Germany: 2017 Grosse Gewächse, Top Dry Whites and Reds
2017 is a superb year for dry whites. A mixed growing season culminated in an early harvest, producing elegant, attractive wines, with lovely zing and excellent balance. They are less powerful and less alcoholic than some earlier vintages, and they have excellent potential for ageing.
2016 was an excellent year for red wines A hot summer and a cool, dry autumn resulted in wines that are ripe and fine, with bright fruit and supple tannins. They are an excellent counterfoil to the powerful 2015s, and will keep extremely well.
Both red and white wines continue to offer excellent value.
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2015 SPÄTBURGUNDER 'S' [32 17] (BERN58215A)
From the Finstergasse vineyard, where warm rich clay soils on a limestone base give a ripe, open wine with deep raspberry fruit, a hint of smoke and elegant soft tannins.
2015 SPÄTBURGUNDER 'R' [33 17] (BERN60215A)
From vines in the Wormberg, planted in 1977. This is full of rich damson and plum fruit with notes of spice, juicy acidity and a fine minerality emerging on the long finish.
2016 PINOT NOIR [24 18] (GRUN95216A)
The Pinot Noir from Grünhaus is becoming increasingly complex as the vines age, drawing a fine minerality from the slaty soils of the Abstberg. There is rich ripe red fruit with a savoury character and a hint of smoke, and a long powerful finish.
2016 SPÄTBURGUNDER [14 18] (JULG70216A)
From vines around Schweigen-Rechtenbach, half of them in France. The fruit is from young vines, or older ones in less favoured sites. It is densely coloured and aromatic, and there are lovely cherry and darker fruit flavours that linger on a fine smooth finish. A lot of wine for the price.
2016 SPÄTBURGUNDER 'R' [32 18] (JULG76216A)
From 25-year-old vines in Wormberg vineyard, across the border in France. A fleshy wine this year, with intense dark fruit and fine gentle tannins, balanced by a gentle vein of ripe acidity.
2016 SPÄTBURGUNDER Sonnenberg [33 18] (JULG78216A)
From the original Sonnenberg vineyard in Germany. We are back up to 100% new wood after a reduction last year, but the dark dense fruit easily absorbs it. This is fresh, seductive and fine, with silky tannins and a very long smooth mineral-driven finish. It will reward cellaring.
2016 SPÄTBURGUNDER 'S' (KELL92216A)
From 'younger' vines in the Morstein (around twenty-five years old) and others from B'rgel and Frauenberg. This is juicy, fresh and fine, with elegant raspberry and cherry fruit and a long elegant finish.
2016 DALSHEIM BÜRGEL GG Spätburgunder (KELL94216A)
There is fresh crunchy red-berry fruit here with notes of spice, fine tannins and a long creamy finish.
2016 FLÖRSHEIM FRAUENBERG GG Spätburgunder (KELL96216A)
There is much more structure here than in the other reds from the estate, and it is more for the long haul. The fruit is dense, spicy and fresh, the tannins pronounced but balanced and elegant, and the finish extremely long.
Weingut Holger Koch
2016 PINOT NOIR Herrenstück [13 17] (KOCH40216A)
There is fresh cherry fruit with a hint of cassis on the nose; on the palate it is smooth and fresh, with lots of energy, lightness and intensity.
2016 PINOT NOIR* [15 17] (KOCH44216A)
Bright and spicy, with fresh crushed red fruit and vibrant mineral flavours.
2016 PINOT NOIR*** [16 17] (KOCH46216A)
From the estate's best site, the Halbuck, a terraced vineyard with poor loess soils on volcanic rock: grapes ripen more slowly here than in other vineyards on the estate. Cool, crushed raspberry fruit on the nose is joined on the palate by fresh cherry and fine clean juicy minerality; the finish is long, intense and meltingly smooth.
2016 PINOT NOIR RESERVE LO2/18 (KOCH50216A)
The top selection from the Halbuck vineyard. There is more whole-bunch fermentation and more new wood than in Holger Koch's other wines, and it is built to last. It has all the requirements: bags of fruit, vibrant acidity and smooth minerality all in perfect balance, leading to a very long finish.
2016 PINOT NOIR [30 18] Niederberg Helden (SCLI80216A)
Oh ye of little faith. We offered Thomas Haag's Pinot Noir years ago, and while extremely well-made, we were not excited by the quality of the fruit, due in our opinion to the clones rather than the way the vines were cultivated. Several years on we tried a bottle of 2011, and were amazed by the quality: it was silky, balanced and fine. So here is the wine again. It is delicate, strawberry-fruited and light, with a smoky edge and a long smooth finish, and well worth getting your hands on!
2016 SPÄTBURGUNDER [02 18] (SHEL20216A)
A seductive, aromatic wine full of crushed red fruit and spicy smoky notes. There is a fresh, playful note to this wine, and elements of smoke and spice to add complexity to the long fine finish. One of the biggest bangs your buck can get.
2016 PINOT NOIR [03 18] (SHEL30216A)
Made from small-berried Dijon clones around forty years old. There is sweet ripe morello cherry fruit, fine gentle tannins and a discreet frame of new oak, leading to a long fresh finish.
2016 PINOT NOIR N114 [04 18] (SHEL36216A)
N114: a French road' No, this new wine is named after the number of the bunker on the Canadian airbase housing Hans-Bert and Silke's their first wine-making efforts. The smallest bunches from the oldest vines in their Nordweil vineyard were harvested a little earlier and vinified separately, giving a single barrique of intense, cherry-fruited wine that easily swallows its new oak. There are hints of cinnamon and smoke, silky tannins and a fine gentle minerality that emerges on a beautifully long finish.
2015 TSCHUPPEN SPÄTBURGUNDER (ZIER48215A)
A high clay content in the soil gives structure and an appealing juicy quality to the forward cherry fruit, and the finish is rich and long.
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