Our first masterclass for this season opened with a grape variety that some consumers find difficult to appreciate -something that we do understand-, while others have fallen eternally in love, the controversial Riesling!
Following last month's superb presentation of our own Greek Assyrtiko in both its fresh and mature versions, we decided to introduce the different faces of its German counterpart. Come on, let's be honest; how many white or even red wines do actually exist that could be aged for at least forty years or more and still offer you such a shocking experience as Riesling does?
To cut things sort, the wine-tasting held on October 30, 2014 in Paradiso restaurant together with 50 Riesling lovers, was a unique journey through time. Officially the Riesling time capsule stopped back in 1971, but in fact after the official wine tasting was over, we spotted a bottle of 1959 somewhere between the tables, as you will read at the end of this article.
It goes without saying that when someone refers to top German Riesling, questions about whether the wine can be aged or not are rather pointless. Some things are common knowledge with the only thing left to examine is the aging limitations that Riesling can reach. Similar to purchasing a Ferrari with the only dream to reach the speedometer's limit, going up to 350 km/h. Well, Riesling indeed manages to offer high speeding limits back in time!
The overwhelming balance of sweetness and acidity in combination with the dry extract and the concentrated fruit of the top German Riesling are the key reason that these wines can endure through time.
But what do we mean by balance? It is what you experience when you taste one after the other the three Pradikat (Kabinett, Spatlese and Auslese) of Joh. Jos Prüm from Wehlener Sonnenuhr vineyard and despite the 45 gr per liter residual sugar the Kabinett still feels like being dry and the 80 gr per liter Auslese still not going over the boundaries of the freshwater sensation. And in case you are wondering how this can be done, the magic word is "acidity" ranging between 9 and 11gr/lt and with the Ph intervening in a range of between 2.85 and 2.90!!!
Just for this time please allow us to be flamboyant. As despite our little mishaps with some corked bottles (Murphy's law in all its glory), this was the best tasting yet that we have organized. It takes a lot of effort and money to gather from abroad 11 different rare labels of Riesling dating back to 1971 and to bring in an expert of the range of Stefan Metzner, a WSET certified educator and a MW student, to present and explain these wines.
Some rather interesting thoughts that we would like to share with you:
1. Keep the best Ausleses from the Mosel and Rheingau for at least 10 years after the vintage and enjoy them for the next 2-3 decades, or if you're lucky even longer.
2. Drink Kabinett and the Spatlese wines at maximum 15 and 25 years of age, always with some exceptions that can go even further as for example the 1949 Prum and the 1921 R.Weil. The 1959 Spatlese that we left for the end, despite not being at its best still was in a pretty good shape.
3. Vintages are important! For example, a warm year like 2003 will give mediocre results in all the categories while a 2010 wine will be a masterpiece for many years to come.
4. The petrol aroma (TDN) develops with time even in wines from the best vineyards. We detected it in 1971, 1979 and 1993 without, however, being the dominant element in any of the wines.
Special thanks to Stefan Metzner and the Samsung Hellas team for their presence and support in this event. For those of you who own a Samsung smart television, you can use the Wine Commanders application that we have recently developed together with Samsung Hellas.
Here are the flights of the wines we tasted with our favorites in each flight highlighted with three stars:
First flight (the Pradikats)
2011 Mosel/Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett/ Weingut Joh. Jos Prum (9.0%abv)
2011 Mosel/Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spatlese/ Weingut Joh. Jos Prum (8.5%abv)
2011 Mosel/Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese/ Weingut Joh. Jos Prum (7.5%abv) ***
Second flight(mixed bag)
2010 Mosel/Riesling Auslese/Weingut Willems Willems (8.0%abv)
2009 Rheingau/Hochheimer Domdechaney Riesling Trocken Erstes Gewachs/Weingut Domdechant Werner (14%abv) ***
2013 Rheingau/Rudesheimer Berg Roseneck Riesling Trocken/Weingut Carl Ehrhard (12.5%abv)
Third flight (going down vintages)
1993 Mosel/Thornicher Ritsch Riesling Auslese/Weingut Hermann Ludes (10.3%abv) ***
1989 Rheingau/Rudesheimer Berg Roseneck Riesling Spatlese/Weingut Geschmister Ehrhard(10.5%abv)
1979 Mosel/Leiwener Laurentiuslay Spatlese Riesling/Weingut Heinrich Wintrich
Fourth flight (going down vintages)
1971 Mosel/Krover Kirchlay Spatlese/Weingut Hubertins Muller
1976 Pfalz/Kallstadter Saumagen Riesling Beerenauslese/Weingut Henninger *** (the most complete wine of the tasting)