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

The pradikat system has essentially no sway over balance of Kabinett, Spätlese, etc. it’s worth bearing in mind that the overall environment (both commercial and earthly environmental) was very different than what we see in 2021. Additionally there was not so much easy method of debate, though one can argue whether that’s for good or bad.

Thanks everyone for the high level of interest and passion in this thread!

As the 21s hit the shelves I continue to taste/drink them and just love this vintage.

Tasted the 21 Weiser-Künstler Ellergrub Kabinett along side the Weiser-Künstler Feinherb and my first observation is because of the combination of higher acid and and lower ripeness both taste like a category below. The Kabinett tasted closer to a Halbtrocken and the Feinherb tasted almost dry. The focused intensity to both wines is what I love most about 21.

I am thinking of doing a big 2021 tasting in NYC either this weekend or later in the month of what is currently available, if anyone is interested please let me know.

I was on the phone with a winemaker today in the Mosel and he said so far 2022 feels like 2018 and it is still early but one area of concern is the grapes although super ripe just don’t have much juice! Which is horrible for yields. BUT it is still way too early to draw any serious conclusions.


I’m travelling the first part of the month, but if you have organise it later in the month let me know.would love to attend.


What prior vintage(s) do you believe that the 2021s most resemble?

Later in the month?

Per my note elsewhere, Lauer Senior bears out the impression of less RS than normal. As Stephen then pointed out on IG, it’s at ~13 g/l TA.

An interesting observation on it tonight. Lots of tartrate crystals at fridge temp, which suggests sufficient concentration of tartaric acid to precipitate as compared to past years. I don’t find it to be an issue, just an observation.

Haven’t tried the Wei-Ku Ellergrub Kabi yet but hopefully soon.

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This has been a fun and fascinating thread for my riesling education! Sharing my own notes on ten 2021 Falkensteins I got to taste through earlier today.


First of all, I didn’t address individual, very personal palate preferences at all, so that’s a strawman that defletcs from my main point about the relation between grape maturity and generally perceived wine quality, specifically in German Riesling, specifically in the context of the Prädikatssystem.

Second, I wrote that the majority (and not, as you wrote, some people) does regard less complex wines as less explicitly because of their very nature (of being less complex, which they are). There is no tyranny of grape-maturity supremacists who oppress oh-so-nuanced Kabinett wines (the correct plural, in case someone worries) but dish out 1000 points to brutish, simple Ausleses left and right instead.

Third, you’re of course absolutely entitled to your own taste, it was never argued you weren’t, and very specifically not by me. So, if we both agree that everyone is entitled to their own preferences, why then do you(!) argue some people seem to have a “bias” against lighter, more delicate wines, when this statement clearly depricates their preferences? It’s simply a preference, not a bias (which has a negative connotation), and calling it a “misunderstanding” strikes me as even more arrogant and condescending.

I will say that trying to give points to Kabinetts vs. Spatlese vs. Auslese was the #1 thing years ago that made me stop using points for wines. Never could figure out how to do it in a way that made sense to me. Now, I just enjoy Kabinetts, Spatlesen and Auslesen and don’t worry anymore about which wines should get how many points. To me, this issue really points out most clearly the flaws in any point system.


This is another huge reason I gave up giving points to wine. Taken to its ultimate extreme, one could give a wine 100 points that nobody likes because it has more volume or whatever. For me, that wine would be something like SQN. If you like the RSV better, it should get more points. The whole in a bottle of wine should be more important than the sum of its parts.

Not that it’s particularly important, but for the sake of discussion, I generally prefer gkas to kabinetts and tend to score them higher (I like to score for my own use/study), but that doesn’t mean there aren’t times when I’d rather have a kabinett over a gka that I’d score higher. In fact, I probably drink more kabinett than gka and certainly more spatlese than anything. Since I tend to drink different pradikats in different situations, I tend to care most about a Riesling’s score/quality relative to other wines in the same pradikat.


Pretty much this, though I actually think I like all the pradikat equally (except TBA which has too much botrytis for me).

I would drink a ton more Auslese if I ate fiery food every night. I don’t.


I wasn’t claiming my preferences were more valid than others. Not by a long shot. What I took issue with was your claim that the perceived wine quality via the pradikat system constitutes canon for what is better or worse.

I used the word ‘bias’ to mean and describe the overall tendency to score/prefer wines along the pradikat scale, which I think is something you agree happens. If you or anyone else took my comments to be an invalidation of any personal preferences, I apologise. Likewise if you, or others, took issue with my use of the word ‘bias’ as a descriptor; feel free to replace it with ‘tendency.’



I don’t know how old Hans-Peter is, but there was a time, not so very long ago, when Spätlese ripeness was considered excellent, and being able to get solid Auslese was prized. The prädikat system was essentially canon. Now when hitting the marks is pretty much a given each and every year that system is nothing more than a style indicator.

FWIW some of the 2001 Kabinetts hit the Auslese mark, and nobody complained too loudly at the time. Stylistic preferences have shifted on the wine web, and now a Kabinett picked at 85 degrees Oeschle gets sneered at for being declassified Spätlese.

It’s a strange world we live in.

Not casting any aspersions on individuals or their preferences, but rather thinking about longer term context.


I have had Kabinetts that I have found to be wonderful and others that I have thought were just ok (and virtually at every other point in the quality spectrum).
I have had Auslesen that I have found to be wonderful hand others that I have thought were just ok (and virtually at every other point in the quality spectrum).
I had found that I like Kabinetts from great producers more than Auslesen from ok producers.
I have found that I like Auslesen from great producers more than I like Kabinetts from ok producers.


All good points for sure.

Changes in both climate and consumer preferences have changed the styles of wines produced now. Makes perfect sense to me how in the past, when grapes struggled to consistently ripen, the perception of quality and how higher pradikats were highly correlated.

Kabinett to me is more about the fruit profile and acid structure than an actual oeschle number. Some kabinetten may ‘feel’ like a spatlese and have all of it’s tech sheet info line up with kabinetten. Likewise the tech sheet numbers may point to a wine feeling like a spatlese, but when tasted it feels like a proper kabinett. All the technical numbers can give one a sense of what to expect, but it’s far from the whole picture. Prum is probably one of the more vehement producers about this mentality. Famously not publishing RS, and TA numbers for their wines, and opting to have people focus on the wine itself rather than the tech sheet numbers. At the end of the day, one just needs to tastes the wines. If you like it, that’s all the matters.

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Having ignited this discussion on points, I should state where I stand now that many have replied.

Part 1 - On German Riesling points in general

I agree. This is what I thought points were meant to be most useful for too, comparing in the same pradikat among all producers in the vintage. A little bit like an NV Champagne score is best against another NV Champagne and not against a Vintage Champagne.

But, if I expect it to work that way, I’m told that:

All of this because she agrees with David that…

So, it turns out we can’t expect to compare producers, only wines within the same pradikat level and only inside the range of one producer who has produced more than one in the vintage.

If one were to posit the Hercules of Kabinett. A producer who makes only one Kabinett and no other wines every vintage. But Hercules’s is the perfect Kabinett. Such a thing would turn out to be indescribable by the points system that some here believe in, because there would be nothing left to compare it to.

I’m sorry, but that renders the entire exercise meaningless. The reason for points is to compare all the wines in a vintage (especially those made in the same style), and maybe even across vintages.

EDIT, after reading Rodrigo’s last post, to add that I do want the technical numbers, and not having them is one of the reasons I don’t buy Prum.

Part 2 - On Kabinett points in particular

While I’ve been generally in agreement with @Hans-Peter_Eisele in this thread, I’m sorry I must disagree on the matter of the reason for, and usefulness of, the score cap around 95 that Kabinett wines tend to face, what @Rodrigo_B describes as “overall tendency to score/prefer wines along the pradikat scale.” That cap simply cannot be merely attributed to quality.

If it were merely a matter of canonical balance, then there could never be a 100-point Kabinett. And yet, there has been at least one, the 1989 Georg Breuer Rüdesheimer Berg Schloßberg Riesling Kabinett Charta, a dry Kabinett which MFW scored 100 pts. in 2020.

And so, yes, I may have been unbalanced in saying that MFW has a bias in favor of stickies, since trocken wines can also get top scores. But the truth is that Kabinett wines with residual sugar face the score cap for reasons that cannot simply be about the positive attributes of a riper grapes.

I strongly agree with Howard that:

And I think Hans-Peter has at least considered that by saying that…

And so, in short (yeah yeah too late I know), I think we should argue away the pradikat canon (which I will not call balance) when it comes to points, in favor of a points system that evaluates quality wines on their own terms. That, I believe, would be most useful to consumers.

Somehow I think folks have it backwards. It’s not “ooh Spätlese…higher points.” It’s “ohh more delicious wine that happens to be Spätlese…higher points.”

If you like the Kabinett more than feel free to rate it higher.

Or just skip/ignore the stupid points.

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BTW, if the critics do start rating the Kabinetts higher the very next topic will complain about that and how it has become harder to find/buy the wines because of the stupid people who buy on points.


100%. Trust you palate and drink what you like.

My two comments you cite were not directly related. One was an explanation of why the lower scores on GGs this vintage are not concerning to me. The other was my reaction to what I perceived as your desire for all the scores to make sense in relation to each other. My comment about it being impossible to make all the scores make sense isn’t “because” I feel that scores within a producer’s line-up are especially useful. Those things are not more than tangentially related.

And I certainly never said that scores can’t be used for comparing producers or vintages, nor do I think that is the logical conclusion from either one of my comments. I said only that scores are MORE useful for me in making decisions within the line-up. Like most people, I notice and am influenced by scores in many different ways - across producers and vintages - I just don’t find it confusing or bothersome when some seemingly contradictory things crop up, like those you flagged. I’m comfortable with an impressionistic element, which I feel is unavoidable.