You are using an old browser that may not function as expected.
For a better, safer browsing experience, please upgrade your browser.

Log in Become a Member

The 2020 vintage did not make it easy for German vintners. Even those parts of the wine reporting industry that love to trumpet new superlatives to the world every year were hardly moved to celebrate another vintage of the century this time. But before anyone gets alarmed: 2020 is by no means a bad year.

Apart from late frosts, which caused sometimes minor, sometimes major damage, especially in the eastern growing regions including Franconia, but also in Württemberg, the vintners hardly had to struggle with the vintage. The grapes often looked as if they had been painted; diseases or rot were not a significant problem anywhere.

But the drought was. For the third year in a row, vineyards practically everywhere in the country had too little, often far too little water; the reserves in the soil were often exhausted. The consequences of a lack of water are not only possible harvest losses, which Franconia in particular had to suffer. The dryness is also often noticeable in the wines, no matter how perfect the grapes look.

© Wittmann Winery / David Maurer

If too much water is missing, the wines often end up lacking minerals, depth of aroma and complexity. But the aromas themselves also change. In the 2020 Rieslings, this is noticeable through almost omnipresent fennel and aniseed tones. Many wines also seem to develop more quickly than usual. However, it remains to be seen whether we are actually dealing with a vintage that is maturing (too) quickly. Far too many warm and dry years in the past have been prematurely pronounced dead and are currently experiencing a "miraculous" resurrection.

Moreover, the winegrowers have not only slowly learned to deal with hot and dry years, but the vine material is often old enough to cope well with drought thanks to deep-reaching roots. Our results are correspondingly varied: where the water supply was not completely inadequate, be it due to fortunate weather conditions, appropriate vineyard work or particularly old vines, great and even a whole series of truly great Rieslings could also be produced this year; elsewhere, the necessary depth and complexity for higher consecrations are lacking. Where everything went wrong, the wines are sometimes poorly expressive, coarsely knit and/or dry-phenolic.

We have tasted well over 1000 dry Rieslings from Germany in recent months, of which we can only present the very best here. It is therefore definitely worth following the links at the end of the best lists. There you will not only find all the wines and their producers, but also detailed tasting notes, sources of purchase and further information.

In Focus: German Riesling dry Vintage 2020