2021 German Vintage Report - Whats old is new...(UPDATED FOR VOM BODEN TOUR HIGHLIGHTS)

You can’t really compare 1996 or even 2010 to 2021 vintage in sense that in addition of very top estates Germany has whole different / new generation of growers & wine makers who does know what they are doing. The overall quality of smaller estates esp. in kabinetts has never been this good and IMO vintage in the label is not as crucial & congruent than estate name is. I have tasted / drank a couple of hundreds '21 rieslings at this point and the overall quality is indeed really good but maybe not just as consistent as a couple of previous ones were. Is it better than 2020, 2019 or 2017 (yep it’s def better than 2018 and in most parts 2016) & worth of all hype and will the wines age good? I have no idea but you surely are missing a lot of good wines if you just decide to skip the vintage for some written acidity specs. Also If y’all actually drink riesling regulary why don’t just buy a mixed case of 2021 kabinetts, spätleses or even estate trockens from different parts of M-S-R and actually drink the stuff to make your own picture of the vintage :kissing_heart:.

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Who said I was skipping it?

I have about 12 cases of 2021s on order. That’s how I hedge my bets.

The “oh my gosh this is the best” hype that now gets put on repeat year after year is wearisome.


Sorry I read between the lines that you were not gonna buy some over acidic unbalanced plonk :melting_face: . But as for the hype 2021 really might be one of the best kabinett vintage in recent years or it’s at least the most classic one in a long time or do you remember when was the last time that you could make completely ripe & elegant kabinett with under 50g sugars and 7% alc? IMO It was not possible in 2010 or 2013. But In same time first impressions from this week VDP GG-premiere sounds like the hype seems to stop to higher end dry wines of the vintage which has been my own assumption too.

My buying in quantity goes back to 1995, and buying overall back to 1989 (and I have tasted widely back to 1953), so yes I remember those types of wines.

I’ve dabbled only a little so far in purchases (Falkenstein, Lauer, Willi Schaefer, Emrich-Schonleber mostly) but want to try the wines before going deeper or considering other producers I periodically purchase. Haven’t tasted any 2021s yet. I’m a bit disappointed that JJ Prüm pricing has continued to go up at the estate level, I’m passing on their wines for now until I see other TNs and reviews comment on them.

I think separating those two concepts is essential to understanding the point some of us are making.

As you say, 2021 may be the most classic vintage in a long time. But that might be at odds with it being one of the best Kabinett vintage in recent years, because classic vintages were not about Kabinett. They were about the food-friendly Spätleses which Terry Thiese keeps lamenting have all but disappeared in the several vintages, and they were about going up the Pradikat scale. Hans-Peter’s evocation of the Song of the Mosel being about full Spätleses and starred Ausleses, not about Kabinetts, is illustrative.

As Daniele aptly points out Kabinetts were the sweet spots of the 2019 vintage precisely because they were basically declassified Spätleses. It is incongruous, not to say confusing, to then turn around and say that 2021 is a Kabinett vintage using as evidence that it’s cooler and not like 2019.

Most of us will be buying without tasting first. That’s just the way the world works. We are not importers or retailers and we do not work with or for them. So I think people buying Kabinetts would do well to look at Oeschle numbers.

Let’s do an example of a vineyard that mostly wasn’t hit by Peronospora this year because it’s cooler.
MFR Elisenberg Kabinett: 2019 (84° Oechsle – 53 g/L RS) – 2021 (74° Oechsle – 48 g/L RS)

I bought both. The 2019 is outstanding. I have yet to taste the 2021. But I am certain from the chemistry that they must be noticeably different wines.

Let’s look at MFR Elisenberg Spätlese: 2019 (93° Oechsle – 86 g/L RS) – 2021 (83° Oechsle – 70 g/L RS).

I own all of these wines. But I bought more Kabinetts in 2019 and more Spätleses in 2021.

And sure the 2021 Spätlese has a third more RS than the 2019 Kabinett. But the 2021 acids are more than a third higher than 2019’s. Thankfully, those are helped along by the 2021’s high potassium buffering and phenolic ripeness. And so, for those who really liked 2019 Kabinett, the 2021 sweet spot is in Spätlese.

Others may have different tastes. That’s ok.


You snooze, you lose (or win depending how the vintage shakes out).

I’ve admittedly only had 1 2021 ( MFR Elisenberg Spätlese), but the biggest difference I noticed between this and the pretty much all of the 2019s I tasted, besides the outstanding acidity, is thay every 2019 I recall tasting had “baby fat”, while this 2021 was already nicely intrigated with great tension right out of the bottle, to my palate at least. Also, while I love the tension between fruit + RS and acidity, I wouldn’t consider myself an acid head (and tend to prefer the higher Pradikats).


Mods, please add TTTC to the official WB acronym thread. TYVM.

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After a friend who is following along with this thread and I had an off Board exchange that helped me crystalize my thoughts, I think it is time to take a step back…

Personally I use a mosaic of information to make buying decisions this includes vintage reports from people ITB like Stephen (Vom Boden), Lyle (Fass), Gabe (Skurnik), Robert (Down to Earth/Liquid). I know all of them and trust them. I do also know they have to sell wine every vintage. But lets be honest we are talking about German wine, you don’t dedicate your life to German wine if you are not extremely passionate about it and not to make a fortune.

Next I talk to a lot of winemakers throughout the year. In 2021, I spent two weeks before harvest in Germany, went back again in December and went back again to taste broadly over 10 days in July 2022. And throughout the year I talk to winemakers including the winemaker who made my three wines regularly. I can’t tell you how valuable this is. Don’t think for a second in private they don’t bash certain wines and/or producers. And if you really want the real scoop ask them what they bought for their personal cellars.

Then I do read almost all of the German critics and talk to some of them privately. I have come to know their palates which really helps.

Next I value lots of early reviews from passionate and experienced tasters like Martin Zwick, Miran, Rodrigo, Jayson, David and many others who do not participate here.

Then and most importantly I taste and what I am looking for is what is unique about a vintage from a collecting standpoint. I buy about 20 producers regularly every year and this does not change year in and year out. This is the essence of curating a collection. For example I liked the Spatlese I tried very much but I did not find them as unique as the Kabinetts. I bought much more Egon Muller Spatlese than I usually do because they are stunning. The Kabinetts are so unique that I am concerned I will never have the opportunity to get a style that fits my personal palate and that is why I am buying 10x more than usual.

And in Germany I think this is critical given how many wines each Domain makes.

Germany does not really have bad vintages and I honestly can’t recall hating any German wine that I have purchased over the last 10 years. I have regretted many, many times not going deeper on a style, a producer or a specific wine.

With all of this said that is why I thought that my personal observations and conclusions were worth sharing. And this type of information is why I participate on wine board. I just don’t understand why some people take the negative side and are so argumentative and distrustful.

Tell me about a producer you love, a new discovery, a recent great wine…your actual observations on tasting a vintage…put some passion in it and leave out the negativity.


As much as I enjoy reading about the vintage from people who have yet to try a single wine I thought I’d post Claude Kolm’s impressions of the dry wines, despite the fact that he’s actually tasted them.


Have you seen how many bottles I already have?

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Thanks for posting that.

I like how Claude says how he hates how often people say “stunning”, and then says that the 2021 wines are stunning…
Stephan Reinhardt published several estate reviews yesterday.

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This is sort of essential, as in all areas of wine interest, you can’t buy everything. Once you find the producers in your sweet spot, and also I think keep an open mind about adding or removing from that group as the world evolves, each vintage is just variations on a theme. More of this and less of that this each vintage to adapt to the fact none of this is cookie cutter. That’s where I see all the info you gather and process, Robert, as coming into play for your role as drinker/collector, as opposed to your commercial interests. More info is better. And it’s pretty easy as an experienced consumer to cut through the marketing noise so no need to harp on the fact it exists, which is just the nature of selling. It’s not morally outrageous that people hype, and we tend to know and filter the overhypers, taking them with a grain of salt. So at the end of the day, serious buyers assemble and use whatever valuable info is available.

If you are by contrast a newbie, you HAVE to dive in, pop bottles, and figure out whose wines you like. It is not an armchair exercise.

Looking at RS is not enough. You have to at least have pH and/or TA and also alcohol too to try to use the numbers to try to discern anything on paper.

And extract is critical. I can only get a sense for this by tasting.

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Gotta live up to the rieslinghoarder nickname :grin:

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I don’t know a good way to quantify extract. Chemists?

But I agree 100 percent. It’s very difficult either to describe or quantify textural palate distinctions / mouthfeel between different producers or within a single cellar, esp since everyone perceives these differently. It’s why tasting is so important.

One of the posts I linked, and its subsequent thread, discuss acidity and “dry extract” and its buffering effect at length. We also discussed them earlier in this thread.

That’s why I said that: