Sommeliers, restaurateurs and merchants with a soft spot for individual interpretations of white Burgundian grapes can now expect an enormous range of styles here at a high, and in some cases very high, level. These range from cultivated but rather conservative cool-fermented white Pinots (as GGs, simply too expensive for open bar and terrace) to racy, reductive wines with firm freshness (especially in 2021) or easygoing, rather oxidative styles to large, rather classic wines as well-developed food companions (all from the 2020 vintage).
Pioneering Weiß- and Grauburgunder (Pinot Blanc and Gris) from Baden
Once again, Konrad Salwey's Pinots tower over the field. In numbers: Pinot Gris 95 (Eichberg) and 94 points (Henkenberg), the Pinot Blanc duo also 95 (Kirchberg) and 94 points (Steingrubenberg). Once again, they are also the "oldest" white Pinots, all from the 2019 vintage. Having three winters on the full lees, these barrel aged wines are and remain unique - and are qualitatively groundbreaking. Slightly less acidic than in the equally legendary and controversial 2017 vintage, but just as complex and exciting.
Easily visible is the field from Württemberg chasing close behind with two Pinot Gris: Rainer Schnaitmann's 2020 Lämmler (slightly less natural than the 2019, but hardly less high-class) and Friedrich Keller's Schlossberg 2020, both 93 points.
Clear Conditions for Chardonnay
Julian Huber is the frontrunner (with a very elegant, almost classic 96-point Schlossberg and the louder, contemporary heavily reductive Bienenberg with 95 points), followed closely by his buddy Friedrich Keller with a top Kirchberg (94 points) and a pleasantly low-key Hinter Winklen "Grass in the Oven" from Heger (93). Even if some producers improve here (e.g. Bercher and Stigler), there is still some room for improvement across the board - after all, Baden is considered one of the hotspots for high-quality Pinot varieties.
In Württemberg, Matthias Aldinger is once again showing everyone where the benchmark lies. His 2020 Weißburgunder Gips Marienglas is a prime example of noble, stylish winemaking including a sensitive touch for wood (94 points).
In the Pfalz, Philipp Kuhn's Kirschgarten Weissburgunder from 2020 is ahead (94 points and with a skilled use of wood, a fine, chalky style that combines smoothness and length), followed by the younger 2021 Kalmit-GG from the Kranz family (93 points) with the character of a terroir-driven Chablis Premier Cru.
Franken and Silvaner
21 wines, split almost in half between 2021 and 2020, with three first-rate established players once again coming out on top - Luckert's 2021 Maustal (94 points, earthy-spices and already confident in itself) and the Knolls' Stettener Stein (also 94, with even slightly lighter aromatics of sencha tea, jasmine and citrus, delicate, noble and very drinkable) ahead of Rudi May's 2021 Rothlauf (93 points and a pleasantly casual, yeasty-salty touch). Behind that, if criticism must be made, complexity and finesse sometimes drop quite significantly, and it becomes either (too) rustic or characterized by a security mindset of cold-fermented pure yeasts. It is also clear here that the 2021 vintage does not quite reach the potential of 2020. There is simply a lack of complexity.
- 2020 SCHLOSSBERG Chardonnay GG Huber
- 2019 EICHBERG Grauburgunder GG Salwey
- 2019 KIRCHBERG Weißburgunder GG Salwey
- 2020 BIENENBERG Chardonnay GG Huber
- 2019 HENKENBERG Grauburgunder GG Salwey
- 2019 STEINGRUBENBERG Weißburgunder GG Salwey
- 2020 KIRSCHGARTEN Weißburgunder GG Philipp Kuhn
- 2020 GIPS MARIENGLAS Weißburgunder GG Aldinger
- 2020 KIRCHBERG Chardonnay GG Franz Keller
- 2020 STEIN Silvaner GG Weingut am Stein
- 2021 MAUSTAL Silvaner GG Zehnthof Luckert
Reviews by Sascha Speicher and Christoph Nicklas