A good vintage for Riesling
“All’s well that ends well”. Temperatures of –20 C hit Europe in January. I was in Bordeaux and the Gironde estuary was covered in iceflows and both the Garonne and the Dordogne were frozen solid. I then drove to Burgundy and the Rhone was almost frozen over at Macon! But the vines survived and Rieslings in Germany went on to give a fine vintage. In the spring, the weather was kind and the flowering was successful, to give hopes of a fine vintage, but frequent downpours of rain throughout July and August caused fears that the vintage would be as dismal as that of 1984. However, after a sunny dry but cool September and October the sun finally blessed the vintage, which was slightly foreshortened by a severe frost on 4th November.
The regions where the wines were most successful in this vintage were the Middle Mosel from Brauneberg to Erden and the Pfalz in Ungstein and Kalstadt. Here some Rieslings were almost as good as those of the 1983 vintage and are lovely to drink now.
In the Middle Mosel Fritz Haag and J.J. Prum made superb Spatleses and Ausleses, as did Pfeffingen in the Pfalz. Although a number of Eisweins were picked as late as 31st December, they were of excellent quality.