Did the Mosel hit the bull’s eye three times in a row? It seems so. The finest of the 2017 wines are simply amazing … and there is perfection at the top! Here is the story.
The vintage started at high speed, with bud break well ahead of long-term average. Unfortunately, frost hit the region around April 20 and affected the finest vineyards particularly hard, where the young shoots were the most developed.
Overall, the yields were contracted by 30-40% (if not more), the highest losses since the 1991 vintage.
The weather proved fortunately dry and warm for the remainder of the spring, allowing for a perfect and early flowering and a disease free growth.
The much needed rain then came in July and August, which were actually quite wet and furthered growth. Unfortunately, Graach and Traben-Trarbach were hit hard by a devastating hailstorm.
September proved wet but fortunately cool, and gave the growers a bit of stress as botrytis, and sometimes rot, developed fast and early. The advance of nature led many Estates to start their Riesling harvest already in September, a first for many growers.
The weather cooled down which limited the development of botrytis and gave growers some time to make the necessary selections. Botrytis developed early and then late, which gave the opportunity to also make some high-end botrytized selections.
The low yields and the possibility for botrytis selections meant that there was little incentive to gamble for Eiswein: None was eventually produced..
Many 2017 wines combine the ripe delicacy of 2011 with the zesty presence of 2015. The wines have quite some concentration, a byproduct of the low yields, which gives them an imposing side.
Tucked among its midst, there are wines that are among the finest we have tasted in 25 years of Mosel visits. The musts came in at rather high levels of sugar and high levels of acidity. 2017 saw plenty of botrytized selections (Auslese, BA and TBA).
Overall, the Saar and Ruwer wines prove fresher and more playful than the Mosel, but there are many stunning exceptions. The true downside of this vintage are the yields: They are down significantly, and often little or no Estate wines was produced.
The vintage is a stunner at the top and generated some of the finest Riesling ever made. However quality is not uniform and there has been some heavy declassification: More than ever, tasting or following advice is critical.
There are few “light” Kabinett but lovers of elegantly vibrant Spätlese and Auslese should consider the 2017 Kabinett and Spätlese on offer. Whoever is partial to vibrant and pure BA and TBA should have a close eye on the finest 2017 offerings: They are stunning! Some truly great dry and dry-tasting Riesling was possible when mastering the power and acidity of the vintage.
Readers should keep a close eye on the unusual complexity and elegance of Estate wines. 2017 is a vintage in which the “second tier” growers did outstandingly well: There are many bargains and discoveries to be made.
A detailed report of the above summary, complemented by 20 detailed Estates reviews and over 380 tasting notes, was published in the Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 41 (Jun 2018) which covers Part I of our extensive 2017 Mosel Vintage Report.
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© Text by Mosel Fine Wines "The Independent Review of Mosel Riesling ... and beyond!"
Disclaimer: Mosel Fine Wines is an independent publication and has no commercial relationship with any Estate, association or organization featured in this article.