I had an interesting conversation today that pertains to this discussion. Some of the big names of the Mittelhaardt (Bassermann-Jordan, von Winning, Acham-Magin and von Buhl in particular) that use Grosse Lage vineyards to make some of their smaller wines (wines that don’t qualify for GG primarily because the must-weight is too low or probably closer to the truth, the yield too high) are upset that they cannot use these vineyard names on the label. Take the Deidesheimer Paradiesgarten for example. Bassermann-Jordan currently makes a Deidesheimer Paradiesgarten Riesling Kabinett Trocken from their holdings there. They do not make a GG from it, but cannot use the name on a bottle of lower quality (or shall we say ‘lower-must weight than Spätlese’) as of the 2012 vintage.
On the one hand, I can understand their frustration (also because I buy that wine every year).
On the other hand, B-Js holdings in that vineyard are not Grand Cru by any stretch –that they can name it Paradiesgarten at all is solely because of vineyard expansion resulting from the 1971 wine-law. Von Buhl has better parcels there and does make a GG. Bassermann will now technically have to call it Deidesheimer Riesling Trocken Qualitätswein. A rose by any other name…
Sooo. One could conclude that this new rule does go a little further in rectifying some of the damage done by the 1971 law-change, though admittedly at the expense of describing the most exact local of the vineyard from which the wine was made.
This is especially problematic for large producers in the most tradition-rich or traditionally famous wine regions of Germany (the Mittelmosel, Mittelhaardt of the Pfalz, and the whole damn Rheingau) because the vineyard names are so established and because a large quantity of those established vineyards are Grosse Lage classified. Furthermore, the largest producers of these regions often own parcels in many, if not most (or even all) of these Grosse Lage vineyards in a particular village. This potentially limits to a great extent how many different bottlings they can produce from a village or forces them to up the must-weight or lower the yield and label them ‘GG’.
Hmmm. This story isn’t over yet. And we still haven’t received a list of Erste Lagen vineyards…
Wein schenkt Freude