Word is that the incredibly long growing season, a result of early flowering and an even, cool growing season have yielded a great crop of wines. Well my blind tasting group put them to the test this past week with some interesting results!
I am a huge fan of Kabinett level wines since they marry low alcohol and a light sweetness to a delicate structure that allows for the complex interplay of fruit, mineral and savory that makes Riesling so compelling. As you move up the Pradikat scale the wines get, bigger, potentially sweeter and more intense, yet they begin to speak more of the grapes themselves and less of the intangible notion of time, place, and grape that wine geeks call terroir.
So the question was, do these 2007 Kabinetts show terroir and are they the light and elegant Kabinetts of days gone by or is this another vintage of big powerful, very ripe Kabinetts that could be used as exhibit A for global warming. It's time to find out! Keep reading to see highlights from the blind tasting or see my complete notes here.
The outliers exceed expectations.When many people think of German Riesling they tend to focus on the Mosel river valley. While our selection of Middle Mosel wines was solid, the stars of the tasting came from some less frequently talked about regions. On opposite ends of the Mosel one finds the Saar to the west, with their steely, gorgeously nervous wines and the Rheingau and Nahe to the east with their decidedly more voluptuous character. From our small sample it looks like there are treasure to mine all along these shores!
Von Hovel Oberemmeler Hutte Riesling Kabinett (2007)
My wine of the tasting, coming from the Saar, was this sharp, crisp, lacy wine with a brilliant, zesty finish. Delicious today and so precise it is captivating on its own! Textbook Saar Riesling!
Donnhoff Kreuznacher Kahlenberg Kabinett (2007)
Since Donnhoff is my favorite German producer I wasn't surprised that this bottling from the Nahe was my #2 wine, with a knockout bouquet and exceptional depth, this is going to be special.
Weingut Josef Leitz Rudesheimer Klosterlay Riesling Kabinett (2007)
A great value for years, this wine from the Rheingau is tight and coiled with its minerally, minty, crisp fruit energy bound up like a spring.
Schafer-Frohlich Riesling Kabinett (2007)
Rounding out my top 4 was another wine from the Nahe, which offered up an amazing bouquet and packed a punch while remaining surprisingly airy and transparent.
The Middle Mosel needs time to catch up.While the wines of the Nahe, Saar, and Rheingau really spoke of their origins, the examples we had from the Middle Mosel, while beautiful examples of Riesling, didn't scream Mosel as we had expected. This may just be a case of timing but perhaps these perfectly ripe grapes had it just a little too easy this year and lost the edge to their brethren from less exalted locales.
Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Kabinett (2007)
Willi Schaefer has been on a roll and this year is no different as he delivers a wine packed with fruit, spice and herb tones. This will benefit from time in the cellar.
Joh. Jos. Prum Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett (2007)
And speaking of wines for the cellar JJ Prum's wines always seem to start off slowly and while this vintage is no different the succulent fruit and liquid mineral on the midpalate shows flashes of brilliance today. As usual this should emerge from the cellar as a classic beauty.
Well the results were not definitive, at least not yet. What I can surmise from this limited tasting is that the Saar, Nahe, and Rheingau undoubtedly benefitted from the long hang time and moderate temperatures of the vintage. The Middle Mosel may ultimately lack some typicity, but I'll still lay down some of that Prum!