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

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.


If you feel like you rate kabis in similar scoring ranges to higher pradikat and you want to read a critic who shares that view, you might subscribe to John Gilman’s “View from the Cellar”. Scores there are totally unrelated to pradikat and a producer’s kabinett is often higher than the rest of the range.


Hi Lars,

You raised the very interesting point about yields; how low was the yield (roughly), and in comparison to a regular year?

From your experience, is there an indicative threshold you consider the yield should be kept around for high quality?


Thanks, Mikael. Off the top of my head, I don’t have the exact number from last year. It must have been around 40 hl/ha, which would be a normal year chez Weber. Most producers tend to have much higher yields. The Webers believe in one cane per vine, which keeps the yield rather low.


Thanks Lars, interesting!

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As much as this hurts me to write: Keller is wrong here. It’s weird. I can only assume they assume somehow the English plural is Kabinetten.

The plural of “Kabinett” is “Kabinette”. You can see an example in German here from a wine shop I like in Munich:

But here is where things get complicated: Kabinetten is the dative plural. So, when it is the indirect object or the object of some prepositions that take the dative case, than there is the extra -n, as there is with all German plurals in the dative than end in -e or -r. So, it is technically “The two best Kabinette are…”, but “My impression of these two Kabinetten” because in the second instance “Kabinetten” is the prepositional object of “of” which take the dative case in German.

The good news: Plurals of German nouns that end in -e are always -n. So, one Spätlese becomes two Spätlesen, same for Auslese/Auslesen, BA, TBA… Since those plurals already end in -n, there is not extra -n in dative plurals.

Those of you who know Latin will be familiar with this sort of noun declension. German has less of it than Latin but more than today’s Romance languages.


Or a simple autocorrect error.

Thanks, Kamaal. I didn’t want to chime in here, but I’m glad you stepped in with a good and thorough explanation. Another option is to write “Kabinett-Weine” (Kabinett wines). I wouldn’t worry that a native speaker didn’t have the correct form of the plural.

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dang I just read through most of this thread today and German wine is the weirdest. lol

that being said this thread is an amazing source of info. I think the most recent Kabi and points debate is really interesting. I havent paid close enough attention to German wine scores to notice (I tend to just buy Donnhoff and Schoenleber when I can find it) but the discussion reminds me very much of the issue I have with Burg scores where a producer’s village wines scores seem to be kind of capped if they also make 1er and grand crus. never understood that. sometimes the Kabi is better than the Spätlesen. sometimes the 1er cru is better than the grand cru.

the biggest difference with riesling is that its really more like scoring a totally different type of wine and trying to compare them. You wouldn’t taste muscadet and say the white burg has more stuffing so its the better wine (well, you might, but you wouldn’t use the weight to compare the quality of those two.).

its also really true that the system at first was a pretty good indicator of quality when the only grapes that really got ripe were the ones going into the higher pradikatts. thats not so much a problem now, so I think we have to think of the classifications a little differently.

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Good discussion. To bring it back to 2021 German Riesling … I’ve only tasted a few so far (Lauer) but they certainly fit in with the themes being discussed here. I wish I could taste everything before buying, but since that’s impossible I use these discussions and MFW (descriptions and scores) to guide my credit card. Given the higher acid in 2021 I have already leaned in and bought more Spätlese than in other vintages. I usually focus on Kabinett and dryer, with just a few Spätlese and Auslese. But the higher acid content will give those higher prädikat wines more uses at the table.


Thanks, Lars. I agree that lots of times, Kabinett-Weine is used instead.

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I appreciate the education on the Kabinett plural.

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Just wanted to follow up on my comment from a couple of days ago. Johannes Weber told me that the yield in 2021 was indeed 40 hl/ha. The average yield is 30 hl/ha.

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Wow! I thought 40 hL/ha was low, but it is actually 33% higher than average! :sweat_smile:

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Thanks for coming back with further details. Can imagine that being very low average, even among many high quality driven producers.

Maybe others keep better track but I recall seeing Stein for example having something like 50hl/ha for their Riesling. That probably includes the entry bottling which might (or might not) be farmed at a higher yield (?).


Anybody tasted the Fritz Haag 2021s? Any good?

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