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1998 vintage guide for Germany

drink soon

Variable quality. Very good Scheurebes and Spatburgunders from the Pfalz, and excellent Rieslings from Germany’s top producers

Weather Conditions

May was hot and sunny and as a result the flowering was two weeks ahead of usual. The good weather continued through June and July until August when there was a heatwave (on the 11th in Brauneberger Juffer the temperature was 42 C – the highest ever recorded in Germany!). This caused “grape sunburn” in some regions. It then rained throughout the normal vintage period in most regions but many Rieslings were picked in the one sunny week starting 22nd October. The rain then returned! Some producers picked even later and were rewarded with superb wines culminating in brilliant Eisweins from 21st to 23rd November.

Best Appellations

In general, the early ripening Weiss- and Grau-burgunders in Baden and elsewhere were disappointing. The same applied to Muller-Thurgau and other mass-production white grapes. In the Pfalz some producers made wonderful Rieslings, Scheurebes and Spatburgunders. In Franken they were able to make little better than attractive wines for early drinking. So it really came down to the dedication and patience of individual Riesling growers in the classic regions to rescue a difficult vintage and transform it into a great one!

Best Producers

Among the estates which made brilliant Rieslings are: Mosel/Saar/Ruwer – J.J. Prum, Egon Muller, Dr. Loosen and Reinhold Haart: Rheingau – Robert Weil, Franz Kunstler, Staatsweingut (Steinberg vineyard) and Kesseler (Spatburgunder): Nahe – Emerich-Schonleber and Donnhoff: Rheinhessen – Keller and Gunderloch. Max Ferd. Richter and others made great

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