The outlook for the 1987 vintage as little as a month before
the harvest looked grim. The doomsday prophets appeared to be
winning. The now sensational pronouncement of von Kesselstatt
proprietor Guenther Reh indicating that his 1987 vintage was only
good for the production of sparkling wine, was in the end caught
with foot in mouth. His likeness was burned in effigy by
frustrated and angry Mosel growers. It was a vintage for Yogi
Berra's famous axiom the 1987 vintage simply was not over
until it was over!
After a long, hard winter with temperatures as low as 20o
C (4o F) an eagerly awaited spring arrived in late
March. Clean up and cutting in the vineyards was not completed
until early April. Buds appeared late in the Ruwer and Saar areas
but on schedule everywhere else. Foliage came into view in early
May and a speedy flowering in late June, early July allowed for a
good set. However, a sudden heatwave near mid July caused a lot
of the fruitbuds to shed. This poor flowering propensity of
Riesling, the Germans call verrieseln or durchrieseln, results in
significantly reduced yields. Most of the summer was cool and
rainy. Sunshine was 150 hours below the norm and rainfall was
significantly above average. Vigilance and careful watch were
required since this type of vegetation cycle stimulates sickness
and pests in the vineyards. By mid September only the Riesling
could still profit from a sunny fall and indeed it did! A late,
golden October boosted sugar levels significantly. The sun
combining with light, dry winds brought an unexpected late
upsurge in the quality of the vintage. For example, at Hans
Wirsching in Franconia, one week increased sugars by 11 Oechsle
(almost 3 Brixs).
The harvest started in the last week of October and was completed by mid November.
Eisweins were produced by a number of estates on the 9th and 10th of December.
Yield varied anywhere from 50 to 80 hl/hectars and was often 3035 percent
below normal resulting from the problems (verrieseln) in the post flowering
period already discussed. Mustweights reached over 85 Oechsle in the MoselSaarRuwer
region and rose above 90 Oechsle in the Rheinpfalz, Franconia and Baden.
Acids in the must ranged from 1.1 to 1.6 gm/liter with the tartaric acid
constituent over 50 percent. The must also had very high extract a result
of low yield and high mineral content, especially potassium. The latter
moderates the loss of acidity during fermentation. The vintage easily
surpasses 1978, 1980 and 1984 in quality. The structure of the wines reminds
of the 1985s without the ripeness. Expect superb QbA's and Kabinett wines
that have very good aging potential. What follows is a preliminary vintage
assessment for the estates in our offering: (Note: All mustweight expressed
in Oechsle; 4 Oechsle equal approx. 1 Brix)
Estates by region
Quantity was 30% below normal. Mustweights varied from 65 to
85 Öchsle, sugarfree extracts were significantly above normal as
were acid levels ranging from 1.15to 1.45 gm/liter. Only 30% QbA,
60% Kabinett and 10% Spätlese. Tasted a fantastic 1987 QbA (3%
RS and 1.1 gm/liter acidity), loaded with fruit, several 1987
Kabinetts showed excelled fruit (red currants, to tropical
fruit), the 1987 Spätleses were sappy, rich, surely some of the
best wines of the vintage.
Quantity was 35 percent below normal. Must weights reached 86
Öchsle in the Erdener Prälat; very high acids and extracts; 75%
predicate wines. Tasted four different 1987 Kabinetts that were
packed with fruit with very aggressive acids; four 1987
Spätleses from a very lively Ürziger to a very fine, elegant
Prälat. Amongst the best wines of the vintage.
Yield was below normal at 70 hl/ha. Must weights from 60 to 79
Öchsle. Acid levels 1.1 to 1.5 gm/liter with 50% tartaric acid.
45% QbA and 55% Kabinett with possible Spätleses in the Wehlener
and Zeltinger Sonnenuhr. No wines available for tasting.
DR. F. WEINSPRÜM
Yield was 60% of normal. Must weights ranged from 75 Öchsle
in the Graacher Himmelreich, to 77 Öchsle in the Wehlener
Sonnenuhr, to 78 Öchsle in Ürziger Würzgarten and 83 Öchsle
in the Erdener Prälat. Acid levels extended from 1.3 gm/liter to
1/5 gm/liter with up to 2/3 tartaric. 60% QbA and 40% Kabinett
and 600 liter Erdener Prälat Spätlese. The 1987 Dr. F.
WeinsPrüm Riesling will make a nice addition to our growing
list of estate QbA's. 1987 Kabinett wines show good potential and
the 1987 Erdener Prälat Spätlese shows ripe apple fruit with
very good ripe acids providing for lots of life on the palate.
Yield below normal at 56 hl/ha. Mustweight to 77 Öchsle in
the Wehlener Sonnenuhr. Acid levels 1.3 to 1.6 gm/liter. About
45% QbA and 55% Kabinett with possibly 500 liter of Spätlese.
The 1987 estate Riesling tasted very fresh, crisp and intense
a good food wine. The 1987 Kabinett wines show very aggressive
acid hiding fruit and finesse. The 1987 Spätlese will probably
be offered as Kabinett. 67% of the wines will be trocken or halb
Yield below normal with mustweights to 78 Öchsle. Acid levels
to 1.5 gm/liter with over 50% tartaric. Most QbA was sold, but
three Fuders were kept. In addition there were 20 Fuders Kabinett
and four Fuders Spätlese. The 1987 Wehlener Spätlese showed
good underlying fruit with very good acidity.
Wwe. DR. THANISCH Erben
Yield here was average with 80 hl/ha. Must weights ranged to
80 Öchsle in the Doctor vineyard. Acid levels varied from 1.1 to
1.7 gm/liter and over 50% tartaric. 60% QbA and 40% Kabinett in
the Bernkasteler Doctor and Badstube and the Brauneberger Juffer
Sonnenuhr. The 1987 Bernkasteler Badstube QbA showed nice apple
fruit; the 1987 Bernkasteler Doctor Kabinett good fruit, spicy,
slate background, balance.
Yield was average at 80 hl/ha. Must weight to 79 Öchsle and
acids to 1.3 gm/liter with 60% tartaric. 2/3 QbA and 1/3
Predicate wines with possibly two Fuders Spätlese. 1987 Juffer
QbA intense honeysuckle fruit; the 1987 Juffer Sonnenuhr Kabinett
rich, ripe, peach fruit, very fine.
Yield below normal at 60 hl/ha. Must weight to 90 Öchsle for
a diligently selected Spätlese. Acids to 1.6 gm/liter with over
60% tartaric. 52 % QbA and 48% Predicate wines. Painstaking
selection is a hallmark at Fritz Haag. The 1987 Mandelgraben
Kabinett, for example, was selected from the sunny side of the
vines only and is 100% Kerner; it has wonderful gooseberry, melon
fruit and excellent balance. The 1987 F. Haag Riesling is again
superb. The 1987 Juffer Sonnenuhr Spätlese has botrytis and a
richness not found anywhere in this vintage. The very top of the
Average harvest approximately 80 hl/ha. Must weight to 75
Öchsle with acid levels from 1.3 to 1.5 gm/liter with over 50%
tartaric acid constituent. 80% QbA and 20% Kabinett from the
Trittenheimer Leiterchen, Felsenkopf and the Piesporter Hofberg.
Tasted the 1987 Milz Riesling, very clean apple fruit, crisp a
terrific food wine (1.5 RS, .96% acid). The three Kabinetts were
sprightly with pippin apple fruit, with stuffing and acids.
Quantity was slightly below normal. Must weights to the mid
seventies. 90.5% QbA and 9.5% Predicate wines. Vintage was much
better than originally expected. No wines available for tasting.
Harvest was normal at 80 hl/ha. Must weights to 70 Öchsle,
acid levels from 1.2 to 1.6 gm/liter with over 50% tartaric. Only
Piedmont Riesling will be offered in 1987, however, it will be of
Yield was 30% below normal. Only must between 65 to 72 Öchsle
was kept; the rest was sold in bulk. The must contained 1.5
gm/liter acidity with over 50% tartaric. Only 1987 von Hövel
Riesling will be offered. It showed a nice fruity nose, tart,
apple fruit on the palate. The high acidity was well buffered by
the high extract.
Harvest was 75% of normal. Must weights to 74 Öchsle. Again
1.5 gm/liter acidity with 50% of it tartaric. 40% QbA and 60%
Kabinett. The Kanzemer Berg showed in 1987 what a truly great
vineyard it is with the highest must weights in the northern Saar
area. Wines were not available for tasting.
20% below normal harvest. Must weights to 72 Öchsle. High
acidity and good percentage of tartaric acid. Look for 95% QbA
and possibly 5% Kabinett. The latter may also be sold as QbA. The
1987 estate Riesling has fabulous fruit, very lively, clean,
EGON MÜLLER SCHARZHOF
Slightly below normal yield. Must weights to 74 Öchsle with
very good acidity (1.5 g m/liter). 90% QbA and 10% Kabinett. On
both 12/9/87 and 12/10/87 Eiswein was produced. No 1987 wines
Below normal yield with must weight to 73 Öchsle in the
Saarburger Rausch. Good acids with good amount of tartaric acid
constituent, high extract. 90% QbA and 10% Kabinett. Eiswein
attempt on December 9 resulted in 330 liters of top Auslese in
the Saarburger Rausch.
Yield was average. The grapes at harvest were healthy and ripe (remind a little
of '85). Mustweights to 73 Öchsle. Diligently selected musts to 80 Öchsle
were added to the Kabinett wines. Acid levels 1.1 to 1.4 gm/liter. 91.5%
QbA with over 700 cases of excellent 1987 Kabinett that is clean, steely
with pippin apple fruit. On December 10th a Riesling Eiswein was produced.
Quantity slightly below average. Mustweights to 82 Öchsle.
The new Saar Canal put a sluice gate right below the Herrenberg
and Würtzberg vineyards. My prognosis for higher mustweights due
to this additional body of water came true in the first year.
They were in fact 46 Öchsle higher than anywhere along the Saar.
80% QbA and 20% Predicate wines. On December 9th and 10th several
Eisweins were produced: 300 liter Serriger Herrenberg (170
Öchsle), 500 liter Serriger Herrenberg (140 Öchsle) and 900
liter Eitelsbacher Marienholz at 115 (Öchsle).
Harvest was 20% below normal. Very high acids and extract.
Mustweight to 84 Öchsle. 65% QbA and 35% Kabinett wines as shown
in the offering of 1987 wines. Wines were not available for
tasting but Mr. Kranich vouches for powerful Kabinetts that have
great aging potential.
Quantity below average. Mustweights to 85 Öchsle. Acid levels
from 1.0 to 1.4 gm/liter and half tartaric. The musts had high
sugar free extract and mineral content (potassium). 80% QbA and
20% Kabinett in Ruedesheim. Too early to taste the 1987wines. On
12/9/87 150 liter Eiswein in the Ruedesheimer Bischofsberg was
harvested at 187 Öchsle.
Slightly below normal harvest with mustweights to 91 Öchsle.
Acid levels to 1.1 gm/liter with 70% tartaric. 60% QbA (Silvaner
is all QbA) and 40% Kabinett, possibly a few isolated Spätleses.
Fruit at harvest was very healthy and ripe. An attempt to make
Ehrenfelser Eiswein probably succeeded on 12/9/87.
Harvest slightly above average at 80 hl/ha with very good
quality. Mustweights to 92 Öchsle with good extracts. Acid
levels to 1.1 gm/liter and 2/3 tartaric acid. 20% QbA, 60%
Kabinett and 20% Spätlese. The 1987 Riesling Kabinett wines had
very ripe, peach fruit very lively, the 1987 Gewürztraminer
Kabinett was rich, fat, perfume. The two 1987 Spätleses showed
great depth with the Honigsäckel very elegant well structured
and the Weilberg very lively, racy, nervy, intense peach fruit.
Average harvest at 60 hl/ha. Mustweights reached 84 Öchsle in
the Bastei. Acid levels from 1.1 to 1.6 gm./liter and 50%
tartaric. 70% QbA, 28% Kabinett and 2% Spätlese in the Bastei.
All the 1987 wines tasted at this time were completely dry. The
wines have good Nahe Riesling fruit; melons, very clean, pure
with very good soil character, the Bastei was typically pungent
and earthy, but ripe fruit that will come up with time.
Quality was better than 1986, however quantity was 30% below
normal. Maximum mustweights for the various varietals ranged from
87 Öchsle for Riesling, to 94 Öchsle for Ruländer and to 91
Öchsle for Spätburgunder. Acid varied from 0.65 to 0.9 gm/liter
after the fermentation. The acid was 70% tartaric. 30% QbA and
70% Kabinett and Spätleses. Did not taste the 1987 wines but
plan to in June 1988.