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1996 vintage guide for Germany

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In some places picking continued into November. The best wines were made in the Pfalz

Weather Conditions

The whole cycle of the vine in this year was affected by the lack of rain, which was less than half the normal amount. This delayed the development of the vegetation with further setbacks – cold weather towards the end of the flowering in June, cold nights and severe localised hailstorms in August. By early October the Riesling grapes had unacceptably high levels of acidity and low levels of sugar. However, the Indian Summer which started late in October transformed the Riesling grapes and the acidity dropped dramatically while the sugar levels exploded to give those estates which had the patience to delay picking the grapes until November a minute vintage of fantastic quality. Otherwise it was a poor vintage.

Best Appellations

In Franken one crisis followed another and they suffered from one of the worst vintages of recent years: only the late ripening Riesling was rescued by the October sunshine. Baden produced only a fraction of its usual all too prolific crop, but the quality was way above the average, with 80% Kabinett and above.

Best Producers

Dr. Heger and Bercher made the finest Grau- and Weissburgunders in Germany and Kesseler in the Rheingau the finest Spatburgunder. Among the finest Riesling estates, the following could perhaps be singled out: Mosel/Saar/Ruwer: J.J. Prum, Egon Muller, von Schubert, Fritz Haag – Rheingau: Robert Weil and Kunstler – Nahe: Donnhoff – Rheinhessen: Keller – Pfalz: Burklin-Wolf. . In Baden, Bercher and Dr. Heger made outstanding Grauer Burgunders.

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