2007 German Vintage Report: Purity, Depth and Concentration Manifest

Posted by CrushWine

Just about everything you need to know about the 2007 German vintage, incorporating notes from Rudi Wiest, Therry Theise, Lars Carlberg of the Mosel Wine Merchant, Gernot Kollmann of Weingut Knebel and John Gilman of the newsletter A View from the Cellar.

Could it get any better than that?

Yes, it can because the great 2007ers of Germany are classics with just epic wines at the Kabinett and Spatlesen level while the Auslesen are good to very, very good. And unlike 2006 (not to mention 2005 and 2003) which produced opulent Auslesen and above at the expense of the featherweight Kabinetts, 2007 has it all. Shimmering Kabinetts, absolutely profound Spatlesen, Auslesens that are clean and sleek... Wow.

The Crush 2007 German Vintage Report

John Gilman's quote here is very interesting: "In several ways the 2007 vintage in Germany mirrors the 2005 red Burgundy vintage, as both vintages produced marvelously ripe grapes from long hang times and which also sport higher than average acidities and promise marvelous evolution in the bottle." John Gilman, A View from the Cellar

It is a vintage that boasts the longest hang times in history (150+ days compared to the usual 100) while cool summer weather and downright chilly nights kept acidities high and slowed down the ripeness. This is fruit that developed at a measured pace and the wines flaunt a nearly unfathomable, almost tactile depth and resonance. Take into consideration the breadth of greatness here and 2007 may very well prove to be one of the most stunning vintages of the last two decades.

Get your cellars ready!

We are offering out the best of the 2007 vintage as they come down the pipeline. Here is what is currently available, either in the store or on a pre-arrival basis:

- A.J. Adam

- Donnhoff
- Emrich-Schonleber
- Paul Furst
- Fritz Haag
- Theo Haart
- Karthuaserhof
- Keller
- Egon Muller
- Muller-Catoir
- J.J. Prum
- Willi Schaefer
- Schafer-Frohlich
- Schloss Lieser
- Van Volxem
- Von Schubert
- Wittmann

- Zilliken

Keep checking back though, because more is on its way!

Click the button below to view the entire 2007 German inventory.

Vintage report continues below...

Snapshot of a Vintage

From estate to Kabinett on up, you're going to enjoy wines with a full, pure, transparent ripeness, just shimmering morning fruit glowing around a cool blue core of minerals and acidity. This is a generous vintage and one to stock up on, because though prices are rising, they are unlikely to go down and as more and more people catch on to the incredible values these wines represent, it's only going to get worse. As John Gilman notes, "...the German wine booths were by far the most crowded at Prowein this year, which to my mind is further indication that the golden age of pricing bargains for German wines is not going to last a whole lot longer, as more and more wine lovers are discovering the greatness of these wines each year, and which may further underscore the urgency of laying in more 2007ers than you may believe now that you will need down the road."

For the Wine Geeks out there, vintage comparisons are just too much fun not to indulge in.

The legendary German importer, and good friend of the store, Rudi Wiest writes the following in his vintage report: "Imagine something like 2004, but with the mineral and acid tension found in better '01 Mosel selections. Now blend this classic arrangement with a fruit silhouette similar to '05, only more intricate. Then there's the acidity, which is so beautifully integrated, ripe and mouthwatering it lingers on the palate for minutes." One more line: "The wines are crystalline pure and possess exceptional fruit intensity. Combine these basic traits and you'll have very good idea of what '07 is all about."

The linguistically gifted Terry Theise, for his part, places 2007 as "somewhere between 2002 and 2001, and more homogenous than either." He continues, "2007 usually enters the palate fruity and then gives way to a riptide of minerality and acidity. I wrote, 'The wines enter as liquids and leave as solids,' and this nails it."

The quiet Scholar Lars Carlberg of the Mosel Wine Merchant and Gernot Kollmann, winemaker at Weingut Knebel, say that you truly have to distinguish between the Middle Mosel, Saar and Ruwer and the Lower Mosel - where Clemens Busch, Knebel and Stein are located. The Lower Mosel, this forgotten region of insanely steep terraces that has reemerged on the scene thanks to the wildly complex wines of producers like Clemens Busch and Knebel, excelled in 2007 as well. In fact, there really are no comparisons with recent vintages. Because of the early flowering, harvest was earlier than normal though ripeness levels were perfect - more than in both 2001 and 2004 - while extract levels were very high (highest in 10 years in fact). This may account for the clearer, more-mineral, site-specific character of the 2007s. Watch the Lower Mosel in 2007!

Just the Facts

2007 presented growers (and scared the hell out of them) with an outrageously early bud break and the earliest flowering in history (about the third week of May). By late spring, most growers were worrying about a super-early harvest anywhere form late August to late September.

Then, gloriously and like a gift from a German-speaking god, came a cool summer. Sun and rain were metered out in almost ideal proportions. Cloudy days delayed ripening while cool nights kept the grapes energized and fresh. Rains during the middle part of summer were beneficial allowing vines to pull more nutrients from the soil and build up the healthy extract levels that contribute to the vintage's ridiculous length and concentration.

When September came - which is a crucial period where rains can devastate a vintage - sunshine dominated the scene. Throughout September the nights remained cool. Hang times were cruising towards setting records. While most German growers are pleased with 100 days of hang time, many have reported 120-150 days or more in 2007. The most remarkable thing is that sugars developed conservatively. Rudi Wiest writes in his vintage report that, "In fact must weights were markedly reserved given the extended hang time, with the October measurements only slightly higher than the September readings." While sugars were developing slowly, the increased hang time gave the grapes a chance to pull everything they could from the soil.

Think of it this way: Which stew are you more interested in? The one that was microwaved in 45 seconds or the one that's been simmered since late morning?

The beautiful weather continued throughout October allowing pickers to work thoughtfully and unrushed for 4-6 weeks or more (in stark contrast to the harried 2006 vintage.) They were met by pristine grapes and such beautiful weather that they were often walking the vineyards in T-shirts. The majority of the grapes were of Kabinett and Spatlese ripeness which makes 2007 unique in and of itself - forget that these Kabinett and Spatlesen are also extraordinarily good. Both of these categories - Kabinett and Spatlese - are very likely the stars of the vintage with such purity and site specific characteristics that each wine has a story to tell in minerals, cool fruits and zingy acidities that are woven into the intense sensation of rich and well-defined extract on the palate. It's exhilarating to taste the entire lineup of a producer in 2007 and watch each vineyard strut its stuff with such distinction.

Much less plentiful are Auslesen of similar verve and transparency, though they're out there - see Haag, Schloss Lieser, Haart... Unlike 06, there was not an abundance of BAs and TBAs. However, many of the 2007 BAs and TBAs are so vibrant and pure that they render one speechless. One grower even commented that seeing botrytis as dry and clean as it was in 2007 is something that a winemaker may only see once in his lifetime.

A Word on Pricing!

2007 in Germany looks to be a heartbreakingly superb vintage and frankly were it not for the sulking dollar this would probably be the vintage destined to, once and for all, mark the triumphant return of great German wines back into the mainstay of American food and wine culture. (More on why the higher prices are really not that high below.)

Yes, prices are going to be higher than you're probably used to for many wines. We are not taking higher margins, neither are the importers. German winemakers are not raising prices to finance an exorbitant lifestyle full of plush leather and martinis by the poolside at noon. The truth is there are three basic culprits to blame: The weak dollar, the rising fixed expenses for German winemakers (prices of bottles have apparently gone through the roof) and the fact that making great wine in Germany requires A TON OF WORK!

There's something noticeably absent in most great German winemaking regions: the tractor. In many cases what these brave vintners call "vineyards" are really steep, precipitous, jaw dropping, vertigo-inspiring, barf-bag necessitating slopes that require hundreds and hundreds of man-hours to cultivate and harvest.

In fact Terry Theise writes that most of his vintners have really held the line in 2007 and he says, "Thank our new best friends in China-India-Norway-Sweden, who can pay the asking price and who are in effect subsidizing us dirt-poor Yanks."

What can we say? Except maybe "Thank you!"

The Winemakers

Helmut Donnhoff

Unsurprisingly, Helmut Donnhoff's 2007ers are stellar. These are wines of intense concentration, beautiful elegance and captivating terroir nuances. The lineup may actually be the most compelling to come from this perennially over-performing estate in years - better than the 2001ers? The entire range of Spatlesen - Helmut's favorite category because of its ability to emphasize terroir - is superb. The Hermannshohle is of course spectacular (with the appropriate consumer demand), but his new vineyard Kreuznacher Krotenpfuhl is one of the vintage's surprises: It has an earthiness that is nicely measured and adds complexity to the wine's rounded peach fruits, lime and grape fruit zest. However, to begin to grasp the quality of Donnhoff's 2007ers, one doesn't have to go any further than the Estate Riesling. Donnhoff believes that it is the finest he's ever made. For all its concentration and fascination, the tariff is almost laughable. The same can be said for his two Kabinetts. Herr Donnhoff also turned out what may be his finest trio of dry wines to date from the Delchen, Felsenberg, and Hermannshohle vineyards. Both the Hermannshohle and Brucke Auslese possess a devastating purity; the Brucke Eiswein a masterpiece, as is to be expected.

Click the button below to view the entire 2007 German inventory.

Paul Furst

Paul Furst's "pur mineral" bottlings - a Muller-Thurgau and a Weissburgunder (aka Pinot Blanc) were among the first bottles tasted at Rudi Wiest's 2007 preview tasting and WOW were they a worthy introduction to the vintage. The Muller-Thurgau "pur mineral" was a tour-de-force wine with an extraordinary perfume, crunchy mineral texture and mindblowing length - and keep in mind Muller-Thurgau is typically just a workhorse grape! The Pinot Blanc "pur mineral" is outrageous, a wine that does honor to this stunningly floral grape with an obvious complexity, great layers of fruit and an intense saline minerality. Pinot Blanc is a grape that just has to become more popular because when it's done with care and thought, the wines it produces are just so good - this is one of the best examples we've tasted in a LONG time. Do not overlook these wines.

Click the button below to view the entire 2007 German inventory.

Fritz Haag

2007 marks the best young Haag collection we've tasted. Often the wines of the Fritz Haag estate (with young Oliver at the helm - his father Wilhelm is photographed above) are somewhat perplexing in their youth - their understatement and delicacy can seem somehow vague. None of this in 2007. Here, the quality is obvious - downright radiant and at the Rudi Wiest tasting they confidently declared themselves amongst the best in the room - if not the best. Haag's 2007s possess their signature racy elegance, but with an immediacy that makes the profound depth of the wine vividly apparent. The fruit in 2007, though impregnated with rocks and transparent terroir, seems also somehow more vivid, more exuberant and more exotic than in past vintages. Outrageous wines and a must for any serious German cellar.

Click the button below to view the entire 2007 German inventory.

Reinhold Haart

Haart's wines always make their presence known on the palate. They are substantial and textured, hedonistic and Baroque though with such delicate detail, filigree and finesse. In a sense, these wines represent the intersection of Mosel raciness and Rheingau magnitude. We have selected a number of his wines from the Goldtropchen Vineyard because, for all intense and purposes, Theo Haart is currently producing THE defining Piesporter Goldtropchen, a wine that just showers the palate with delicate honeyed, floral notes with outrageous ripeness and beautiful clarity. Is there a more seductive wine in the Middle Mosel? 2007 represents a stunning collection and his Kabinett "Erste Lage" is one of those "humble" wines that will very likely be absolutely PROFOUND with 10-20 years in the cellar.

Click the button below to view the entire 2007 German inventory.


This famed Ruwer Valley estate produces wines with a nearly unmistakable mineral-driven style, Rieslings that are almost ethereal with a floral, herbal charm. In 2007, the wines impressed us across the board though the Spatlese Trocken was (forgive us) rockin'. It's as if the long hang times of 2007 have given these wines an added power and presence that we have never encountered before at Karthauserhof without the wines losing their unapologetic core of minerals and dewy, forest-floor notes. The 2007 Spatlese Trocken has a presence and depth to it with such massive amounts of extract that it almost drinks like the special selection "Trocken S" that the estate produces in miniscule quantities. This is a banging bottle of Ruwer Riesling.

Click the button below to view the entire 2007 German inventory.


The 2007ers at Muller-Catoir are wines of brilliant expressiveness, racy acidity, pristine clarity and spell-binding uniqueness. Winemaker Martin Franzen, who has long languished in the shadow of former cellar master Hans-Gunther Schwarz, turned out a line-up of wines that command attention and respect. Among the highlights are a beautiful Scheurebe Haarter Mandelring Spatlese with its exotic melange of black spices, grapefruit and lemon thyme. There is also an absolutely psychotic (in a beautiful and good way) Rieslaner Haardter Herzog Auslese made from non-botrytis shriveled grapes. The wine is squeaky clean and precise with a cascade of exotic flourishes, smoke, lemon, and flowers. The estate's BA and TBAs are likely to be some of the best of the vintage. Martin Franzen said that the botrytis was so dry and clean that a winemaker may only see it once in a lifetime. The Gimmeldinger Schlossel BA had a captivating litheness and excellent length. The Riesling Haardter Breumel In Den Maurern TBA had an absolutely electric palate with a divine elegance, fresh cut, and serious complexity. The Haardter Burgergarten TBA was full of apply perfumed purple flowers, citrus, herbs and was absolutely stunning. For the intrepid drinker these singular wines are not to be missed.

Click the button below to view the entire 2007 German inventory.


There was such chatter and exclamations around Tim Frohlich's table at the Rudi Wiest tasting. This was for good reason. Schafer-Frohlich's 2007s are certainly amongst the best out there. For the last 3 years, Tim Frohlich has produced just awe-inspiring wines, and somehow, every vintage, they get better. Some people just have "the touch." He seems to go from strength to strength with each vintage, and while we're hesitant to pronounce his 2007ers the best he's ever made, it may very well be the case. (Will we be writing the same thing in 2008 and 09?) What makes 2007 so special? The wines have an intense rocky minerality along with more power and definition than he has ever before. Incredible wines.

Click the button below to view the entire 2007 German inventory.

Schloss Lieser

Three words: Wow, wow, wow. This is a tiny gem of an estate that we've been supporting - loudly and wildly - for the last two years (Click here to see our 2006 Schloss Lieser profile). It's vindicating now to see everyone jumping on board because the 2007 collection has been declared one of the best of the vintage. Thomas Haag is now the owner and chief winemaker here and under his stewardship this estate has crafted some of the sleekest, purest wines of the Middle Mosel over the last 5 years. While there's an ethereal kinship with the wines of the Fritz Haag estate (Thomas talks with his little brother Oliver a good amount) the wines of Schloss Lieser are more slender, more angular and often, even more minerally. In 2007, look for the wines from the Niederberg Helden to have more breadth and concentration; the Juffer wines tend to be more sleek and mineral. An awesome collection.

Click the button below to view the entire 2007 German inventory.


Zilliken does it again. Hanno's 2007s exemplify the exhilarating nature of Saar Riesling with all its steeliness and acidic zing. We'll admit that we were nonplussed with the Kabinett which seemed somehow too large, too wide a mid-palate with not enough focus or grip. Maybe it was an off bottle, or just in a weird place - in any event, if the Kabinett was a small misstep, the Spatlese and Auslese are profound - near perfect. In 2007 these wines are nicely playful on the palate while maintaining an almost mind blowing amount of length and complexity. With age, these will become enchanting.

Click the button below to view the entire 2007 German inventory.