situation looked like changing any time soon.
Early October started off warm but wet. The conditions were perfect for the spread rot, which would have been fine if ripeness had already been a fait accompli. But as it was, the run up to harvest had growers on the edge of their seats as ripeness, acidity, and botrytis (the last bringing with it a rapidly decreasing yield) converged upon a sweet spot with lightning speed. Growers saw their yields dropping daily and as a result most estates are 20%-50% down on their average crop – the quantities we have to offer sadly reflect this.
So how will it go down in history? One thing that is clear that this is a vintage for Riesling lovers. The wines themselves major on three points’ high ripe acidity, intense extract and highly complex minerality. They are savoury, bright and focussed, rooted in the earth and in many cases destined for the long haul. From recent vintages there are elements from 2004 and 2008, some 2010 and maybe a touch of 2012 too. It will appeal to people who enjoy wines with mineral, cool fruit characters, and those that love Riesling’s transparency, for amongst all these factors, including the presence of much botrytis, the specific qualities of site are particularly well articulated. It should appeal to lovers of the Grosses Gewachs, built as they are in the mould of the 2004s, or 2008s, with alcohol levels perhaps a degree lower than 2011 and half a degree lower than 2012, and highly complex mineral flavour profiles. And it will appeal to those who are interested in buying focussed, filigree and classically styled ‘pradikat’ wines with strong mineral personalities, very clear fruit, high ripe acid levels and the core density to last an extremely long time in the cellar.
For a more detailed synopsis of the vintage please visit www.justerinis.blogspot.com
Justerini & Brooks German Buyer
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