featured, Austria, Germany
The weather extremes experienced in so many recent vintages have been accompanied increasingly by years featuring remarkably similar meteorological and growing patterns that stretch from the Mosel to parts of Austria nearly 400 flight miles distant. In the end, ironically, the drama that preceded it led to a 2016 Riesling harvest as stress-free as many Austrian and German growers could recall, and to grapes whose very gradual ripening and modest eventual must weights would have seemed more familiar to growers of the mid-20th century.
featured, Austria, Germany
It seems as though the climatic changes that help explain so many 21st century Riesling growing seasons of unprecedented extremes in weather are having this additional effect: For the third year in a row, in 2017 one can characterize the growing season for Riesling in Bernkastel on the Mosel in very similar terms to that in Krems on the Danube, exactly 400 crow-flying miles distant.
There is less talent and ambition in the Rheingau and adjacent Mittelrhein than these regions deserve, but 2015 offered an outstanding opportunity for demanding growers to excel.
Growers in Germany’s Pfalz picked most of their 2015 Riesling by the end of September, but the results by no means lack ripeness or aromatic finesse. The fact that many a Pfalz collection is not notably superior to its much later-harvested 2014 counterpart should by no means be taken as a sign of weakness. Without question, the aggregate rate of Riesling success in 2014 and 2015 is highest in the Pfalz and Nahe.
Rieslingfeier is quite literally “a celebration of Riesling.” But the seminars held as part of this year’s event offered tasting and discussion that were thought-provoking – sometimes to the point of head-scratching – and seriously concerned with the future of Riesling on German and Austrian slopes as well as in the North American marketplace.
An annual “Celebration of Riesling” thrills the converted and inspires them to proselytize on behalf of Germany’s great white grape.
Seldom has a vintage been better suited for tapping the awesome abundance of talent that has accumulated along the 135 circuitous miles of the Mosel between Trier and Koblenz, where sites and growers are testing one another’s potential with increasingly exciting results.
featured, Germany: Ruwer, Germany: Saar
There are really two 2015 vintages for German Riesling: the first harvest took place on the heels of early September rain, and the second four to eight weeks later during a chilly but sunny autumn. Both will reward Riesling lovers, especially the latter.
featured, France: Loire
If neither the 2014 nor 2015 vintage meets your expectations of Muscadet, then it’s hard to imagine what you could possibly be seeking. And if you still aren’t acquainted with these subtly intriguing, delicious, enormously versatile and ridiculously underpriced wines, there will never be a better opportunity to remedy that.
Two thousand-fifteen, a stress-free vintage for growers, overflows with generous, lovely wines that belie mid-summer drought and record-setting heat.