Germany 2002: Keep
High levels of ripeness and fine acidity are the hallmarks of this vintage
What is extraordinary about this vintage is that, in spite of the rains, great wines were made in all the main regions! By the middle of July expectations were high but moist warm weather set in until the end of September. In mid-October intermittent the rain set in for a month, which, in certain regions, reduced the possibility of noble sweet Riesling. The only way to make fine Rieslings was to pick at the moment juste and select not just the bunches but the individual grapes for the simple qualities, or for botrytised wines, or for discarding.
In general, the star Rieslings were from Saar and Ruwer though the Middle Mosel Rieslings were almost as fine, as were those from MittelRhein, Rheingau, Nahe, Pfalz and Württemberg. Rheingau suffered from rain, hail and then rot but some top estates made very fine Rieslings. Weissburgunder was most successful in Pfalz, Baden (especially in Kaiserstuhl), where they were able to vintage before the worst of the rain. This was one of the very finest Spätburgunder vintages in Ahr, Pfalz, Baden and in Wonnegau in Rheinhessen. In spite of intermittent rain the best producers in Franken made some fabulous wines. Sachsen and Saale-Unstrut too suffered from the rain.
Grosses Gewächs and other top dry Rieslings were dominated by growers from the Pfalz again: Bürklin-Wolf, Bassermann-Jordan and Christmann all made splendid wines: Breuer in Rheingau and Dautel in Württemberg made exceptional dry Rieslings too. In Pfalz again Dr. Werhmann and Rebholz both made a Weisserburgunder Grosses Gewächs with great power. Superb traditional Riesling Spätleses were made by Schloss Saarstein and Fritz Haag and many other growers in Mosel/Saar/Ruwer and Schlossgut Diel and Dr. Crusius excelled in Nahe, as did Gunderloch in Rheinhessen. Great noble sweet Rieslings were made by Kuhn and Dr. Weil in Rheingau and Emerich-Schönleber in Nahe achieved a perfect 100 point Eiswein. Castel in Franken made a unique Silvaner Trockenbeerenauslese to complete a great collection in 2002. At the time of writing it is too soon to judge the red wines.