Friday, July 19, 2013

Heymann-Lowenstein 2005 Erste Lages

The House That Reinhard Built
Heymann-Lowenstein was probably the first German wine I ever bought from Giaconda, when they brought their first shipments in late 2006. In fact, Reinhard Lowenstein was the first winemaker that Anat and Raphaella brought to Israel for a visit and the tasting that he held in their apartment was one of my earliest writeups.

The Erste Lages are trocken Mosel Rieslings, basically, and I have learned in the years since that tasting six years ago that it is not a style that works wonders for me, in the Mosel. So, at eight years post-vintage, I decided to open my meager stash and see how the three Uhlen Erste Lages that Reinhard vinifies get along with my palate.

As I wrote, these are dry wines. They come from different plots of the Uhlen vineyard, cost about 220 NIS and I drank them in the same order that we tasted them in 2006 (presumably according to the internal pecking order, as Reinhard and/or Anat and Rafaella see it).

Blaufusser Lay, 2005

The nose is a hybrid of the petrol notes you'd expect from a mature Riesling and the sauteed mushrooms found in mature white Burgundies, all with subdued hints of tropical fruit. The palate, while dry, is one-dimensional and suggests sweetness, and, more pronouncedly, green apples and quinine-led spiciness. While the nose is complex and intriguing, both the palate and the color suggest early maturity, and the overall effect is not much pleasing, to me, than a random Alsace Grand Cru - so at this point I'm happy I decided to drink up my remaining 2005's. (Jun. 29, 2013)

Uhlen Laubach, 2005

This is more like it, and exactly what I was expecting to get! The nose is all about granny apples and slate, while the palate offers presence without any undue weight, the dryness absolutely appropriate, both offering understated complexity and purity. Very focused and vital, with a pink grapefruit finish. (Jul. 3, 2013)

Roth Lay, 2005

This, again, is frustratingly early maturing. The nose is as complex as the Blaufusser Lay - to my aesthetic perception more interesting, with dill and parsley complementing notes of petrol, and a backdrop that hints of mushroom and sesame oil, making for a subtly expressive portrait. But the fruit has dried so that the wine  lacks vitality (and eight years should be young for a Riesling of this pedigree), and, as terrific as the nose is, the overall effect is disappointing. Much like the Blaufusser Lay, this is a wine that peaked before it could express its full potential. (Jul. 14, 2013)





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