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

I did not catch that. That certainly narrows it down. I was thinking of examples of Kabi rated higher than Spat or Spat higher than Aus, not Kabi higher than Aus/GKA/TBA, so take it as a supplementary comment rather than a disagreement with the quoted language.

1 Like

There are plenty of dry wines that are highly rated by MFW, so I don’t think it’s about a preference for RS. Nor do I think it is as Russell suggested, that fewer producers can make great kabinetten.

Rather, I feel that there tends to be a ‘bias’— or rather misunderstanding— against kabinetten, or lighter, more delicate wines in general, as a wine category. (As an aside, Trink Magazine dedicated a whole issue last year diving into kabinett trocken as a category, it’s worth a read for those who have not read them already, but I suspect many on here already have.)

When one is tasting a producer’s range range, the higher pradikat wines tend to have more ‘stuff’ to them. When you’re trying to compare the wines, it is easy to see the higher pradikat wines like Spatlesen and Auslesen, as having more stuffing to them and equating that with being better. I’d argue that’s not even a phenomenon unique to German wines; and one we see happens with some frequency across professional wine reviews. Namely, that lighter, more delicate can by some professional reviewers, be seen as less than the wines that are bigger, more structured, have more fruit, etc.

1 Like

Regardless of what wine is being discussed, I really don’t understand this comment. What’s wrong with a 94? Did you have a bet with someone? :wink:

I’m not so sure about this. The producers that really think kabi is their best wine tend to price it accordingly. Keller’s kabi is more than the entry level GGs. Julian Haart’s kabi costs more than the spats. Euchariusberg alte reben is far and away the most expensive at Hofgut.


Lol no, I just bought a lot of it thinking (and I still do) it’ll be very well received in the long term.

94 is a good score but they scored six other Kabis 95 that they say will not age as long, even as the scored a Clemens Busch auction Kabi (Fass 2127) also 94 that they say will last longer than any other Kabi (2056), even the two they scored 96 and 97. That just strikes me as odd. And the tasting notes don’t really illuminate the relevant differences.

1 Like

The description of Ludes 2021 “Monster”, in the new MFW, just makes me even more excited for it. My plan was to buy 12 bottles, but maybe i should go for 18 or 24 :grin:

I don’t think there is some score building block system where 10 year of age-ability adds 3 points but 20 adds only 5. Just seems like way more parsing than especially 1 point is worth.

BTW, how many bottles can you buy with a point?

1 Like

Good discussion of MFW and points. I’ve been reading (studying!) MFW for several years now and it is far and away the most useful comprehensive reference for German Rieslings in English. Please correct me if there’s something better!

The subject of points and scoring in general is a weighty one that I’m sure we’ve discussed on this site and others countless times. But I personally find MFW useful for the same reasons that others do. Comparisons across a single producer, between producers, between vintages help me build a framework for understanding Riesling, especially when overlain with my far more limited tasting experience. And personal preferences :slight_smile:.

I would add that MFW is hugely helpful for discovery - both of longstanding producers that I haven’t yet tried, as well as new ones that are worth a look/taste. With Prüm prices jumping so dramatically the last few years I’ve been more motivated to look for alternatives, for example.


Points are supposed to illuminate. It’s not about the points in and of themselves. And as I explained, these don’t seem illuminating but rather seem perplexing when the text of the note is taken into account. That’s all.

1 Like

A critic couldn’t possibly make a vintage’s worth of scores make sense all in context of each other. Every scored decided upon, every new wine tasted would potentially mean adjusting dozens of other scores already made. And then having to do it again. And again.

I say this as a recovering engineer: you are being way too analytical.

This resonates strongly with me. I would go a bit further to say that in youth typically palate volume is more obvious than eventual aromatic nuance. And even then, I think it fair to give some extra points for volume- that is a natural positive from a purely objective standpoint assuming a wine is not over-extracted and imbalanced.

And this is where it gets dangerous to rely on points. My long-time favorite illustration of this is DRC La Tache versus Romanee St. Vivant. Both have extraordinary aromatics and La Tache has a bit more volume. And so it is natural that La Tache should generally score higher than Romanee St. Vivant. But back when I could afford and find DRCs- I would get a 6 pack of Vivant in every vintage possible, and never more than 2-3 La Tache because I personally love Romanee St. Vivant. The language of good professional tasting notes will tell you why, but the points never will.

I think it is also important to remember the incredible forces at work when tasting an entire range of wines side by side. Most of us have a given wine in a vacuum- alone or with other different wines. But when you are tasting from Kabinett to TBA side by side from a single producer in a single vintage, that direct comparison has a profound impact and even minor variances in apparent volume can have a great influence when assigning point scores.

And shouldn’t that be the case? A very well respected critic once told me, “You have to call 'em like you see 'em” when I asked about a very unusual TN for a well regarded wine. The alternative is for the scoring taster to go down the path of conjecture or predicting a future not readily evident in the bottle. This can be easily addressed in the wording of a TN- but not the number.

Back to the earlier topic of this being a big Kabinett year- time will tell, as will TNs over the next year. But if we are to play it by the numbers, it looks to me like 2021 is a grand year for Spatlese in a marketplace that is demanding, and thus getting, a number of Kabinetts as well. The really big scores in MFW are going to the Spatlesen. 100 points for Willi Schaefer Auction. 100 points for Egon Muller Spatlese (non-auction- there is no auction version in 2021) and (99-100) for Prum’s Spatlese Auction. All record highs from a publication that does not call upon the 3 digit rating too often.

1 Like

Do 2021 remind people of 2008 at release? (i don’t know, i was 22 years back then and not really into wine…).

I heard that comparison atleast. What i do know is that i really liked the 2008 kabinetts I’ve tasted in the last two to three years.

Not in the slightest. 2008 was only special in that the wines were completely unresponsive for the first half year or so; it took them really a long time to reveal their potential, so a lot of people missed out because they based their buying decision on the first impression.

2008 is a good to very good Riesling year in a semi-classic built in the Mosel (sweet wines), but nothing special elsewhere even though some (not all) GGs came around nicely. (And there it’s more the contrast with the very rich vintages 2005, 2007, and 2009 that make the leaner 2008 stand out).

1 Like

Yeah. But no.

The riper the grapes, the more aromatic precursor substances they contain; the acidity is lower, the acid spectrum changes (ratio of tartaric to other acids, for instance), the amount of extractable phenolic compounds is higher, and they’re riper; finally, there is (a bit) more sugar(s). (Botrytis further changes the aromatic spectrum, and concentration everything by sometimes significant factors, but let’s stay botrytis-free for the sake of this discussion, and consider only concentration effects from raisination, which works well up to unstarred Ausleses an no-goldcap Spätleses.)

So naturally, a finished wine from riper grapes will be more aromatic, more complex, and have more “stuffing” (besides the higher residual sugar that also heightens the impression of fruit intensity and body). The overall balance is canonically regarded as being better (acid freaks over-emphasize one structural component, and do not form the majority of wine drinkers).

Plus, Riesling made from riper grapes shifts its aromatic spectrum away from green apple towards more tropical fruit etc… In summary, there will be more and more interesting aromas to perceive, the perception wil be more intense and complex, structure and texture will be better and in better balance with all the rest (even though one could argue away balance by claiming that Kabinetts as a class have a different “point of equilibrium”).

So, Kabinetts are not just lighter and less intense, they’re intrinsically and inherently less complex, hence canonically regarded as less good, which is why ceteris paribus they rarely achieve as high scores as wines made from riper grapes (i.e., higher Prädikats). Because the chain of reasoning is: “Is it a good wine?” Only then does one ask “Is it a good Kabinett?” “Being a Kabinett” is a property conditional to quality. Else you’d allow the a good Kabinett to be a bad wine, which obviously is illogical, and thus completely verboten by the German wine law.

So no bias there, just well-founded, canonical wisdom.


Thanks. Guess leaner is a good term to describe it. What other vintages had as high acidity as 2021?

Some 2010…also some from 1996, but that was a different sort of acid structure in that year.

Further back it happened more often.

1 Like

And the obvious corollary, what is the dollar value of a point?

I think this used to be more true 15 years ago - less so now.

I think you illustrated the exact point that Tom and I were discussing. Namely that some perceive lighter, more nuanced wines as less implicitly because of their very nature. You’re perfectly entitled to believe that, your preferences are entirely your own. However, equating ripeness to quality as claiming it as canon is both an extremely myopic view of the pradikat range as a whole, and a completely obtuse dismissal of the reality that different palate preferences exist and people are entitled to their own preferences regardless of how different it may be to one’s own.