Germany 2005

A review of recent German vintages reveals much success; in fact, there
hasn't been a universally disappointing vintage here for well over a decade.
Styles may differ, the racy 2004 vintage a marked contrast with the fat,
opulent wines of 2003 (where there is at least some controversy, the wines
derided in some circles, praised in others), the firmness of 2002 and the
balance and elegance of 2001, but all have their proponents. But with 2005 the
claims came anew; here was not just another good vintage, but a great one, equal
and perhaps superior to the much lauded 2001 vintage.

It was not that the weather during the 2005 vintage was exceptional, rather
that it was kind and well meted out. The vines budded a little later than usual,
but not significantly so, and the weather was fine, continuing through into the
summer months of June and July. Then during the later days of July and then into
August there was rain, ensuring the continued development of the fruit, and
moderating the temperatures, ensuring that as the ripening slowly progressed the
acidities were maintained. By the end of August the ripening of the fruit was
generally two weeks ahead of schedule, and this persisted with the warm
weather of September and October. The berries remained healthy, with some
botrytis here and there, particularly in the Saar. Even those berries that
escaped botrytis saw some concentration through dehydration, the result of the combination of
dry weather, thin but healthy skins, and a warm, easterly wind. The overall
consequence was a harvest of low yields, typically 30 hl/ha in many cases, of
exemplary quality. The must weights often exceeded those of 2003, but in this
vintage we have superb acidity as well, to provide balance and reassure those
who want to cellar the wines. And there is botrytis, exceeding the quantity found
in the legendary 1976 vintage. All the portents suggest that this should be a truly
great vintage.

With such high must weights, however, come problems for the drinker. When the
fruit that would normally provide you with your estate kabinett is harvested
with a must weight more befitting a spätlese or even an auslese, this is going
to have a profound effect on the style of the wines. Yes, the wines might be
fabulously rich with balancing acidity, but if one prefers a leaner, fresher,
acidic, one might say more traditional kabinett, no amount of opulent spätlese
dressed up as such will quench your thirst. So this vintage may not be for all.
But it should certainly yield some fabulous wines at the top levels of the
Prädikat, wines which I think will perform well over decades in the cellar. (14/12/06)
Germany 2005 - Tasting Notes

These wines were tasted in September and October 2006. They are
presented according to style, trocken wines first, then kabinett and

Fritz Haag Brauneberger
Juffer Riesling Kabinett Trocken 2005: A very pale hue, and a charming nose,
showing floral pear fruit with apple peel and a little pine kernel note. On the
palate it immediately displays a fresh, spritzy style, with lovely, gently
minerally, tingling acidity. Very broad, expanding across the palate, trailing
juicy pear fruit with a delicious, crisp, almost sherbetty vivacity. Finely
balanced, close to ethereal at times, dry but with a lovely fruit richness,
finishing with a chalky-mineral flourish, this is delightful. Rather rich and
voluptuous for a Kabinett, reflecting the vintage, but otherwise lovely now, but
will be fine for years I am sure. 17+/20 AP Nr. 2 577 050 11 06

Joh. Jos. Christoffel Erben Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Kabinett Trocken
A moderately pale hue with a certain tinge of green. Really very attractive on
the nose which is fruit-dominated, showing fresh pear and dessert apple aromas
blended with a sweeter, slightly tropical, fruit salad character, with little
lychee and bacon complexities. A little crisp mineral too. Lovely prickle of
carbon dioxide on entry although this disappears in time, but the palate
remains quite precise through to the finish. Rounded, fairly broad, with a
complex, mineral spice developing towards the endpalate. Slightly austere rather
than tender finish, but very appealing nevertheless. Beautiful. 17/20 AP Nr: 2
602 041 002 06.

Josef Biffar Wachenheimer Goldbachel Riesling Spätlese Trocken 2005:
An attractive lemon gold. An interesting nose, quite herbal, firm, precise with
a crisp citrussy mineral and quinine infused character. Full and rich, with a
firm alcohol on the palate, although quite a delicate, reserved, almost lean
texture. Fresh, certainly dry, with a sappy, green finish. Quite a length too,
with a dry, savoury character. Good, although rather stern compared to the more
welcoming, sugar-endowed styles. Nevertheless good - I quickly worked my way
through two bottles, with a little help from some friends. 16+/20 AP Nr 5 106 026 062 06

Dr Loosen Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett 2005: Bottled under
a synthetic cork; I wonder how this will affect the wine ability of the wine to
Nevertheless this is a lovely wine, with a fabulously precise
nose of mineral-laced pears and apples, with a firm, talcy, white pepper
quality. Lovely balance, immediately apparent on entry, quite incisive like the
nose, carrying the wine through the midpalate and only allowing the rounded,
creamy richness that the wine possesses to show on the finish. Unlike some
other wines of this vintage this isn't quite so exuberantly rich and fleshy, and
this is a welcome finding. Beautiful stone fruit flavour, with the barest hint
of crisp melon, but with a softly honeyed texture. A different style to the
2004, richer, although quite restrained for the 2005 vintage. A second
bottle (cracking on with drinking these in view of the closure) was just as
racy, very much in the same vein. A very successful and
attractive style which I will enjoy drinking over the coming months. 17+/20 AP Nr 2 576 162 15 06

Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer
Riesling Kabinett 2005: A similar hue, but rather more fruit driven and
accessible on the nose, with lots of pear and grape character, with a talcy
edge. Quite plump on entry, a richer style of Kabinett reflecting the warmth of
the vintage, but with an immediately apparent spritz just like the trocken,
which persists through the midpalate and finish with delightful, tingling
persistence. Lovely pear character with spring flower petals, all framed by a
thick seam of residual sugar. Again rather rich and voluptuous for a Kabinett,
but in a different style. Nevertheless equally good, and with
certain potential for the cellar. 17+/20 AP Nr. 2 577 050 03 06

Joh. Jos. Christoffel Erben Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Kabinett 2005:
Again a pale hue, almost spring water clear although with a faint hint of
yellow-green hue. There follows such a lovely, open, lifted nose, full of pear
and peach stones, apples and talcy minerals,
wet pebble and the freshness of
crashing surf. This vivacity carries through onto the palate, which shows some
2005 fatness although with delightful, precise, very well defined fruit and acidity. There is a crisp edge, with a little spritz just like the Trocken
version, keeping it fresh and lively on the palate. Again a broad, filled out
style, although with a much greater persistence on the finish. This and the
are both prime examples of their respective styles, although with
the caveat that they reflect the richness of the vintage. My personal preference
is for this wine over the previous, but in terms of intrinsic quality they are
exceptionally close. 17/20 AP Nr: 2
602 041 004 06

Joh. Jos. Christoffel Erben Erdener Treppchen Riesling Kabinett 2005:
A similarly pale colour here, but perhaps just a little more vibrant and precise
on the nose than the Ürz-Würz. A rich and ripe pear fruit character, with some
minerally apple. The palate is full but beautifully balanced, with a very
incisive and spritzy acidity coming through on the midpalate, and carrying the
wine right through to the finish. Very broad and appealing, and showing a
greater length on the finish. Blackcurrant leaf. Just delightful, although
plainly displaying the richness of the vintage, as with the preceding wines. By a
whisker, this is my favourite from these three. 17.5/20 AP Nr. 2 602 041 003 06

Karlsmühle Kaseler Nies'chen Riesling Kabinett 2005: Attractive, green
tinged hue on inspection. The nose is quite well defined, suggesting a rich,
apple and lime infused character with a touch of ripe melon and a herby edge.
Very fresh and spritzy on entry, but there follows a very rapid, fleshy, sweet
and rounded texture. The flavours are more at the melon and honey-baked apple
end of the spectrum than might be expected at the Kabinett level, and don't
quite fill out the palate in the way the texture might suggest they should.
Rather softer acidity than might be preferred, and the overall impression is of
a wine above Kabinett level. But on a positive note there is a decent length,
and this is certainly pleasant for drinking now. Good. 15.5/20 AP Nr. 3 536 016 10 06

Reinhold Haart Piesporter Riesling Kabinett 2005: A nice, green tinged
appearance. Quite an attractive nose, with notes of lime, herbs and apple, but
toned down with a slightly creamy suggestion. Full, pleasing, richly fruited
palate with a supporting spritz, rounding out to develop a full, not quite
voluptuous feel through the midpalate and finish. This swamps the acidity a
little, although it is there and plays an important role. Overall a really nice,
plump character with a good underpinning structure, but like many of the 2005
vintage it is richer than you might usually expect a Kabinett to be. Good
drinking though. 16/20 AP Nr. 2 596 429 4 06

Kees-Kieren Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett 2005: A slightly
richer colour, similar in depth of hue but with a more yellow-golden character.
The nose is just stuffed with honeyed fruit, pineapple and pear and melon, with
a fresh and vibrant character. This continues on the palate which from the
outset shows beautifully vivacious fruit melded with a sherbetty, spritzy
acidity and a medium bodied, slightly creamy texture. Pure and well defined yet
rich, exotically styled, with a perfumed cooked fruit crumble character; it is
broad and pleasing, with plenty of texture but without an excess of sweetness.
This is excellent wine, not as out of kilter as some of the other Kabinetts,
with a more balanced, more zippy and full-bodied feel, and it is all the better
for it. Delightful. 17.5+/20 AP Nr. 2 583 092 18 06

Kurt Hain Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Kabinett 2005: Quite a
pale hue with a faint, straw-coloured hue. Lovely precise nose, pear and apple
fruits tinged with a little honey and melon ripeness, with nuances of pepper and
slate. The pure, vibrant fruit profile carries onto the palate, framed by a
ripe, rounded texture, but it has good balance too, with fresh although perhaps
somewhat muted acidity. Certainly plenty of character, lovely spritz very
evident too. Through the midpalate it shows good structure and there is a good
grip on the finish. Very good. 17+/20 AP Nr. 2 596 432 8 06

Kees-Kieren Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spätlese 2005: A good
colour, straw-tinged, but most noticeable are the forward and exotic aromas that
just leap from the glass. There is a melange of tropical and stone fruit here,
with notes of pear and peach, white pepper, pineapple and freshly cut applemint.
Super vibrancy on the palate, with a creamy, rounded texture perfectly offset by
an incisive, tingling acidity, So pure and with more than a suggestion of
intensity, beautifully presented, and with a lingering, zippy finish. This is
fabulous. 18.5+/20 AP Nr. 2 583 092 20 06

Reinhold Haart Piesporter Domherr Riesling Spätlese 2005: This wine
has a pale gold colour, sprinkled with a greenish tinge. The nose is very
outgoing, full of exotically ripe tropical fruit, particularly toffee-edged melon.
The palate continues in a similar vein, showing great freshness, but plenty of evocative, lively, rich
flavour with a touch of toffee and melon. The texture is creamily sweet, but
decent acidity. This has a lovely style, is very expressive and pervasive on the
palate, with a crisp structure, despite a fat
and alluring presence. Lovely sweet fruit on the finish completes the picture,
expressed through an appealing length. 17.5+/20 AP Nr. 2 596 429 7 06

Kurt Hain Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Spatlese #12 2005: This
wine has a fairly rich, green gold hue on inspection, and the nose flatters with
fatly opulent aromas of toffee, honey, ripe melons and telltale
blackcurrant leaves. The palate was full and rather fat on entry, a rich and very creamy
style, corpulent with ripe melon flavours, but quite complex with deep, leafy blackcurrant notes
too. There is
moderate balancing acidity, but more freshness through the endpalate where there
are notes of crisp, green apples.
Nicely clean finish, perhaps a touch short. This is an attractive flash-in-the-pan
at the moment, but is very appealing, and I think it will do well in the short-term. 17+/20
AP Nr. 2 596 432 12 06