Gauging the Future for Germany's 2009s

by Chuck Hayward

Gauging the Future for Germany's 2009s

Post by Chuck Hayward | January 26th, 2011

2010 proved to be a milestone year for German wines at JJ Buckley. Sales were very strong—our best year ever—as consumers took advantage of our many incredible offerings. We plan to pay more attention to this segment of the market in 2011 in an effort to expand our selection while keeping an eye out for great pricing, of course.

A Tub Full of Pfalz

With that resolution in mind, a small contingent of the JJ Buckley staff took advantage of the opportunity to sample some of the 2009s coming out of Germany.  A tasting of this acclaimed vintage was presented by Terry Theise, one of the America's most vigorous advocates of German wines. Not only do his tastings offer the trade a great chance to assess the vintage but also the opportunity to get some firsthand information from winemakers in attendance. 

Johannes Selbach of Selbach-Oster Pours 2009 Zeltinger Riesling

To make the best evaluation, I headed straight for Johannes Selbach, owner of Selbach-Oster, which is the gem in the Theise portfolio. Producing a scant 12,000 cases annually, his wines always highlight what Mosel rieslings are all about: great aromas and flavors of pears and crisp apples wrapped around a spine of slate-laden minerals, highlighting the soils of each vineyard. Pristine and flavorful, Selbach-Oster's wines show the character of each site in a precise and focused manner. His 2009s typified the character of the vintage, showing great purity of fruit on the nose with concentrated palate textures that are never overbearing. His best wines, a focused Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Kabinett and a textured Graacher Domprobst Spatlese, accentuated the fruit along with the racy minerals that makes Selbach's wines so beguiling.

Johannes Selbach (l) with Wine Consultant Steve Kopp

"2009 was a great vintage across the board," said Johannes. "Nature cooperated in every way." He thought much of the vintage's intensity came from the small harvest, down 20-25% from 2008. He also noted that "2010 is an even smaller harvest, the smallest I've seen in my lifetime" with yields 30% down from 2009. He recommended snapping up 2009s as there will be little 2010s available. "Many wines from this vintage [2009] are already sold out and when summer comes, we will have nothing left to offer our clients." While we already have a handful of 2009 German wines in stock, you can bet we'll take his advice and load up more right away!