So I’ve seen several users on this board use this word. I understand that -en is the plural suffix in German. However, while I’ve seen Spätlesen and Auslesen used in native German publications, I do not believe I can recall ever seeing Kabinetten used by a native German speaker. They seem to simply use Kabinett for singular and plural. In fact I’ve even seen a single sentence talking about the pradikat levels written as "Kabinett, Spätlesen and Auslesen. "
Is this one of those cases where the word might be technically correct, but it’s not part of the common vernacular? Or is it not even a word? I’m curious for any native German speakers’ thoughts.
I remember first hearing kabinetten from a winemaker at the Terry Theise portfolio tasting for the 1999 vintage. Heard it from some when I visited Germany in 2003. Haven’t heard it much lately, though I have seen David Schildknecht use it in writing. He is quite attentive (some might say over attentive) to using correct language.
You seem to be taking very personally HPE’s description of why the praedikat system arose. It arose to indicate quality differences, based on flavor complexity, as one went up the scale. Your description of wines that were “lighter, more nuanced” did not make sense in the old system; with very rare exceptions, it was lighter and less nuanced. It’s not lost on anyone that many people, both in Germany and out, believe that the praedikat system is very outmoded, both in terms of shifts in tastes and climate.
I take very few things personally on this board. One that does annoy me — and I try to speak out about it when possible— is when people are dismissive of other’s stated preferences, regardless of whether that’s my own or someone else’s. We can all be emphatically enthusiastic about riesling and have vastly different preferences for the rieslings we enjoy. Or any wine for that matter.
I don’t mind the background history on why the pradikat system arose. Though to claim the reasonings behind its rise and the classifications constitutes a de facto canonical correlation to quality does irk me precisely because it fails to recognise people are allowed to enjoy different things in wine. It is as you noted, in recent history we have seen a shift in both tastes and climate.
One person’s balanced riesling, may be another’s flabby; one may prefer citrus fruit profile over a tropical one, or vice-versa. When we are talking about stylistic preferences for a wine, there is not really one correct answer.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.