After a fair two years, the time had come to test a representative variety of 2010 Grand Crus and to check that year’s development. In our article about the Arrivage tasting two years ago(read on here) we spoke about a vintage ofthat, in our opinion, was of a thoroughly elevated class, by which we were in a minority. We appreciated the firm core of the Rieslings and the tense acidity, at least in those wines that did not taste too much of malic acid. Another essential aspect was a preferably clean crop of grapes, which was no simple issue due to the widely spread decomposition in the autumn of 2010. In conclusion to both of these tasting evenings, one can say that many of the wines still integrate their firm acidity excellently to this day. The Crus seemed firm and clear in their respectable fruit aromas while also aspiring to a continually positive development. Little surprise was given at this earlier stage by the formally “minor” Crus which – at this point – had reached a further point of maturation which even enabled them to – at times – steal the show of the actual stars; they were – at this point – simply more harmonious and presented more depth and game. The art of opening a wine at the right time ought not to be underestimated. Hence, the ultimate responsibility does not merely lie in the hands of the winegrower but also in the knowledge of maturation processes of grand Rieslings which the wine connoisseur ought to bring along. Today, we were much taken with Wittmann’s Aulerde and Mosbacher’s Kieselberg, without necessarily presuming much further improvement. Some wines reached such an incredible level that we can only recommend to enjoy them now, as they will hardly become even better. This, of course, is all a matter of individual tastes. The picture will probably change in the years to come. We especially appreciate the collections by Keller, Schönleber, and Bürklin-Wolf which all again produced absolutely invigorating Grand Crus in 2010 which took the lead – once again – in our blind tasting.
There is no need to break out in a frenzy with the 2010 vintage, in our opinion. Most of the GCs seem perfectly well prepared for a prolonged maturation; some will only have properly opened in about ten years. Some Crus did not even clearly express themselves even after several days of decanting; they remained infantile, closed yet equipped with lots of potential. We deliberately did not open those winegrowers’ wines that traditionally need many years for aging, such as Breuer, Rebholz or Querbach.
Generally, it does not make much sense to open 2010 wines at this point or to order them in a restaurant; one ought to alternate with a 2009. The high acidity preserves the wines and only lets them age slowly. Especially the known great wines certainly show potential, yet they are still at least two years away from offering enjoyment as they are still deeply coated in hibernation. Keep patient, the wines will handsomely thank you.
In general we are content to stick to our original evaluation; 2010 will probably become a year of higher quality than 2009 as far as dry Grand Crus are concerned and will hence be among the superior vintages of the first decade.
The wine tasting took place blindly for all participants, although KA knew some of the wines. The bottles were decanted once or twice for about 30 minutes the previous evening and for at least another half hour on the wine-tasting day itself where the wines had been previously poured into the decanter. The following variety of wines was retrospectively sorted by vineyards and growing areas, the wines were tasted in a different and random fashion beforehand.
Winery Loch (Winery Herrenberg) Ockfen Bockstein, 2010
Indifferent sweetness, citrus, a general tendency towards cleaning agent. Middle-bodied on the palate, nearly light-footed, pleasant residual sugars, a fine sweetness, some tannin, a mobile impression along with clear stone fruit, the minerality is reminiscent of slate, powerful yet agile acidity which seems mobile. As pleasant as sweetness and acidity may seem, they barely play with one-another at this point. A promising finish is offered, the wine does not seem complete at this point yet it ought to still develop.
Winery Loch (Winery Herrenberg) Wiltinger Schlangenberg Alte Reben, 2010
Very slight hints of washing-up liquid, lime stone, very closed, a mineral foundation as hard as granite. A very clear attack, a distinct apple taste, notable residual sugar, the spicy acidity is buffered by the sweetness, a still fully unfinished wine with a good length, hard to judge today, very uneasy at the back. The wine’s prepositions give us hope.
Markus Molitor Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Auslese trocken **, 2010
A light red berry fruit, a hint of stony minerality, herbs, creamy, cooled cola, yeast aromas, individual notes, completely closed, all predispositions are at hand. Delightfully clear-toned on the palate, a crystalline structure, inner tension, great mineral bite and firm acidity without being sour. Different impressions at the table, all however being generally inspired. In all, we are presented a still very young and closed Riesling which already is delightfully drinkable for mineral wine enthusiasts. A long salty-mineral finish.
Winery Peter-Jakob Kühn Oestricher Doosberg, 2010
Herbal tea, very spicy, tart, hints of botrytis, wax. Middle bodied, juicy, a slightly sweet initiation, reminiscent of a very young and immature apricot, the crisp acidity dominates the attack and strikes into the palate, apple core, a mineral inkling, flint stone, the (apple?-)acidity nearly discharges the wine, middle length. Barely drinkable in this state and not even a particularly good wine due to a lack of acidity.
87? KA, 84? GM
Winery Peter-Jakob Kühn Mittelheim St. Nikolaus, 2010
A harmonious nose, herbal orientation, grapefruit, citric zest, seems individualistic yet also very clear. Middle bodied, clear stone fruit, crisp acidity which currently seems much more fine and ripe though at its limits. By the way – this is intensely debated at the table, some speak of bitter notes in the finish, the fruits are coated by herbal tea aromas, very firm and long. We were not able to come to an equal judgment at this point either. KA puts his trust into vineyards and winegrowers, GM (rightfully) queries the currently lacking Grand Cru standard.
89-91+, 86-87 GM
Winery Wegeler Geisenheim Rothenberg 2010, 2010
Winery Schäfer-Fröhlich Monzinger Halenberg, 2010
Flint stone, a covered nose, hints of red berries, pure minerality without specific characteristics, covered by a sulfuric ‘sponti’(spontaneous fermentation) scent, not unpleasant though. Middle bodied, enormously tense, very firm yet focused, a great course of acidity, clear, straight, somewhat inaccessible, great structure, avoids any kind of sesquipedalian attitudes, one of the most focused wines of the evening, delightfully clear stone fruit, a generally very clear direction and an uneasy mid-length finish. We attest this wine a possibly great future.
Winery Schäfer-Fröhlich Bockenau Felseneck, 2010
Clear notes of spontaneous fermentation, a primarily mineral based nose, some hand cream, generally seems closed, fine floral tones, the shy fruit is masked, moist clay soil, hints of apricot. Middle body, very fresh and clear fruit on the attack, white peach, a racy acidity which is characteristic for the year, promisingly good predispositions, some bite, seems positively cloth-like, approaching volume, middle echo with a slight sweetness, brings along everything while still being fully closed. Inconsistent opinions are given at the table, generally somewhat below our expectations. The further development remains to be seen.
Winery Emrich-Schönleber Monzingen Frühlingsplätzchen, 2010
Winery Emrich-Schönleber Monzingen Halenberg, 2010
Flint stone, matches, notes of spontaneous fermentation, very spicy, completely free of any fruit attributes, a genuinely youthful stone fruit, glacier ice, a highly fine-laced and complex nose. A defined middle body on the palate, a delightfully pure tone, already very cool on the attack, like a mountain stream, finest preconditions, a grand Riesling of the highest elegance, the acidity is at hand and fully integrated while being at exactly the spot where it is supposed to be, barely any notable fruit at this point, a slight note of smoke, a firm mineral foundation, a monolith, the end presents a long echo of grand finesse. Once more, a grand Halenberg by Schönleber.
Winery Dönnhoff Norheim Dellchen, 2010
Elegant, a clear nose of apple, some smoke from the minerality, seems classic, well composed, followed by earthy-herbal appeals while remaining elegant and subtle. An attack of medium firmness, presents draught and noblesse, a very straight fruit, clear on the apple side combined with youthful stone fruits, a nice acidic bite, firm foundation, powerful and full of depth while always retaining an element of finesse, remarkable length.
Winery Dönnhoff Niederhausen Herrmannshöhle, 2010
A fruit-based nose of waxed red apple, associations of honeydew melon and tropical fruits, stone-based minerality, generally rather covered. A very fresh and middle-bodied mouth feel; apple peel, cut grass, a juicy attack, gives a very balanced impression, perfectly integrated acidity, generally balanced, already very nicely drinkable, the further course presents a fruit that seems somewhat covered and of a simple pattern, the question would be as to whether the currently lacking depth might develop someday or whether the wine is to remain aromatically limited. As with the Arrivage tasting, the wine remains somewhat behind our expectations.
Winery Wagner-Stempel Siefersheim Höllberg, 2010
An earthy minerality, botrytis, passion fruit, ripe peaches, a voluminous impression, malt. Firm bodied, very fabric-like elements, preconditions of a baroque Riesling with a juicy attack, highly mature fruit with tropical tendencies, a good length combined with a salty minerality, very powerful, bustling acidity, some speak of green notes at the back, in all astoundingly far opened, a wine that may also be enjoyed at a young age. However, we are somewhat troubled that the botrytis may further increase in taste which would not speak of a GC capable of prolonged maturation; the further development will show.
Winery Wagner-Stempel Siefersheimer Heerkretz, 2010
A fine and well balanced fruit on the nose, bell-clear, little developed some pome fruit along with mid-matured stone fruits, red berry fruit, smoke, basalt, a clear impression, and hints of wax. The attack is very firm and middle-bodied, citric notes clearly toned and revealingly lean in the middle; this is where the acidity uncompromisingly grips into the palate and aromatically unfolds. Guido experiences the acidity as generally shifting the entire aromatic picture of the wine itself and hence giving it an un-charmingly cool and distanced attribute; this is precisely what fascinates Rainer. Very different impressions at the table. However, we do all agree not to open before five years have passed.
93 (KA), 88 (GM) – Potential
Winery Wittmann Westhofen Aulerde, 2010
A botrytis-filled nose of orange crème and honey, linoleum, not much otherwise; an opulent and rich impression is given. Then follows an absolutely different mouth feel altogether; though the wine does have a high concentration, it almost seems to vibrate due to its truly unique game of acidity. The nearly bubbly acidity is marvelously gripping and animating without any aggression. Rather more, it is subtle, with the highest game and noblesse, a pure palate-wine which fully grips and intrigues you, remarkable length. This is a grand Riesling despite the difficult nose – today.
Winery Wittmann Westhofen Kirchspiel, 2010
Red berries, apple and marzipan, limestone, a headstrong and marvelous impression on the nose. A middle-bodied, mineral attack, lots of limestone followed by closed fruit that currently still comes very much through a red berry fruit, enormous concentration, highly elegant thanks to its mineral expression, very spicy and tart. An idea of fruit remains in the background throughout its entire course through which the wine achieves great depth and complexity, appeals of liquorices, extremely herbal, the end of the course gains ever more depth and creates hope for a great future, a tremendously prolonged finish. Once more; a terrific Kirchspiel.
Winery Wittmann Westhofen Morstein, 2010
The wine seems very mineral based with elements of basalt, chalk powder, spotlessly clean and clear tones, and white smoke. A powerful body, slightly nutty appeals on the attack, a closed and not clearly identifiable fruit, still seems very un-charming today, full-bodied, notable residual sugar, a generally mineral foundation, white smoke, highly firm acidity which is already very well integrated, independent, full of suspense and completely closed. Good length, interesting for ‘sensor freaks’, but not to be enjoyed at present.
Winery Wittman Westhofen Brunnenhäuschen, 2010
A closed yet certainly complex nose of slightly sweet oranges, a fine hint of wax aromas, earthy minerality, and moist pebble stone as well. Juicy on the attack, a creamy mouth feel, a very firm but well integrated acidity, juicy impressions, firm, even piquant, yet without any lashing out, a little bit of residual sugar, ideally integrated, well accompanied by its spiciness, very approachable and concentrated, the components already correspond with one-another; it will come around. However; today it still lacks game and finesse, which will probably fall into place as time goes by.
Winery Keller Nierstein Pettenthal, 2010
This wine offers a bouquet of ripened stone fruits, apricot, highly mature yellow flesh fruit which nearly reaches tropical attributes, brown bread also. A powerful and opulent body with repeating influences of stone fruits, playful with its residual sugars, only a little opened at this point, reminiscent of passion fruit cream, a generally coherent impression due to its sovereign firmness which points at complexity, we are also offered an excellently integrated acidity and a very long course.
Winery Keller Dalsheimer Hubacker, 2010
Chalk dust, cocoa, red berry fruit, smoke, and roasted spiciness. The palate is presented with a terrifically dry sensation and great draught, marvelously sugar-coated and adequately charming citrus fruit, very firm and clear throughout its entire course, a cheeky acidity, perfectly located while presenting a delightful game and tension, already very well drinkable at this point, great length with lemon peel at the end and a fine-salty finish that exquisitely plays with the acidity. Even though the wine is already a drinking pleasure today, it will most probably be grateful for another three years of bottle maturation.
Winery Keller Westhofen Kirchspiel, 2010
Smoke, earthy minerality, clear Riesling fruit, and citric elements. Middle body, a beamingly juicy attack which is dominated by a bell-clear stone fruit which already seems a little opened, red apple peel, crisp acidity only in the upper area while the echo still seems a little surly, generally a great wine which contains all necessary preconditions. This remains the best Kirchspiel by Keller that we have come across so far.
Winery Keller Westhofen Morstein, 2010
An extremely closed nose, hard limestone, a hint of lemon, and nothing else. Tremendously firm on the palate, one chews solid rock, a solid stony foundation, a marvelously exhilarating game of acidity, the course flows over the palate, cocoa, aristocratic noblesse, clear salty minerality. Providence deems this to be a great Riesling which will require no less than another five years of bottle maturation.
Winery Koehler-Rupprecht Saumagen Auslese trocken
Yellow stone fruit, a soupçon of red berries, cassis, hints of botrytis. The body is firm and one immediately notes the barrel influences, very closed, a slight creaminess, vintage specific acidity, enough extract and promising fruit preconditions, remarkable length. This wine has a great future.
91+ KA, 89+ GM
Winery Mosbacher Deidesheim Kieselberg, 2010
A slightly sweetly fruit drop-like nose, rather ripe apricot, dark minerality, pebble stones, the minerality caresses the mucosa, delicate coffee aromas, powerful on the palate, again a closed Riesling fruit with sweet tendencies, the acidity has a fascinating game, it sparkles over the palate in a crazy fashion, vibrating, fine elements of fennel, a minerality that prances with the acidity which lets both unite to a unique game of sweetness and acidity, finally a long finish. Already a special treat.
Winery Bassermann-Jordan Deidesheim Kalkofen, 2010
Chocolate, orange blossom, glazed lemons, equally a fine minerality which is rather stone based along with some spicy attributes. Middle bodied on the palate, fine sweetness, a hint of sugar which does the wine tremendously well, very clear on the citrus notes which creates an aromatically tighter impression, none-the-less very harmonious and brilliant with a genuinely firm impression, middle length, it falls somewhat short at this point due to its youth yet is already delightfully enjoyable.
Winery Bürklin-Wolf Forst Ungeheuer, 2010
A spicy nose of chilled cola, notes of varnish, bread crust, glazed fruits lacking sweetness, yet a very clean core, releases drinking pleasure. Rather bouffant on the palate, powerful, enormous wealth of fruit, then enters the 2010 acidity, creating radiant energy, a notable juxtaposition of impressions, everything is at hand, yet every element plays its own game, no teamwork. However, this wine presents potential throughout its entire course. A middle, uneasy length. Let it rest.
Winery Bürklin-Wolf Forst Pechstein, 2010
This wine offers a spicy mineral nose, fine notes of basalt which are interlaced with a very fine and classic Riesling fruit, especially pome fruits. A firm middle body is presented on the palate, with green apple and orange peel, a brilliance that can nearly be stated as noblesse, a hard mineral foundation which can barely set any standards at this point, a lot of draught on the palate, the acidity is stiff with a lively game and is already in the process of integrating itself, the end presents a very long and aromatically rich finish. The wine at hand will need about five more years of bottle aging, only then will it probably be able present its terroir.
Winery Von Winningen Forst Jesuitengarten, 2010
Vanilla, sweet wooden spice, sweet woodruff, fruity opulence. The palate is presented with a middle body, it seems rather unfinished at this point, a firm and certainly piquant acidity, yet ripe and invigorating, the fruit can certainly be made out, some cola, depth and complexity are presented, very long yet still completely withdrawn to its cave, the wood is already on the retreat and very well integrated and it gives the wine a remarkable length in unison with the piquant acidity and a pleasant glaze.
Winery Von Winningen Deidesheim Langenmorgen, 2010
A note of spontaneous fermentation, sweet wooden spice, matchsticks, green apple, very firm on the palate, the wood is still a bit too apparent on the attack, yet it declines throughout the further course and skillfully plays with the fruit which is reminiscent of ripe apples and citrus fruits, fine residual sugars are notable, a firm structure and depth, enormous pressure on the palate, the end sees more and more limestone and wild herbs appear which both connect astoundingly well with the wooden elements aromatically, finally a slightly salty echo. Very independent and already a pleasure to drink.
Winery Knoll Loibner Berg Vinothekfüllung, 2010
Varying scents of turnip cabbage and chocolate, a clear impact of botrytis. Pure excitement on the palate; the acidity pulls together firmly and remains most elegant from beginning to end, highly concentrated, the aroma is extremely closed, pear, white melon on the palate as well – too much acidity at present for some at the table – yet also a very mature wine, aromatically reserved, still infantile, must certainly rest for about ten years.
Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Hunawihr Clos Windsbuhl, 2010
This wine presents a marvelously mineral nose of flint stone, very clear, gripping and firm, almost cool, white berry fruit, white peach, and old-wooden coffee elements. A defined middle body on the palate, the attack already gives an impression of coolness and firmness, barely any fruit, very fine-pored, a lively acidity, a lean wine, clear like a mountain stream, zero botrytis, the further course presents shy hints of fruit, enormous draught on the palate, one can anticipate the potential and depth of this wine, the finish cuts short, a truly great Riesling which does not yet present its full potential.