Germany, Wine Reviews

German Riesling 2012 Kabinett & Auslese


The 2012 Germany Riesling vintage is powerful and intense like “lots of violins being played together pianissimo”. There is a real drama to this vintage and the best seem to sweep you up in their drama. The yields are very low this year (down by 50%), particularly in the Mosel – no wonder there is no slouching: they are pure and focused, up and at ’em at first light and not lolling about all day in bed in their silk sheets all day (although you know they want to).

Hear the orchestra warming up down before the stage. The last of the violins have stopped their tuning of the strings, the murmuring voices stop and there is a tap from the conductor. Here is my dream flight of the Riesling:


5. Saarburger Rausch Kabinett #04 13 Zilliken (Saar)

A five-star Saar. Velvet texture rolling over the palate in waves. Mouth-watering spicy tropical fruit with real energy and vibrancy.

4. Rotschiefer Kabinett, Van Volxem (Saar)

Incredible power behind the fruit, off-dry high-definition Van Volxem brilliance. A must.

3. Brauneberger Kabinett, Fritz Haag (Mosel)

This Mosel is to dry white wine as pearlescent is to matte. Beautiful, elaborate finish, symphonic Mosel.

2. Oberhauser Leistenberg Kabinett, Donnhoff (Nahe)

Perfectly proportioned and poised. Movement of the fruit across the palate – like opening up an expensive Swiss watch and watching the minute precision that each component has to play.

1. Maximin Gruhauser Abstber Kabinett, C. von Schubert (Ruwer)

The depth and density of the fruit could only be described as profound. Brought tears to my eyes! I can not write anymore * throw notes out the window *. 7.5% alcohol



Not much Auslese made this year, and with very little botyritis in 2012, this is a small miracle selection. Intense fruit sweetness, almost use the word “condensed” as in condensed milk is to normal milk. (I have never used milk as an analogy for wine in my life! Weird. That’s what excellent Riesling does to me… stretching the imagination with both left and right brain firing at once).

5. Niederhauser Hermannshohle Spatlese, Hermann Donnhoff (Nahe)

“One of God’s five a day”, I very helpfully wrote, “What it would be like to buy fruit in a supermarket in heaven – Celestial fruit. Flavours of the Ideal of fruit” Yes, I go a bit crazy with Riesling and Donnhoff – it sparks a million ideas per mouthful. That is exactly why I love it.

4. Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Auslese #6, Fritz Haag (Mosel)

Full-throttle Auslese. Imagine you could find “Mosel” essential oil – then you would only need a few drops to dab on your pulse points. Not such a bad idea – buy it as a perfume.

3. Maximin Grunhauser Herrenberg Auslese #25, C. von Schubert (Ruwer)

Condensed the taste of stone fruit into one single powerful idea. Or a beautiful maxim. Incredible density of flavours on the mid-palate with dancing acidity on the edges.

2. Maximin Grunhauser Abstberg Auslese, C. von Schubert (Ruwer)

There is just an uplifting feeling to the aromas on first approach. A great freshness and minerality thrilling through intense fruit – it feels alive or is that me? What the hell is going on – absolutely wicked.

1. Graacheer Himmelreich Auslese #09, Willi Schaefer (Mosel)

This is the sort of wine that you would remember and you would look back with the person you had it with and cherish the memory. Do you really need a shopping list of fruit? What is more interesting is the sweet and salt working together. Adorable and delicious.


Immense. Thank you Howard Ripley wines for your tasting yesterday.

Image: A painting on the wall in the tasting room, Middle Temple Hall