The last German wine harvest of the twentieth century followed on from a string of successive exceptional vintages. According to Armin Goring, managing director of the German Wine Institute in Mainz, The 1999 vintage adds the crowning touch to a decade of good and very good vintages. The finest wines of this vintage will offer pleasure well into the next century. Compared with recent years, there was considerable rain fall during winter, providing the soil with an excellent water supply and contributed to a timely bud break. Mild weather in spring spared the young shoots from a late frost and unseasonable warm temperatures in late-May led to explosive growth. Due to a long, warm and exceptionally sunny period of dry weather that lasted well into late summer, the grapes ripened far earlier and must weights rose quickly. Great expectations were dampened slightly by some rainfall in September, but in retrospect the rain was a blessing as producers waited for the golden-October, their patience paid off. The late ripening varieties, such as Riesling and Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir), benifitted from the extra period of growth brought on by the moisture. A dry period of warm weather followed and yielded outstanding results. The best dry wines are from Pfalz and will be drinking from 2001 onwards. However the most successful wines are the late harvests Auslese and Trockenbeerenauslese from the Rheingau. The best examples will be long lasting and be amongst the finest produced in the 1990's.
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