This is going to be a killer to type up, damn German names...
This was my first German tasting and a very interesting one it was. Only three producers from Pfalz (with some outsiders thrown in for comparison's sake) but damn good ones, and some very tasty comparisons between the different producers across different vintages and vineyards.
Muller-Catoir, Mussbacher Esselshaut, Riesling Kabinett Trocken, 2004
I kicked myself for having opened my bottle too early, as it was a much better showing this time. Apples, maybe a bit of tropical fruits, spices. I didn't get a lot of minerals on the nose but the palate was very crisp and flinty, albeit much less developed than the nose. Still slightly fizzy.
Muller-Catoir, Haardter Burgengarten "Im Gehren", Riesling Spatlese Trocken, 2003
Oddly slightly less impressive than the younger Kabinett, which might be due to the vintage. Less delineated, spiceier and more alcoholic. Also less minerals and fruits.
Koehler-Ruprecht, Kalstadter Saumagen, Riesling Kabinett Trocken, 2004
I'm turning into a fan. Not as good as the Auslese from the same year, but even Sugar Ray Leonard was not as good as Sugar Ray Robinson. Excellent intraction between acidity, fruit, chalky minerality and petrol aromas and flavors. Knife edge balance. A wild, edgy personality.
Koehler-Ruprecht, Kalstadter Saumagen, Riesling Spatlese Trocken, 2004
A delicate wine. Different from both the Auslese (which we didn't taste that evening, alas) and the Kabinett from the same vineyard. More restrained and fruitier. The first wine that night to hint at petrol. Why it costs more than the Auslese probably has nothing to do with its quality.
Koehler-Ruprecht, Kalstadter Steinacker, Riesling Kabinett Trocken, 2004
Loses on points to the Saumgen Kabinett but what a fight it was! Sweeter and more pure, with minerality of a different character complemented by notes of honey. Perhaps more finesse but less power and less of a rush. A wine for a different mood than the Saumgen. This would be a wine for Mrs. Shraga.
Muller-Catoir, Mussbacher Esselshaut, Rislaner Statlese Trocken, 2001
My Wine Of The Night. On the nose I found petrol, honey, a hint of dried fruit. Slightly smokey at first. The fruits lean towards lemon-lime at first then morph to sweet citrus. Elegant and constantly changing and really, I’m not doing it any justice at all with this note.
V. Amici (Rebholz), 2002
This is a co-production betwen different Pflaz producers and was just about the most expensive wine at the tasting. A blend of Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay, the nose is very sweet, very much a fruit punch, with apple cider and hints of bubble gum. You expect a dessert wine but your palate is forced off-balance because this is a tough, bone dry, alcoholic wine. it is certainly impressive but I don't know what to make of it or what food to match it with.
The next two wines were Pinot Noirs. I'd tasted them both before (and the Koehler-Ruprecht since) and found them interesting but not enough to buy.
Koehler-Ruprecht, Kalstadter Kronenberg, Spatburgender Spatlese Trocken, 2002
A complex, intruiging nose. German Pinot Noir is very different from anything I've ever tasted (or anyone else for that matter, I guess) and can be off-putting but I find this wine fascinating. But it is certainly hard to approach right now.
Meyer-Nakel, Blauschifer, Spatburgender QBA Trocken, 2004
From what I've read, Meyer-Nakel, who hails from red wine region Ahr, is the Pinot Noir specialist in Germany but I prefer the Koehler-Ruprecht. Though it's labelled a QBA and not Spatlese like the Koehler, it was too ripe for my taste and I'd liked it more the first time.
Muller-Catoir, Haardter Manderling, Scheurebe Spatlese , 2004
Now this, if not the best wine of the tasting, was certainly the yummiest. Like frozen pineapple sorbet sprinkled with white pepper and chalk. But I don't think Scheurebe should cost quite as much as this wine does.
Jos. Christoffel Jr., Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Riesling Auslese, 1992
Petrol at full throttle at last. A wonderful nose, a wonderful wine, very elegant and capricious and feels very young on the palate.
Koehler-Ruprecht, Kalstadter Steinacker, Scheurebe Beerenauslese, 2004
A bone dry BA! I'll ape what Anat Sella and Terry Thiese (Koehler's importer to the US) have said about this wine: it kicks like pure ginger. Amazing for what it does as well as for its quality.
Coming Attraction: The Four Musketeers Classification System!