Germany 2000: Drink soon
Early promise gave way to rain and widespread rot. Eastern regions and Riesling did best. Regional differences mean overall rating is a very rough guide only
An early bud-break, early and successful flowering, then a fine summer in which sun and rain alternated in an ideal manner raised high hopes that 2000 would be a great vintage. In early September the grapes’ development was fully 2-3 weeks ahead of the average. Then, in late September, it began to rain and did not stop for almost a month. Rot spread fast and wide, particularly in the southerly regions where the grapes were already very ripe and soft. Further north in Germany the Riesling grapes survived this phase rather well and in many places the fine weather of late October and November enabled them to reach a high level of ripeness.
2000 is much better for Riesling (2-4 stars) than it is for the white Pinots (Grauburgunder 1, Weissburgunder 2), though strangely Pinot Noir did well in site of the rot (2-4). In Baden and the Pfalz, however, it is a generally difficult vintage (1-2), but much better further north in the Nahe (3-4), Mosel (3) and in the western Rheingau (3). The easterly regions of Franken (4) and Saale-Unstrut (4) and Sachsen (4) suffered less from the rain and came off best of all. As a general rule the best wines of the vintage will benefit from some more time (2-3) due to their pronounced acidity, whilst other wines should be avoided.
Even in the worse-affected areas there were a few striking successes. In Baden Karl-H Johner produced his best wines ever (Pinot Noir 3 stars, keep) and in the Pfalz Rebholz also shone (top Rieslings 4 stars, keep). Further North in Rheinhessen Wittmann (3 stars, drink within 3 yrs), Gunderloch (3 stars, drink within 3 yrs) and St Antony (3 stars, drink within 3 yrs) all made classic Rieslings. On the Nahe Dönnhoff had one of his best vintages ever (4 stars, keep) with Emrich-Schönleber not far behind (3 stars, keep). In the Mosel Heymann-Löwenstein made his finest dry Rieslings and Auslesen to date (4 stars, keep), newcomers Van Volxem produced the best wines on the Saar (3 stars, drink within 3 yrs) and von Schubert the finest Ruwer wines (3 stars, keep). Both Horst Sauer (3 stars, drink soon) and Fürst (3 stars, drink within 3 yrs) in Franken did very well, and Lützkendorf in the Saale-Unstrut (4 stars, drink within 3 yrs) had his best vintage to date.