German wines: the best since 1540
19 March 2004
DUSSELDORF – Thanks to last’s summer heatwave, the latest German vintage is proving the best since the immortal wines of 1540, according to Prince Michael of Salm-Salm, president of a group representing the country’s most prestigious wineries.
Only four bottles of wine from the greatest of all vintages have survived the four and a half centuries since, noted Salm-Salm, who heads the Federation of Predicate Vineyards VDP. He advises vintners not to sell the 2003 wine all at once but to stockpile it.
Last summer was not the sunniest on record in Germany’s Rhine and Moselle Valleys – that record was set in 1921 with a margin of 121 hours over 2003. But the hot and hazy weather was perfect to give the grapes maximum flavour.
The German pinot noirs, known as Spaetburgunder, had an unprecedented intensity of colour, a complex structure and were naturally sufficiently acid despite a powerful alcohol level, the prince said.
The VDP, which comprises 196 vineyards and only admits new members after stringent tests, expects to release for tasting the full ranges from 145 of its members at the Mainz Wine Exchange on April 25-26.
German export wine is gradually rising in quality after decades where the world picture of the product was dominated by cheap and cheerful blended brands such as Liebfraumilch while the top vineyards, often owned by aristocrats, sold to a select home market.
Subject: German News