David M. Bueker wrote:Bill,
I am going to completely disgaree with you on your assessment. First of all, tone is tough in writing. David is generally supportive of all types of German wine, but he does point out one very important fact: everybody makes dry white wine, but only Germany has been very successful at the low alcohol, slightly off-dry to sweet wine that characterize the pradikat of kabinett. The German winemaking elite got onto the "oh yeah, well we can make dry wines" bandwagon, and created a snowball effect that has not just led to some fine dry wines, but has also led to this turning of kabinett into a pariah.
As for the costs to harvest and/or make kabinett versus spatlese, if the German foot injury...err...marketing machine ever turned its attention to that unique beast that is kabinett then perhaps prices would rise to a sustainable level.
And as for Qualitatswein, that is a category that has been totally destroyed by both bad producers and good ones who used the labeling conventions to deal wit the dry wine craze.
Much mroe to say, but out of time right now.
I probably did misread the tone of the article. It’s just that the first one was titled ‘Can Americans Save German Wine’ or some such nonsense and I might have read some of the comments with that in mind.
And let me reiterate that I love off-dry Mosel Kabinett and I like it from other regions too as long as it has decent acidity. It would be a shame to see it go (I don’t think that it will. As long as there is a market for it, it will be produced.) I’m just trying to give a few reasons as to why that style of wine is far scarcer than it used to be. It can’t all be chalked up to ‘the Bad Taste of the Germans’ which is where the conversation usually begins and ends.
I’m not sure what you mean by German Marketing Machine. If you are referring to the myriad small regional agencies and the German Wine Institute, then I’m not at all convinced that they have any power whatsoever to sway taste of the German public, much less that of the International consumers of German wine. The people who do have the power to do that are the importers, somms, critics and wine-boarders, many of whom have seemed to have taken a pretty firm stand in favour of not-dry Riesling.
As I mentioned in my other post, I would like to see a reform of the Qualitätswein category. Perhaps one disallowing chaptalization and maybe a restriction on grape varieties.
That said, the Qualitätswein category is far from destroyed. It is the most popular category for wine in Germany by a landslide. Prädikatswein is not even close and will continue to lose share as quality producers abandon that category in favour of Estate, Village, and Single Vineyard wine. I am happy to see it go as it is useless, out-dated, and misleading. Qualitätswein is on the other hand, just too broad a category (as you say, the term has certainly been abused) with too many allowances and if the producers who use it want the intended results, it (along with Tafelwein and Landwein) needs to be tightened up. But the category is in no way designated solely for dry wines.