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German wines, mostly 2003

by Tom Cannavan, 02/05

2001 and 2002 were already acknowledged as excellent vintages for the Mosel, then 2003 came along - one of the hottest, driest vintages ever recorded - a candidate as vintage of the century for those wine producers who could manage the higher alcohols and lower acid levels. With quantities down by 20% in most areas, there is an upward pressure on German wine prices, but this selection is of lower priced wines which French & Logan see as ideal as everyday quaffers, or as an introduction to the range of German wine styles. As such, they put together a very nice selection for this tasting.

Tasted blind. Prices in pounds sterling

Messmer (Germany, Pfaltz) Portugueser Weissherbst 2003
This pretty pink wine has a nicely pungent, herbal, but sweet nose, with suggestions of redcurrant and raspberry fruit. On the palate there's a fair dollop of sweetness and more soft, juicy red fruit, with sufficient lively acidity to keep it in check. Easy drinking and good. £6.49

Messmer (Germany, Pfaltz) Riesling Kabinett Trocken 2003
Very pale green, with lots of apple fruit on the nose. Definitely off-dry on the palate (despite the Trocken designation) with lovely balance and lots of bright, crisp pear fruit and quite a gentle, buttery finish. Good/very good. £6.49

Messmer (Germany, Pfaltz) Muskateller Kabinett Trocken 2003
Much sweeter, grapey and floral on the nose, with a suggestion of crunchy Asian pear and sherbet. On the palate there is a rush of sweetness, and a powerful, grippy wine with plenty of tang and zip, noticeable alcohol and a long, lingering sweet finish. Fascinating stuff and very good indeed. £7.99

Kurt Hain (Germany, M-S-R) Piesporter Goldtröpchen Kabinett 2002
Pale green colour, and nice nose between a sherbetty, mineral finesse and a waxy, developing paraffin note. There is gorgeous sweetness here, with a really ripe core of intense floral-edged, nectarine fruit. Racy mineral acidity re-emerges in the finish, in a lovely wine that I thought was very good indeed, and I bought some at this price (and some of the Muskateller). £5.95

Kurt Hain (Germany, M-S-R) Riesling Kabinett Halbtrocken 2003
This "half-dry" wine is much more apple-scented and crisp, with lots of white fruit character on the nose. Lots of sweetness emerges on the palate, with a fine, racy core of citrus fruit. Poised and well-balanced, this has very good quality. Very good. £5.95

Karlsmühle (Germany, M-S-R) Riesling Patheiger Spätlese 2001
This has a very pale yellow/green colour and an intense, concentrated nose of minerals and summer flowers, with a hint of waxy lemon peel. On the palate there is a really tangerine orange quality to both fruit and acidity, that cuts through the sweet, concentrated grape and ripe apple fruit. Lovely finesse and length here too in a wine that is very good indeed, possibly excellent at the modest price. £8.49