2009 German Harvest Successful for Patient Producers


Written by Martin Zwick  www.berlinkitchen.com

 “2009 German harvest produced a drinking (and not only a tasting) vintage and that’s a fact that makes me not only as a winemaker but as a wine lover very happy.”   Winemaker KP Keller

 2009 is an outstanding vintage in Germany, especially in the regions Nahe, Mosel, Rheinhessen and Franken.  Riesling monuments from dry to sweet. Several dry Grand Cru Rieslings “Grosses Gewächs” (GG) will be regarded as all-time classics in a couple of years.  And the Mosel winemakers have amazing sweet Rieslings in their portfolio from Kabinett to Auslese. 

How were the weather conditions in 2009? Late and slow flowering due to mixed weather conditions in spring.  Unfavorable summer with a lot of rain in august. But the summer came back in September with one of the best autumn ever in Germany. As a result the ´09 Rieslings show an amazing fruit ripeness, racy minerality, refreshing acidity and precision and clarity.  Maybe a perfect mix of the former vintages 2007 and 2008?!

Harvest 2009 Keller “Morstein” in the region Rheinhessen

What was the key to a successful vintage in 09?  The most important thing for the winemaker was to show patience and harvest very late.  A big factor was to exhaust the vegetation period.  This means, in all these vineyards where grapes at the end of October or beginning of November were still hanging, there you will find outstanding wines like at Nahe, Mosel, Franken and Rheinhessen. As the fridge-like temperatures starting middle of October backing up the flavors and complexity of the grapes.  The Riesling grape as no other grapes loves a long vegetation period with cold autumn nights, it will obtain aromatic concentration and creates this unique play between fruit, minerality and acidity for which the Riesling is famous for.  In contrast in all these regions like Pfalz & Rheingau where the harvest started already at the beginning or middle of October, these wines lack a certain kind of mineral depth, precision and complexity.  Also sometimes they showed too much alcohol. Very good wines in the Pfalz region, but not outstanding.  Regarding Rheingau, I wondered why many wines were released as a Grosses Gewächs, as they didn´t performed like a Grand Cru Riesling.

Recommended wines from 2009 German Producers:

 Dry Wines

09 Emrich-Schönleber  “Halenberg” and “Frühlingsplätzchen” GG, Nahe

09 Schäfer-Fröhlich “Felseneck” GG, Nahe

09 Racknitz “Hermannshöhle”, Nahe

09 Schloss Lieser “Juffer-Sonnenuhr” GG, Mosel

09 Dr. Loosen “Erdener Prälat” GG, Mosel

09 Van Volxem “Pergentsknopp” GG, Mosel

09 Julian Haart/Adam Goldtröpfchen “Laychen”, Mosel

09 Keller “Hubacker” and  “Abtserde” GG, Rheinhessen

09 Kühling-Gillot “Pettenthal” GG, Rheinhessen

09 Wittmann “Kirchspiel” GG, Rheinhessen

09 Bürklin-Wolf  ”Kirchenstück” and “Pechstein” GG, Pfalz

09 Breuer “Schlossberg” GG, Rheingau

09 Rudolf Fürst “Centgrafenberg” GG, Franken

09 Wirsching “Julius-Echter-Berg” GG, Franken

09 Horst Sauer  “Lump” Silvaner GG, Franken

09 Juliusspital Würzburg “Stein” Silvaner GG, Franken
Sweet Wines

09 Geltz-Zilliken  “Saarburger Rausch”  Spätlese, Mosel

09 Geltz-Zilliken  “Saarburger Rausch”  Kabinett, Mosel

09 Willi Schaefer  “Graacher Domprobst”  Kabinett, Mosel

09 Willi Schaefer “Graacher Himmelreich” Kabinett, Mosel

09 Schloss Lieser “Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr” Spätlese, Mosel

09 Reinhold Haart “Goldtröpfchen” Kabinett, Mosel

09 Reinhold Haart “Goldtröpfchen” Spätlese, Mosel

09 Fritz Haag “Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr” Spätlese, Mosel

09 Egon Müller “Scharzhofberger” Kabinett, Mosel

09 Egon Müller “Scharzhofberger” Auslese, Mosel

If you have any questions or comments on this article, please feel free to ask.


  1. i agree with helmut when he said 09 vintage is the greatest all rounder vintage since 71 except the weins are bigger oschels res sugar etc. I believe it is still unfolding from qba to the v great and groundbreaking eiswein and tba only 03 tba were bigger . and the spatburgunder esp from r furst- stodden – mayer n -hubber etc
    the vintage that put enderle and moll pinot right on the world map of pinot makers .there were legends made in 09 esp in gg troken cru wines
    greetings ny friends in germany symon g brown

  2. k.p. I bought a lot of von Winning especially Jesuitengarten and Langenmorgen, Christmann Idig and Langenmorgen, Dönnhoff Hermannshöhle and Dellchen, Wittmann Morstein Brunnenhäuschen and Kirchspiel, Leitz Schlossberg AR, Kesseler Schlossberg, Weil Auslese, Schloss Lieser Helden Auslese GK, Fritz Haag Sonnenuhr Auslese GK and Emmerich Knoll through the whole Smaragd range as well. I am going to buy lots of Heymann-Löwensteinm and JJ Prüm. But in this vintage there is so much outstanding Riesling around that it is most important to limit myself outherwise I am going to get lost in my purchases. I think that you should wait with the Kastanienbusch 08. I attended a vertcal tasting of Rebholz Kasatnienbusch, Wittmann Morstein and Christmann Idig. Idig is showing very well when young but then it is closed for some time but Kastanienbusch has the most ups and downs. It is a very complex wine that sometimes needs quite some patience. The 08 was very close in September 09. So a Magnum could still be tight. Regrading Hermannshöhle 09, according to the winery there is a very small amount, about 2 %, of botrytis grapes in the GG. Dönnhoff was not abel to produce as much sweet wines as he needed for his customers. So there was no need to look for noble root for the dry wines. As I have mentioned before this was not the ideal vintage for noble root. I think the wine is or was in a stage in which it was not showing very well. This should be different soon. I will taste the Pfalz, Nahe and Rheinhessen GGs next week in Hamburg.

  3. YES, the scores are a bit modest. Some participants of this tasting were a bit shy regarding high scores, if my memories are correct.
    The 07 Nahe wines clearly were closed and I also see them much higher in a couple of years.

  4. You´re maybe interested on a tasting I attended last year of 07 GGs. It was a blind-tasting!

    1 Morstein Wittmann 93,77
    2 G-Max Keller 93,54
    3 Pettenthal Kühling Gillot 92,75
    4 Kirchenstück Reichsrat-v.Buhl 92,69
    5 Kastanienbusch Rebholz 92,46
    6 Morstein Keller 92,38
    7 Nonnenberg Breuer 92,23
    8 Frauenberg Battenfeld-Spanier 91,92
    9 Hubacker Keller 91,92
    10 Uhlen R Heymann-Löwenstein 91,54
    11 Berg Roseneck Kesseler 91,54
    12 Ungeheuer Mosbacher 91,54
    13 Gaisböhl Bürklin Wolf 91,46
    14 Berg Rottland AR GK Leitz 91,31
    15 Idig Christmann 91,23
    16 Felseneck Schäfer-Fröhlich 91,00
    17 Berg Schlossberg Kesseler 91,00
    18 Gottesfuß Alte Reben v. Volxem 90,92
    19 Halenberg Emrich-Schönleber 90,92
    20 Brunnenhäuschen Wittmann 90,85
    21 Dellchen Dönnhoff 90,85
    22 Pechstein Bürklin-Wolf 90,62
    23 Pfaffenberg Schloss Schönborn 90,15
    24 Bernkasteler Doctor Wegeler 90,00
    25 Josephshöfer Kesselstatt 90,00
    26 Johannisberger Schloss Johannisberg 90,00
    27 Wisselbrunnen Spreitzer 89,92
    28 Hölle GK Künstler 89,85
    29 Gräfenberg R.Weil 89,85
    30 “Karthäuserhofberg Auslese tr. “”S”” 89,77
    31 Hermannshöhle Dönnhoff 89,77
    32 Heerkretz Wagner-Stempel 89,69
    33 Kanzemer Altenberg v. Othegraven 89,62
    34 Burgberg Diel 89,46
    35 “Abtsberg “”Superior”” M.Grünhäuser” 88,85
    36 Trittenheimer Apotheke AR Grans 88,38 88,33
    37 Goldloch Diel 88,29

    0 Abtserde Keller (cork!)

    • Very interesting: However, I am amazed about the relatively modest scores. At least the Keller, Doennhoff and Wittmann 07 wines that I know and frequently tasted deserved much higher notes at the several tastings. Moreover, I see the Keller Morstein clearly better than Wittmann Morstein, only the Brunnenhaeuschen is on the same level. As regards Doennhoff Hermannshoehle, this was for me one of the TOP 3 wines of the vintage, it was stellar for the first two years (I had 97,98,95, 99, 98,97,95,97, 97, 94,94,92 in the glass) now it has closed down, but I expect the wine to come back even better in a few years. Abtserde which was also among my wines of the vintage is also shutting down a bit ( I had 99,99, 98, 99, 97, 97, 98, 98, 95, 95, 95, 93, 93) but I am confident that it evolves over the next 20 years.

  5. Josef,

    regarding Dönnhoff, I have some mixed impressions. In Wiesbaden I loved 09 “Hermannshöhle” GG with 94pts. At my Berlin Riesling Cup I was disappointed as the Hermannshöhle clearly showed Botrytis, so the wine was broad&flabby. The Zalto Universal is sometimes quite brutal with wines, it shows the best but also the faults of wines. In Wiesbaden we didn´t use Zalto.

    BTW, from very reliable sources I heared in advance that they also noticed Botrytis in the Hermannshöhle.


    • At our Taunus Riesling Extravaganza (see above) we also had the slight impression of botrytis in Hermannshoehle, but not as much that we would consider it a fault. Indeed, the Zalto Universal has got this magnifying feature and it may well be that the Zalto Riesling or the Riedel are better suited for the Hermannshoehle 09, same goes for Heymann Loewenstein Uhlen Rothlay which showed best in the Zalto Riesling at a recent verticale 04-08.

      Will have to taste Rebholz Kastanienbusch 08, I have bought a few magnums upon recommendation but never tried one so far. The 09 was disappointing at two tastings and scored only 89 pts at our Riesling Extravaganza. So I am curious about 08.

      • PS The Zalto Riesling is a.k.a Zalto White Wine but in our tasting group it morphed into Zalto Riesling. For most of the white wines nowadays I use the Zalto Universal, only a few rieslings are better in the Zalto White Wine a.k.a. Riesling or the new Gabriel glass.

  6. For me the best example is “Kastanienbusch” GG from Rebholz. 09 is very good, around 91-92, but 08 is clearly better with around 95-96pts.

    And yes, 09 von Winning is a notch above 08. I see his 09 GGs around mostly 91pts. And no doubt S. Attmann has a very promising future. I visited him last february. BTW, a hidden gem is his 09 Sauvignon blanc.

    For me, clearly Bürklin-Wolf is the best estate in the region Pfalz right now. Wonderful 09s and also it seems that 08s are a notch above the 09s. Future will tell!.

    Finally, I will attend a 09 GG-Tasting in february with 40 wines. We will see how the Pfalz&Rheingau region perform.

    In vino veritas……….

  7. Martin, most producers in the Pfalz had quite some problems with fungal diseases in 2008. I am a fan of the wines of Steffen Christmann but 2008 is not my favourite vintage. I am quite suprised that you prefere 2008 to 2009? I have tasted the same wines as you did but not in Wiesbaden just in Berlin but this and your feedback have nothing to do with my point of critique. You have constructed a link from the wines you tasted to the overall quality of a region of which you have not tasted all the wines. You should not do that if you would like to keep a certain level of logic within your realm of thoughts. Thank you for the advise in your last feedback. I am lucky I am already buying lots of Riesling. I hope that many others will do the same.

    • For me it is too early to say whether the Pfalz GGs that I bought from 08 are better than the 09. Right now I think Christmann’s Idig 08 is in fact better than 09, although 09 Idig is also a very good wine. On the other hand, most of the von Winnings 09 seem to be one notch above 08. Let us revisit in 3 years. Cheers Martin and Milas

  8. Milan,

    some final thoughts. My intention was not basing the regions Pfalz&Rheingau, rather give some guidance for the Best of the Best in the german vintage 2009. In such an outstanding vintage like 2009 you will find wonderful wines in all regions.

    So, buy german Riesling and have fun……….


  9. Milan,

    regarding Pfalz I stated:

    “Very good wines in the Pfalz region, but not outstanding. ”

    I complain on high level regarding the 09 Pfalz Rieslings, as the wines from A. Christmann, von Winning, Rebholz, etc. are all well-made and mostly around 90-91pts. On the other hand in comparison the 08s are much, much better.

    Regarding Rheingau, I haven´t tasted the Leitz 09s so far. But my tasting in Wiesbaden (375 GGs) clearly showed that the region was the weakest.


  10. Martin, you are bashing the Pfalz and Rheingau at the end of your article. Even though I am dissapointed by the quality highly regarded wineries have delivered through recent vintages I have to remark that a destinction as you have done; good = Nahe, Rheinhessen, Mosel, Franken; bad = Rheingau, Pfalz; does not hit the nail. The best vintners in the Pfalz: Christmann, Rebholz, Attmann @ von Winning have done outstanding wines. The same is true for August Kessler, Johannes Leitz and Wilhelm Weil. It is true that the number of good wines in the Rheingau is dissapointing but this does not have to be caused by early harvesting. There are many details one could lose quality.

    Regarding the sweet wines one should add that due to the poor flowering clusters have been quit loose. This is not the best inviroment for noble root. The wines are quite good and very clean one does not detect the noble root in almost any wine. This is a reason for very low amounts of nobel sweet wines. I think 2009 is a very good vintage but it takes a back seat when compared to 2007 and to some 2005s. One region might be an exepssion: the Rheingau. I think that the guys at Robert Weil have produced the best sweet collection of this vintage. Johannes Leitz has done outstanding Spätlese wines and some very good Eisweins. There is anouther exepssion when it come to nobek swwet wines and this is Egon Müller. But here is everything just outstanding.

  11. BTW, the famous german wine-guides Gault Millau and Eichelmann have the following ranking for the Best Dry Riesling 2009:


    1. 09 Keller “Abtserde” GG
    2. 09 Emrich-Schönleber “Halenberg” GG
    3. 09 Keller “G-Max”


    1. 09 Keller “G-Max”
    2. 09 Emrich-Schönleber “Halenberg” GG
    3. 09 Keller “Abtserde” GG

    • Will taste Abtserde and G-max only later this year when my bottles arrive. But I had the chance to taste Halenberg on more than one occasion. Clearly, one of the top wines of 09. For example, here are the TOP 10 results of our Taunus Riesling Extravaganza December 2010:

      1. Emrich Schönleber, Halenberg, 98,2
      2. Schäfer Fröhlich, Felseneck 97,5
      3. Keller, Hubacker 97,1
      4. von Winning, Jesuitengarten 97
      5. Wittmann, Morstein 96,8
      6. Dönnhoff, Dellchen 96,7
      7. von Winning, Langenmorgen 96,5
      8. Schäfer Fröhlich, Halenberg 96,4
      9. Keller, Kirchspiel 96,2
      10. van Volxem, Gottesfuss 96,2

      Our pirate was FX Pichler, Unendlich 09 with an average score of 97,8. Biggest surprise was that Dellchen performed much better than Hermannshöhle from Dönnhoff, however, I believe Hermannshöhle will improve over time and could be 98pts in 4 years. Same should go for van Volxem Altenberg and Gottesfuss which could both end up above 98 in a few years.

      PS We used the Zalto Universal glasses for our tasting extravaganza: 30 wines 12 wine aficionados and not much spitting of the top wines.

  12. Lucky guy! I would open the first 09 bottles around 2014 as we discussed before and the second time around 2017. The third round starting 2020.

    You could already open the 09 Keller “Hubacker” GG and drink over several days. Quite open already and offers amazing drinking pleasure. Best Hubacker ever made. It also gives you a good impression how outstanding this vintage is with its perfect interaction of fruit&minerality&acidity and BALANCE.

    BTW, I strongly recommend you to buy stemware ZALTO “Universal” for your GGs. Best Riesling stemware and winemakers like Tim Fröhlich, Philipp Wittmann, KP Keller also use it for tastings.


    • Thank you, Martin. Very helpful I have a stash of 08 GGs and subscribed for quite a few 09. Have received already Hubacker, Kirchspiel and Pettenthal, Look forward to get Morstein, Abtsrerde and G-max probably in April. What would be your cellaring advice for 09, I am inclined to drink them earlier than O8.

      Best regards,

  13. 2014 is a good date to open the first bottles. In case of the “Abtserde” and “Morstein” from Keller I should point out that they have a great aging potential. A 2002 Morstein was a baby 1-2 years ago. If you have 08 bottles of Keller I would recommend to open the GGs in 8-10 years. The vintage 2008 has a looooong aging potential.

  14. k.p. speicher on

    Thank you, Martin. I managed to get six bottles and was slightly concerned that it wasn’t Laychen. But the front and backlabels seem to be identical as is the AP number. What do you think, how long should I put the bottles in my cellar? Currently, I plan to open the first bottle in 2014 like Abtserde and Morstein from Keller.

    Best regards
    KP Speicher

  15. “Laychen” is a special lot owned by Julian Haart and is not mentioned on the front label. Anyway, there exist only 400 bottles. Here is the front/back label.


    The wine received around 95pts. at my “Berlin Riesling Cup” last september. It was a blind-tasting of the best Grosse Gewächse of the vintage 2009 (30 Rieslings) attended by journalists, sommeliers, wine-dealers, Riesling lovers and a wine-maker.

    Best regards,
    Martin Zwick

  16. k.p. speicher on

    Regarding the Haart/Adam Laychen I would like to have some clarification. I have bought some bottles but could not find Laychen on them. Where is that description coming from. Best regards KP Speicher

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