This was a vintage when great sites shone. It was a vintage in which higher, better exposed sites performed better than those lower down. The flowering was disrupted to give small berries and a smaller quantity (down 25%).
A cool summer meant high acidities while the long, dry, windy autumn concentrated the juice and crucially delivered dry extracts that exceeded by up to 6 grams/litre those of 2009. So those blessed with the best sites, such as Donnhoff, made excellent wines. A mixed picture otherwise.
(David Berry Green, BBR Buyer)
The spiritual home of the Riesling, the Rheingau yields elegant wines with a lovely, spicy fragrance, rich ripe fruit and pronounced acidity. The 2010s are complex wines of power and precision.
This 3,205 ha Rheingau region extends from Hochheim on the River Main to the evocatively-named Lorch on the River Rhein. The Rheingau’s vineyards are located along one long hillside with the thick forests of the Taunus Hills to the north and the Rhein River to the south.
They form a single district known as Bereich Johannisberg. This beautiful region, rich in tradition, evolves as you go east to west, from a fairly flat, dimpled landscape to progressively steeper and more impressive slopes. It is on the latter that the finest wines are made.
Germany’s most southerly Riesling-producing region, Pfalz wines are rich and concentrated. Reichsrat Von Buhl has forged a fine reputation for both sweet and dry styles . Powerful and complex, 2010s should not be missed.
The Pfalz - known as the Rheinpfalz until 1992, and the ‘Palatinate’ in English - is the second largest wine region in Germany after Rheinhessen and is often the biggest in terms of production. Its temperate climate is the sunniest and driest of all the German wine regions.
The vineyards that make up the Pfalz stretch from the southern limits of Rheinhessen near Worms down to the French border at Wissembourg. Covering a substantial 23,000ha, they follow the contours of the Pfalzer Wald forest for nearly 80 uninterrupted kilometres.
Lying between the Mosel and the Rheingau, the Nahe’s Rieslings are occasionally overlooked but are nonetheless firm, full and racy. Helmut Dönnhoff is not only the Nahe’s finest winemaker, but widely acknowledged as the best in Germany.
Unlike many German regions, the Nahe’s production is focused on quality rather than quantity: 57% is QmP (equivalent of Appellation Contrôlée), 41% QbA (equivalent to Vin de Pays) and only 2% Tafelwein (Vin de Table). The climate is mild and balanced with lots of sun, moderate rainfall and very little frost; the region is also protected against cold winds by the Soonwald and Hunsrück Mountains. All this enables the grapes to have a long and dry ripening in late summer.
Rieslings from the steep, slate vineyards of the Mosel are characterised by their intense fruitiness, high acidity and low alcohol content (6% to 9%). Classic examples were produced in 2010 by Weingut Merkelbach, Weingut Selbach and J.J. Prüm, with a more modern-style from Heymann-Löwenstein. All display the elegant minerality of a great vintage.
In a piece of rebranding of which the Post Office would have been proud, 1st August 2007 saw the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer officially renamed ‘Mosel’. Despite this earth-shattering change the region remains one of - if not the – finest regions for Riesling in the world. With more than 6,400 wine growers cultivating 88 million vines across 10,400 ha of vineyards, this is Germany’s third largest region in terms of production, but without doubt its most prestigious. Of the varieties grown here, 58% is Riesling, 18% is Müller-Thurgau, 8% the local Elbling and 7% Kerner. The rest is other German crossings.