The trend to dry wine in Germany is not really that new, as the style was prevalent years ago, before the fad of ‘fruit-sweet’ wines came to represent the more modern face of that country. It is interesting to see producers who have excelled in the pradikat-labelled wines move towards the trocken bottlings. It comes with transitional pains, to me.
The Kerpen famillyin Bernkastel have been very adept at making wines that are deliciously ‘fruit-sweet’. In fact, I would daresay the wines may show their residual sugar more prominently than other comparable producers, but in the final analysis, their wines are classical, and high quality Mosel expressions. Their Kabinetts and Spatlesen wines are their calling cards to me. They’ve resisted the Grosse Gewachs classifications, even though they own vines in sites rated as such. The style of them just isn’t the Kerpen style, I reckon. But there are changes, showing Martin Kerpen’s open mind. There are the ‘feinherb’ bottlings, a sort of stepping stone in style and recognition of wines outside the pradikat square. And trocken bottlings are made more visibly.
A taste of a 2013 Kerpen Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett Trocken, at 11.5% alc. wasn’t convincing to me. The Knotters brought out the wine on a warm and balmy evening. The conditions were perfect for the style of wine opened. It had slatey, lime and florals, with minerals. It was thirst-quenchingly dry. It had fruit extract and presence. But there was just something missing that meant it was rather lean. A bit of residual sugar would have rounded the wine off perfectly. Other Mosel trocken wines have astounded us. I’m sure Kerpen will get there.