My 2002 German Vintage Retrospective and Opinions with Tasting Notes

I decided to revisit the 2002 German vintage over the last year and a half to see how it is progressing. The wines ranged from the kabinett level to an auslese. All of the wines I tried were Riesling. 2002 was squeezed between the great 2001 vintage and the powerful 2003 vintage. 2002 was best in the Rheingau, Pfalz and Rheinhessen regions and that is where I concentrated most of the 2.5 cases I bought. The wines of the Rheingau were impressive and concentrated on release and were still impressive now. In some case the wines from the Rheingau were better than the wines made in this region in 2001.

You should probably open any kabinett wines you have left soon. The Spatlese are drinking fine now but can be held with confidence if from a top producer. The Auslese are still going strong and in many cases will improve.

Here are my notes on what I tried (tried the Gunderloch twice):

2002 Weingut Spreitzer Oestricher Lenchen Riesling Kabinett #6 - Germany, Rheingau (11/24/2011)
My last bottle. This wine is the prime of it's drinking window. Lively with solid acidity. This wine shows what a fine vintage 2002 was in the Rheingau. Pale yellow color. Notes of tart apple, lime and some saltiness on the finish. 91 points.

2002 Weingut Johannishof (H.H. Eser) Rüdesheimer Berg Rottland Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Rheingau (7/16/2012)
My last bottle. I bought this for $15 on release. WS gave it a 94. I last had this 8 years ago. Completely different wine than when I last had it. Deep yellow color. This smelled like someone broke a jar of canned peaches on the floor of a garage service station. Those petrol notes did not carry over onto the palate though. Much more serious than I remember. Notes of anise, wet stones, peaches and coriander. This had a heavy texture. Not a wine for everyone. I preferred this wine young. 89-90 points.

2002 Franz Künstler Hochheimer Kirchenstück Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Rheingau (3/12/2012)
Opened this 10 year old wine with roast duck, sauerkraut, dumplings and stir fried bok choy made by my wife. 2002 was a great vintage for German wines from the Rheingau. The estate was founded by Franz Künstler who was one of Germany`s top winemakers after WWII. After initially working for other producers, he acquired small parcels of vines and later purchased the Von Jungenfeld estate. Today the estate owns 7 hectares around the town of Hochheim (primarily Riesling). His son Gunter took over production in 1992. Golden yellow color. This is very different than when I last tried this in 2004. This has evolved into a rich, lush and well aged wine. It has given up some of its acidity but added depth. Notes of ripe pears with a very unique coconut profile on the finish. Thought it was an excellent match with the food. 93 points.

2002 Weingut Robert Weil Kiedricher Gräfenberg Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Rheingau (3/16/2012)
Opened in MI with Tibetan dumplings (beef, cilantro, onions, garlic and ginger). A $42 purchase. 2002 was a great vintage in the Rheigau. Yellow amber color. A little petrol on the nose. Balanced sweetness. Tropical with pineapple notes. Still young and could go for another decade. Sadly this was my only bottle. 95 points. (95 pts.)

2002 Gunderloch Nackenheim Rothenberg Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Rheinhessen (3/16/2012)
My last bottle. Paired with Tibetan dumplings. Golden yellow color. A little funk on the nose. Earthy and tropical at the same time. Deep. Almost creamy texture. Banana on the finish. Showing very well now. 92-93 points

2002 Gunderloch Nackenheim Rothenberg Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Rheinhessen (8/9/2011)
Brought this bottle to LostVerse's house last weekend for an offline. 5th time I have had this wine. This bottle was not showing as well as the last bottle in 2009. Silky texture with a little whiff of petrol on the nose. Notes of lush pear and blue slate (Allred and I debated the color of the slate before settling on blue). 91 points.

2002 Weingut Johannishof (H.H. Eser) Rüdesheimer Berg Rottland Riesling Auslese - Germany, Rheingau (3/16/2012)
Bought a half bottle for $18 back in 2003. Drank alongside 2 other 2002 Spatlese. Gold color. Only slightly sweeter than the Spatlese. Pear nectar. Rich and luscious. Don't think there is any rush to drink this wine. 92 points.

2002 Eugen Müller Forster Kirchenstück Riesling Auslese - Germany, Pfalz (2/11/2012)
Gourmet Dinner #5 (Algonquin, Illinois): Opened at gourmet dinner #5. 500ml bottle. Golden yellow color. Carmel aromas. Lush with an herbal quality. Creamy and silky texture. Medium sweetness. The acidity was a little low for me. I think others at the dinner liked this more than I did. 90 points.

Not sure how much interest there is in the 2002 vintage because of the superior vintages which surrounded it. However, I'd be interested to hear what others who have tried these wines recently have thought about them. What do you have left?

Original Post
Originally posted by Vino Me:
2002 Weingut Robert Weil Kiedricher Gräfenberg Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Rheingau (3/16/2012)
Opened in MI with Tibetan dumplings (beef, cilantro, onions, garlic and ginger). A $42 purchase.

$42? Eek You must have been feeling flush that day. Wink

I have no 02's left, having drunk the last back in 2009, when I decided I wasn't crazy about the petrol flavours of aged German riesling.
2002 is a Mosel vintage that i like very much. Ok it has not the power of 2001, but power isn't Mosel-like anyway and it's far better than 2003 imho. All in all it's a very typical Mosel vintage, i think. The 2002 Kabinetts are among my favourites, since they have that understated Mosel lightness. I have tons of 2002s left, notably from Selbach-Oster and Markus Molitor and, apart from the Kabinetts, no hurry to drink them up. The Kabinetts are perfect now, the Spätlese still youthfull but drinking well and the Auslese not anywhere near to maximum.
The only 2002 that I have left are a couple 375's of the Gunderloch Nackenheim Rothenberg Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel. The last time that I had it was back in January and thought that it was drinking very well.

color: light golden
Nose: honeysuckle, apricot, ripe pear, slate and some other stuff going on.
Taste: Apricot, ripe pear, honey, some peach. Still some sweetness on the finish. Really nice long finish..very clean..This is drinking really well.
Great post, Vino Me.

I have neglected my 2002s as I DO like the petrol notes of aged Riesling and have been under the impression that Spats and Auslesens will age forever.

I likely have 75+ bottles of 2001/2002 Rieslings, and I shall now start drinking them.

I am really looking forward the drinking another 2002 Gunderloch Nackenheim Rothenberg BA though. It has been 5-6 years or maybe longer since I last tried it.... And I have a few left. One of the best sweet wines I have ever had. The TBA was better when tried on release, but I recall it was 3-4x the price of the BA.

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