First wines from Germany’s brilliant 2019 harvest

“Will 2019 be the breakthrough vintage for German wine? Could it persuade Riesling-phobes to abandon their prejudices?”

That was the question posed by the world’s foremost wine writer, Jancis Robinson, who then asked her readers to indulge her as she reeled off reasons why Germany’s signature variety is the greatest white grape in the world.

“The wines it produces particularly precisely express where they were grown (like Pinot Noir),” she continues. “They last and continue to evolve interestingly forever (at least as long as Cabernet Sauvignon). They are generally particularly refreshing and relatively low in alcohol. And they go superbly – generally better than white burgundy and other Chardonnays – with food. Nowadays most Riesling is dry, not sweet. And German dry Riesling is one of the wine world’s undervalued treasures.”

That’s right, undervalued treasures are what we have here.

“Still not convinced?” asks Jancis. “Do give the 2019s a whirl. They are exceptionally good – especially but not only in the Mosel and Nahe.”

As luck would have it, some of these first wines come from those two regions. But you can’t take your eye off Rheinhessen for a second; Wittmann and Gunderloch had another dream run in Westhofen and Nackenheim respectively.

2019 Dönnhoff Nahe Riesling $36

Dönnhoff Nahe Riesling is Cornelius Dönnhoff’s classic off-dry Riesling that is a great introduction to the Nahe – fresh, juicy, pure and moreish.

2019 Dönnhoff Estate Riesling $43

A basket full of summer fruit with tropical nuances on top, making this an extremely attractive, dry estate riesling with a satisfying hint of tannin and lively acidity at the finish. From organically grown grapes with Fair’n Green certification. Drink now. Screw cap.

91 points. Stuart Pigott, 

2019 Wittmann 100 Hugel Riesling $30

Very fresh with full, fruit-salad character and an immediately appealing balance of ripeness and lively acidity. From organically grown grapes. Drink now.

90 points. Stuart Pigott,

2019 Gunderloch Jean Baptiste Riesling Kabinett $36

Who cares what is for dinner, this wine will work with it (as long as it’s not pudding)! A very attractive and refreshing, medium-dry Riesling with so much wild-herb and tart-peach character. Long, dry, mineral finish with an attractive spritz that pulls you back to the glass. Drink or hold. Screw cap.

92 points. Stuart Pigott,

2019 Dr Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett $44

Cool and crisp with tons of apple, cassis and mint character and a wonderful light touch. Stunningly refreshing! Drink or hold. Screw cap.

92 points. Stuart Pigott,

2019 Dr Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese $66

Very elegant with lovely white fruit and a long, filigree and so delicate finish. Drink or hold.

94 points. Stuart Pigott,

2019 Gunderloch Nackenheimer Rothenberg Riesling Spätlese $75

A juicy wine for the category with plenty of cassis character, but that doesn’t mean it’s really full-bodied. In fact, at the finish it’s quite a light and austere wine with a lot of herbal and green-leaf tea flavors. Drink or hold. Screw cap.

92 points. Stuart Pigott,

2019 Georg Breuer Rheingau Auslese 375ml $54

There are some years in which botrytis cinerea settles in various grapes in the Rheingau vineyards. This shrivels individual grapes producing concentrated sugar and aroma levels. Through stringent hand selection during harvest, these grapes are separated. The complete healthy, ripe grapes are sorted out for the dry wines and the individual affected grapes go to elegant, sweet dessert wines such as this regional Georg Breuer Rheingau Auslese from Theresa Breuer.

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