2009 vs. 2010 German

I’ve seen quite a bit of different reports on the 2010 German vintage (Spatlese is my primary interest). How does this vintage compare with 2009? I stocked up on the '09 and am wondering if I should do the same for '10 - funds are limited and running out.


the german vintage 2010 is a tricky vintage. Look carefully! As my english is limited, I have here a great article about this topic by Stephen Bitterolf/The Crush.


I have some hot 2010 Spätlese recommendations:

2010 Weil “Gräfenberg” Spätlese
2010 Schäfer-Fröhlich “Felseneck” Spätlese
2010 Keller “Abtserde” Spätlese

Regarding MOSEL, please subscribe to the free newsletter by my friend David Rayer&Jean Fish “Mosel Fine Wines”. The new newsletter is about the 2010 vintage.



Great advice Martin with two very important links. I would add View from the cellar issue 32 to your list of helpful information. I bought carefully, but I definitely plenty of wines for 2010.

Oh yes Charlie, “View from the cellar” with the special topic German Vintage 2010 from John Gilman is a must-read.

Based on 2010s Ive tried at trade tastings I have this general opinion when it comes to the pradikat wines:

2009 - Oppulent fruit with good balance
2010 - Intense concentration and intense acidity* but not as sexy or oppulent as 2009.

For dry Riesling I dont think there is any contest. Its 2009 all the way.

  • unless the winemaker removed too much

No doubt, 2009 is fantastic, BUT I prefer cool climate vintages like 2010, 2008, 2004, 2002. I love the purity and radiating clarity of these vintages

My impressions would be that 09 offers a lot of fruit but many of the wines are fairly ripe and lack some clarity almost seaming disjointed. The 2010’s are more acid driven with a lot of minerality from better houses though the fruit concentration is not deep. I could something similar about a lot of European wines in describing those two vintages.

I have to respectfully disagree. I think there is immense fruit concentration in 2010, just not in the same way as 2009. Its not as ripe and sexy in 2010 but its there.

That’s fair. I just don’t see a lot in the wines I have tried but I wasn’t trying to say they lacked. Its good but not great IMO. I do like the character of the wines overall.

As an acid lover, I am pretty fond of the 2008s.

Hi Berry,

On paper you’d be correct about 2009 being better for dry Riesling, but the reality for me is quite different. I would guess that I’ve tasted around five hundred dry wines from 2010, and have found that when the acidity was minimally manipulated (or in some cases, left alone completely) the best wines have been nothing less than spectacular. Sure, they are more persistant, more taut, and a lot more mineral, with less charm, but I prefer that road. 2010 is Chablis to the 2009s Puligny. I’ve even liked the majority of the drier Mosel wines better than the sweeter ones (which NEVER happens.) Of course everyone will have to make up his own mind.



Your time in the Pfalz is brainwashing you. [wink.gif]

I am impressed with your acid tolerance!

This makes me all warm and fuzzy inside flirtysmile flirtysmile

Howard, would you say the '10’s have more or less fruit concentration than the '08’s? Are the '10’s or '08’s more acidic?

I was told by one Mosel producer that the sweet spot (no pun intended) in 2010 are the Auslese and above wines.

I know you are asking howard but I think in general 2010 has both more fruit concentration and more acidity than 2008. This of course can vary based on producer. (FWIW, I love 2008s)

Thanks, Berry. Sounds like 2010 could be a dream vintage for my palate. flirtysmile

Hi David,

That is likely the case. Humans are very adaptable to thier surroundings!

Hi Berry,

I have this conversation all of the time. There are quite a few German winemakers (especially in the Pfalz and Rheinhessen, but really all over) who are apprehensive about high acidity.

High acid used to be equated with ridiculous over-cropping and the wines from both weinbaugebiete were slammed and ridiculed for this. Sweetness was first used as a way to balance this acidity and cover up flaws such as botrytis and vinegar in the bunches. In fact, one of the reasons why dry wines seem to be on the upswing in Germany (an understatement) is because of the advancements made in viticulture to bring in healthier, cleaner fruit. To showcase or show-off this new commitment to quality, folks are making drier wines –wines in which flaws are harder to conceal and also thought to (perhaps incorrectly, perhaps not) provide a more transparent window to terroir.

Furthermore, many producers are concerned about their privat customers not drinking that third glass or not opening that second bottle because the wine has too much acidity (causing palate-fatigue or stomach problems.)

I can only speak for myself here, but almost everyone that I know who is even slightly ‘into wine’ takes a different approach to drinking. It is very rare that we will open a second bottle of the exact same wine when entertaining and it has never happened when it is just my wife and I. So I almost never drink more than two glasses of the same wine and more often than not, other wines besides Riesling will be involved.

Surely Berry, you too can handle 2 or 3 glasses of wine with 10-12 g/l acid. [cheers.gif]

And the dry wines are balanced. Maybe not with sweetness or abundant fruit, but with mineral, extract, and body -many of the same qualities that can be found in the more firm Alsatian wines and even in Austria. They are powerful wines to be sure - lightning bolts of flavor, but I love 'em!

And don’t worry, unless a monsoon shows up in August, we won’t have a repeat in 2011.