I was at otis' house on Friday for a Kathryn Kennedy vertical tasting dinner he threw for a few board members. Not having any KK wines, I brought a white. The 2003 Willi Schaefer Gracher Domprobst Spatlese #10 (TN here). The conversation that night got me thinking about the ageability of the 2003 German vintage.
I won't pretend to know the answer. Only time will tell for sure. However, I do have an opinion and it is that they will age well. Here is the basis for my opinion.
The argument I hear most often to support the claim that the wines won't age is that they lack acidity. Clearly, 2003 was a low acid year; but, lets keep in mind that vintners were allowed for the first time ever to acidify wines. Thus offsetting a bit of this concern.
More importantly though is the misperception that low acid German Riesling will not age. I do not see any historical proof to support this claim. First, there has never been a year like 2003 (at least not in anyone's memory). 2003 had more sun than any vintage in over 100 years. The years 1921, 1947 and 1959 had the next most sunshine; but, 2003 still had about 100 more hours of sun than any of them. Each of those years produced extremely ripe grapes with low acids. Now I have not had wines from any of those years; but, they are all reported to have produced classic wines which aged very well. Another ripe vintage with low acidity was 1976. I have tried some of these wines and they are holding up very well. I do not think there is much dispute over the quality or longevity of the 1976 vintage.
Second, from what I have read, riper vintages which produce wines with higher must weights (like 2003) compensate for lower acidity levels. If a young 2003 is voluminous, rich, balanced and loaded with fruit, my opinion is that it should age and perhaps longer than even some so called classically styled vintages.
Anyone else care to share their opinion?