How could I have neglected to include a German Riesling in my reviews, in all my time blogging here? Riesling, my most favoured white varietal, and Germany, the one region that is generally accepted to produce the most profound expressions of wine from this varietal?
On this occasion I was able to find a “Spätlese” Riesling too. This translates to “Late Harvest”, and you can work out on a rational level what this could mean – more time on the vine to allow sugars to build up, which should result in a sweeter wine.
- Clarity: Clear
- Intensity: Medium
- Colour: Gold
- Condition: Clean
- Intensity: Medium-
- Development: Youthful
- Sweetness: Medium-dry
- Acidity: High
- Tannin: N/A
- Alcohol: Low
- Body: Medium
- Flavor Intensity: Medium
- Finish: Medium-
- Quality: Good
- Readiness/Cellaring: Can drink now, potential to cellar
- Identity: Germany / Rheingau / Riesling
- Price: High-priced (~$40)
- Very slow, thick tears
- Aromas of honey, nectar, marmalade, apricot
- Flavours of lemon, honey, marmalade, apricot, grapefruit
- Mouthwatering acidity seems to cleanse the palate extremely quickly, not leaving enough time for flavours to linger
- Would be great with roast pork, braised lamb or spicy Asian dishes
- Also with strong and/or hard cheeses
The first thing I noticed, and you can see this in the first photo above, is that this wine was sealed with glass, not screwcap or cork as with most wines. This is known as Vinolok, and is rarely seen outside of wines produced in Europe.
The second thing I noted was how deeply golden the wine was. Granted, it had about six years maturity on it, but under a glass seal I would have expected less oxidative ageing to affect the colour, so the cause must be something else – either the higher sugar content, or the fact that the grapes were late harvested, or a combination of both.
As an experience, this wine was simple and easy to understand, yet I felt something was lacking… the finish felt too short, with nothing lingering after each sip, forcing me to reach for the glass over and over for another taste. A well-made Riesling would not leave one wanting like this, but it would suffice as a gateway experience for those just getting into white wines.
It worked quite well with food as well – I ended up having some spicy Asian dishes for dinner, and this wine served as a more-than-acceptable complement. Add to that the rather low alcohol content (8% ABV) and you have something that you can enjoy all night long.
Pause for a moment to consider – if all of the sugar had been fermented out, the resulting wine could be expected to have a higher alcohol content and less sweetness on the palate. In this case, you should expect the word “Trocken” (literally, “Dry”) to be printed on the label.
Read more: A Rational Perspective of Terroir