Imagine the Winesleuth comes to visit. Well, a good week ago fellow London-based wine blogger Denise did actually come over for dinner. And as Winesleuths and -ramblers cannot be without wine for too long, we had to taste two German Rieslings. One was the a deliciously sweet Riesling, the 2007 Goldtröpfchen Spätlese from the Haart winery, which was reviewed here before. The first was a Riesling too, but a dry one the Löwenstein winery. Here is what Denise had to say about it (so I guess this is our first guest-blog, in a way):
The Heymann-Lowenstein 2007, made from old vines, was beautiful. A lovely hay colour, passion fruit, peaches and a paraffin wax nose to wallow in before taking the first sip. Wowza! Concentrated red, ripe apples, pineapples and chunky minerality, slate notes well defined and well integrated, made this wine live up to it's name which translated means "Slate Terrace". The wine was also slightly tingly in the mouth, a pleasant sensation to keep me on my toes and again that acidity I love so much.
Well, what else is there to add? Not very much, apart from one detail that surprised me a little. While I really liked this wine, I actually liked the basic 2008 Schiefferterrassen a little bit more. This may very well be because the old vines 07 might need a few more years before it fully unleashes its full potential. And it is quite clear to see that it has a lot of that.
There is another, not entirely unrelated aspect, of this wine that warrants attention. When Heymann-Löwenstein print 'Alte Reben', 'old vines', on the label of a Schiefferterrassen wine, it is actually meant to indicate that with this wine fermentation stopped a little earlier, resulting in a somewhat higher level of residual sugar compared to the 'normal', dry wine from the Schiefferterrasen. So technically, 'Alte Reben' should be translated to 'slightly half-dry'. The term 'old vines' is not legally protected in Germany, so theoretically everyone can use it for anything. This is not meant to say that the grapes that went into this wine did not come from old vines, but a higher degree of ripeness and a slightly higher level of residual sugar are the main points. This is also why these wines are said to reach their full potential in 5-10 years when the will appear to be properly dry.
Have a look at the full posting on the Winesleuth blog: Riesling on a cold and dark December evening. I now kind of think we need to have the next tasting on a cold and grey Chicago morning. In the ghetto, in the ghetto...