TheWineRambler "A German wine label is one of the things life's too short for" - Kingsley Amis

Lucashof, Forster Pechstein, Riesling Spätlese trocken, 2000

Posted by Torsten 27 Jul 2011

Sometimes before going to bed I browse the websites of wine merchants and dream what I could order if only I had a proper wine cellar store wine long term (or, depending on the wine, a larger purchasing budget). During one of those sessions I came across a wine that seemed like the ideal solution to both problems: at over ten years of age it would not need more cellaring and at €9 it would not put a strain on my budget - considering the age it was a bargain.

I had heard of the Lucashof winery before, so I was curious to find out what one of their aged dry Rieslings (and from a well-know vineyard) would taste like.

Now, before you imagine me jumping up and down with excitement before opening the bottle there is a caveat. The 2000 vintage, well, was not without its problems, especially for grapes that, like Riesling, are harvested late; the end of the summer and early autumn were very rainy. Even so, I have had fantastic wines from supposedly dreadful vintages - it always depends on the location and the winemaker.

The first promising sign with regards to the Lucashof Riesling was a wonderfully intense gold colour, indicating age but also good drinking condition. Interestingly, it also had the most impressive collection of tartaric acid crystals I have seen in a long time. These crystals, while not exactly tasty, are perfectly harmless. Tartaric acids do in fact have a key role in stabilising wine, and sometimes they crystallise in the bottle.

tartaric acid in the bottletartaric acid in the bottle

The nose of the Lucashof had two of the classic signs of aged Riesling: petrol (or, in this case petroleum ether) and caramel notes. There were also fresh, fruity elements - lemon and orange peel. Overall it did not exactly feel spent, but certainly somewhat faded.

On the tongue the acidity was very prominent, a bit too much for my taste as (despite originally perhaps not totally bone-dry) the Riesling seemed to want a little sweetness to balance it. The wine was almost buttery and a little waxy on the tongue, with nut and furniture polish flavours and grapefruit in a fairly long finish. Undeniably there was a certain smoothness, but also not too much depth.

An aged Riesling with good parts, but overall not the harmony and balance or depth you would look for in such a wine. It either wasn't too great to start with or perhaps in the ageing process the fruit components that could have brought it all together had faded too much, making it a little too bitter and acidic. On the other hand it had a smooth and creamy texture, interesting moments and a fairly long finish - so you find me somewhat torn in my opinion on this wine. I would definitely recommend it more to the Riesling curious than the average wine drinker.