Ökonomierat Rebholz, Spätburgunder Spätlese trocken, 2004
A couple of years ago I discussed German red wine with a lover of red Burgundy. He was mildly curious, but at the same time convinced that German Pinot Noir, or Spätburgunder, might be acceptable yet would not be substantial enough to age for more than three or four years.
Now, with a Spätburgunder of barely seven years of age to review today I am probably not in a position to change that view (for that I would refer to a 1999 from the Mosel and a 1992 from Baden) - but then we drink wine to enjoy it and not to correct Burgundy fans.
Interestingly, the Rebholz Pinot, a dry wine of late harvest quality, almost feels like two different wines if you compare nose and palate. When you smell it there are undeniably some mild signs of age and lots of darker vegetable aromas - a mushroomy earthiness and a general impression of the various smells of forest floor are key characteristics, and there is some mocha too. It is not all autumnal though, liquorice and cherry add some fruity freshness.
On the palate there is much more of the fruity freshness though (for the numbers people: it has about 5g of acidity). Really lovely fruit interact with nicely integrated tannin, subtle oak notes and a freshness that makes the Rebholz almost appear young on your tongue. These elements come together so nicely that the wine feels very pleasant and is extremely easy to drink. Seeing how fresh it still feels I believe the Spätburgunder should be a joy for a few more years to come - shame this was my only bottle.