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1999 vintage guide for Germany

drink soon

A large vintage of excellent quality. Very good in Franken after three difficult years

Weather Conditions

A perfect setting of buds in April, ideal growing conditions in May and an early flowering in June were followed by a picture book summer, culminating in an exceptionally hot and dry September. When the Riesling was about to be picked in early October, ten days of torrential rain, though it did not actually damage the grapes, caused them to swell and to lose sugar, acidity and concentration. The basic principle that excessive quantity gives poor quality was fully demonstrated in this vintage.

Best Appellations

Quality ranged from weak and thin for mass-produced wines to fantastically rich and concentrated Trockenbeerenausleses for some individual estates. In Baden, the hottest region in Germany, the vintage is earlier, so the vines suffered less from the rain in October and the burgundian varieties were particularly successful. In Wurttemberg and Franken too, plenty of good wine was produced. As so often, the Riesling vine on steep slopes is better able to cope with difficult weather conditions than are other varieties. In this year, the classic vineyards in the Pfalz, Rheingau, Nahe and Mosel-Saar-Ruwer all produced plenty of good and many great Rieslings. Of all, the most fabulous wines are from the Saar where the vintage is considered to be the finest since the legendary 1959!

Best Producers

It is still too early to make a full assessment but I have been particularly impressed with delicious Rieslings from Saar-Ruwer – Schloss Saarstein, Geltz-Zilliken, Egon Muller, von Othegraven and Maximin Grunhaus: Mosel – Reinholt Haart, Haymann-Lowenstein and Schloss Lieser: Mittelrhein – Toni Jost: Rheingau – Franz Kunstler, Schloss Schonborn, Robert Weil: Nahe – Emerich-Schonleber, Donnhoff: Pfalz – Von Buhl.

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