Dhe summer of 2018 is remembered with continuous sunshine and temperature records. In viticulture the expectations were high, but in our latitudes the old rule of thumb applies: the warmer the year, the better the wine. In times of global warming, however, this saying backfires, because plants can not look for a place in the shade, when excessive heat rises to their heads. With temperatures 2.8 degrees above the long-term average, 2018 marks a turning point.
This at least shows the view of the Great Growths of the Association of German Pradikats- and Qualitatsweinguter (VDP), which were officially launched at the beginning of September. The heat robbed the German parade variety Riesling brilliance and fruit. And so 2018 may well be a disappointment for all who hope for peak Riesling.
The advantage of cooler bearings
This is particularly noticeable with the wines from the warmer Palatinate and from Rheinhessen; Alcoholic power often dominates here without the Riesling-typical, shimmering sophistication. Another phenomenon is the "atypical aging sound", which manifests itself as a blunt basic aroma and makes the wine taste like a past. It occurs when the vines suffer from drought stress when exposed to heat and are under-fed due to lack of supply. Some of the featured wines were affected. The association should reflect on a reform of the internal quality screening, in order to avoid that such affected wines come as representatives of the German top wine on the market.
After the record summer, the tartaric acid was approved to subsequently improve the harmony in the wine. Unfortunately, some growers do not have the necessary instinct, and in 2018 there are inharmonious acid-rich representatives among the presented Great Plants. This raises the question of whether it is right to evaluate the Great Plants within the current vintage or compared to previous vintages. The exceptional situation must be included in the evaluation.
For the very large point fireworks at many top locations, it was therefore not enough. A grape variety like the Riesling, as a Cool Climate specialist, relies on moderate temperatures in the vineyard; only then can this sensitive strain metabolise stress-free and develop its true aromatic size.
The tendency was to reward those producers who knew how to use the advantages of cooler locations and who did not delay grape picking for longer than absolutely necessary, for example in the Rheingau and the Middle Rhine and Moselle. This combination seems to us to be the key to fruity and energetic Rieslings, as evidenced by the more mature representatives from 2016 and 2017, some of whom were hired only this year.
Winery Peter Lauer – Feils: Dionysian slate twilight. Smoky slate lures stretch from the deepest underground to the ethereal fleeting spheres of the Saar-Riesling. Cool citrus with hiss factor and fine elegance, very fine, salty and long. 93 points
Winery Maximin Grunhaus – Herrenberg: Herber slate fragrance, in the mouth splendid power and fine elegance. Playful, sustainable, intense. Of that, the Queen should set aside something for her hundredths. To the fish, of course. 94 points
Winery of Othegraven – Bockstein: Fermented spontaneously, unclear scent. Unusually acidic in the mouth, slightly dirty with unclear fermentation notes. 87 points