"But It Goes Up To Eleven" - A Grand Old Riesling (Sept. 11, 2007)

We had gathered to taste some Koehler-Ruprecht and Muller-Catoire wines at importer Giaconda but the star turned out to be one of the guest contributions. Before I get to that, a few words about the raison d'etre of the gathering.

Though I didn't take formal notes, I will note that the Koehler-Ruprecht 2005's were the tightest young whites I've ever tasted outside of certain vineyards in the Cote de Beaune. The nose would show all the naunce and definition and specific minerality I've come to love over the past year but the palate just wouldn't put out, wafer thin and stingy. It's the vintage, I suppose, as the 2004's were approachable last year. The Steinacker Spatlese Scheurebe, because it's a fruitier grape, was the most approachable and proved again Scheurebe's inherent breed and importance, with a guyava-and-flowers nose no other varietal offers.

The Muller-Catoire wines were delicious and friendly and in stark contrast with neighbor Koehler-Ruprecht. The Haardter Herrenletten Riesling Spatlese 2006 was very decent QPR and as tasty as they come but the real star was the Mussbacher Esselshaut Rieslaner Spatlese 2005, vinified by young Martin Franzen, which seems brasher and edgier than the 2001 rendition, which was the last vintage produced by venerable Hans-Gunter Schwartz. It feels like the work of a younger man, with weird, meaty, almost brett-like notes.

The evening's peak was a 5 Star, 32 year old Auslese. Five stars, count 'em. I had no idea these things went past three stars, hence the Spinal Tap quote in the title.

Jos. Christoffel Jr., Urziger Wurzgarten, Riesling Auslese 5 Star, 1975

Intense, nuanced aromas of petrol, dill and parsley almost flaunt the wine's age. The palate is long and succulent. It's obviously mature yet still so fresh and powerful and while it must have been sweeter in its infancy, the fruit, sugar and acidity have melted and mellowed into a harmonic whole. A lingering aftertaste, though it was hard to keep away from it long enough to notice, if you know what I mean. This is the sort of wine I "hate" because it achieves its effect with so little effort and so few frills that I can't help thinking all wines should be this good. And they're not.

I didn't take any formal notes, like I said, thus I'm mentioning by name only those wines who stood out and made a deep enough impression for me to remember them clearly the next morning. The Christoffel wouldn't need formal notes for me to remember it under any circumstances.

Shana Tova!


Anonymous said…
Great post haim
But how can you compare between a 1975 riesling and a 2005 or 2006 riesling?

The new riesling will probably be the stars of an evening some 30 years from now elswhere, i guess
2GrandCru said…
I wasn't comparing, just reporting.