Like the No 2, the 2015 Trockenbeerenauslese No 9 Welschriesling Zwischen den Seen is pretty closed at the beginning. Aged for 18 months in stainless steel, this has a concentrated, dense and very aromatic bouquet with perfectly ripe juice aromas. Sweet, piquant and fresh on the palate, this is a serious, firmly structured yet elegant Welschriesling with good tannin structure and an intensely aromatic finish. This is still very young and tight at the moment and will benefit from further bottle aging. Great aging potential. 9.5% alcohol and 270 grams of residual sugar.
After the weather conditions in 2014 allowed him to produce only a single Trockenbeerenauslese—a Muskat Ottonel whose sweet drops summed up to no more than 700 bottles, 375 milliliters each—Gerhard Kracher was very happy about the 2015 vintage, which let him select no less than 12 TBAs, all of them on a top quality level. The numbers from 1 to 12 indicate the wine's level of concentration (1 is the lowest, 12 the highest of the range). The terms "Zwischen den Seen" or "Nouvelle Vague" indicate the style of the wine. ZDS means "between the lakes" and indicates that fermentation and aging occur in stainless steel or large old oak vats, whereas NV indicates that fermentation and aging occur in barriques. The 2015 TBAs are impressive, with no outliers, neither upward nor downward. The different levels of concentration are always balanced by body, fruit and acidity, so I don't see a reason to rate the higher numbers higher than the lower ones as long as the balance is there and the wines are digestible.
2015 was a very warm and dry year in which one heat wave was hunting the other. After some rainfall in August, the autumn was dry and sunny again, with cool nights that helped to keep aromas and acidity fresh and precise. The harvest of the dry wines took place during the whole month of September. Due to the summer, the grapes had rather thick skins, which made it more difficult for the noble rot to pierce the skin and fulfill its job of drying out the berries. However, botrytis came late and caused very high gradations of sugar and acidity. The TBAs were picked during eight weeks between the 3rd of October and 26th of November, and they come along as intense and elegant noble sweet wines with deep fruit aromas, discreet acidity levels but a delicate and stimulating freshness. For the first time, I cannot tell you which grape variety brought the finest wines. In fact, almost all of them performed very well. I personally love the Chardonnay because of its elegance and finesse and certainly always Welschriesling due to its piquancy. However, Traminer (low in acidity but a damn hedonistic grape variety) and even Muskat Otonel (the purest, sexy fruit aromas) show extremely well in 2015 as does the Cuvée TBA No 6 and the TBA No 12, which blends Welschriesling with Scheurebe and Chardonnay. The 2015 TBAs should age very well since there is no lack of acidity and all the wines are beautifully balanced. Readers should also taste the red Zweigelt TBA, which is a fabulously finessed, fruity-spicy sweet wine full of elegance, 2016 was also a dramatic year for Kracher since he already lost 80% of the crop in spring because of the frost. The wine quality, however, is excellent. There will be no more then three TBAs, and only the the Rosenmuskateller is set to be released in October. It could be followed by a Welschriesling and a Scheurebe. However, the quantities will be very small and will vary between 400 and 700 liters. The wines just stopped the fermentation in December, and Gerhard will decide which (if any) of the wines will be part of the next "collection."