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Max Kilburg
2021 Kabinett Trilogy
the coronation of the Kabinett

{ "Mosel lovers of refined and playful wines have a new star to put on their radar screen!" }
sold out

The 2022 German wine auctions took place in September and they marked, for better or worse, something of a watershed moment.

Let’s begin with the astounding prices of four specific lots: 2021 Willi Schaefer at 155 Euros a bottle, J.J. Prüm at 405 Euros a bottle, Egon Müller at 501 Euros a bottle and Keller at 1,200 Euros a bottle!

Now, high prices are nothing particularly new for German wines, especially at the auctions. What is shocking here is that these prices were all for KABINETTS, that once-overlooked and "most basic" of genres.

As chance would have it, here is a funny prediction we wrote in the spring of 2021 introducing the Kabinetts of Max Kilburg:

“Two market predictions for you. First, Mosel wines are due for a serious upward pricing correction, though this is probably pretty obvious to most people paying any attention. Second, and this might be a bit more daring but what the hell: The ‘Kabinett’ will rather quickly become the rarest, most treasured and most expensive of the Prädikats.”

The auction results of Prüm, for example, reflect this new world on its head: 405 Euros for the Kabinett, 350 Euros for the Spätlese and 300 Euros for the Auslese.

Honestly, even we didn't think the change would be this quick, this dramatic.

Another thing we wrote in that first email is now more plainly true than ever: “The days of sub-$30 Mosel Kabinetts, at least from serious growers working in the top vineyards, are soon coming to a close.”

In fact, maybe those days are already gone? Pricing on Max's absolutely bonkers 2021 Mosel Kabinetts is beyond fair; we'd say these qualify as steals. 

All this to say, it's a brave new world and the singular lightness and intensity of the Kabinett is now being recognized for what it is, which is to say something of a national treasure for the wine culture of Germany. There are still wild deals to be found, but you are going to have to start digging a bit deeper.

Luckily, we've been in the Mosel for nearly two decades with a shovel in hand; the 2021er Kabinetts from Max Kilburg are not to be missed.

We have written a ton about the glories of the 2021 vintage. Keller himself has declared it the greatest Kabinett vintage of the last twenty years. In this warming world, it's unclear, to say the least, how often we will be getting these truly cool-climate vintages. You can find our verbose vintage analysis here.

I wrote the following in this report: "I personally am going very deep in 2021. Maybe such an admission – putting your money where your mouth is, as it were – is meaningful to you personally, maybe it isn’t. I’m just telling you a fact."

So that's where we are. Now let's get to the wine.

If the name Max Kilburg has been on a lot of people's minds over the last few years, I'm not sure anyone expected he would so quickly be put at the most elite levels of Mosel winemaking. The quote above is only one gushing line from the Mosel Fine Wines reviews from the summer of 2021. The reviews for the 2021ers will come out in October 2022. It'll be curious to see if we have any wine available when the scores finally drop.

We first heard the name Max Kilburg a few years ago when he had worked with Julian Haart. Soon after this time with Julian it was made official, Max would take over his family's historic estate, Geierslay, as the 20th-generation winemaker. Then we had read about Max acquiring an older-vine parcel in the Grand Cru Ohligsberg, the most famous site rising up and around his hometown village of Wintrich. Last year he acquired a tiny parcel of the shiveringly cool Geierslay, a higher-altitude site tucked even deeper into the valley.

If a trio of headliner vineyards like this gives one the sense that Max is now "big time," keep in mind for the Max Kilburg wines he is farming here, in total, less than 2 hectares.

So yes, these are rare birds. In fact, they are so rare we sold out of them. 

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