Schlossgut Diel, Dorsheimer Burgberg, Riesling Spätlese, 1999

Schlossgut Diel, Dorsheimer Burgberg, Riesling Spätlese, 1999

This is a story of failure. Not a failure of the wine in question, quite the opposite of it. The wine was great. Instead it was me who failed the wine, in a way at least. Having said that, perhaps someone else is to be blamed for this ramble being a little different. As it happens, I have a photo of the culprit, and they look like this:

the real culprit
the real culprit

What has a pure, innocent grasshopper to do with an aged late harvest Riesling? Well, it is all about focus and light.

So, the other day I decided to open one of those special, aged wines in my collection. Admittedly, twelve years is not really old as far as really old wines go, but considering that I am forced to store my wine in a wardrobe, albeit a very tasty one, there is a limit to how far I can go. I had bought the Diel late harvest a year ago at a reduced price and was very much looking forward to an aged Riesling from one of the Nahe valley's renowned producers.

The wine was fantastic with and after lunch, and as usually I wrote my tasting notes for the blog down on a piece of paper. It was a Sunday and not only was the wine very good, it was also a lovely day in general, with wonderful sunshine. And as good light is a key ingredient for taking close-up shots of insects - a favourite pastime of mine this summer - I decided not to be a slacker and to set out and hunt for photogenic bugs. And I got lucky and found a few willing models. Unfortunately and rather uncharacteristically for me though I seem to have put the notes in my pocket, and when bending down to take photos the paper must have slipped out. Annoyingly, I only noticed this weeks later and by the time much detail had slipped my usually cast-iron memory.

As you will have gathered by now, this is all a rather elaborate excuse for not writing a wine review of the Diel. However, I liked the wine so much, I did not want it to go unnoticed. What I can tell you from memory is that the Riesling was lovely, elegant and with many of the wonderful aromas and flavours only an aged sweet Riesling can deliver. Mineral, paraffin wax and a hint of serious petrol, but all soft and very nicely blended with lovely fruit (peach, citrus and some pineapple) and great secondary aromas and flavours - nougat and caramel I do still remember. Still fresh for its age, the Riesling's caramel sweetness had started to fade away a little and there was a lovely acidity zing.

What the grasshopper made of my full notes I don't know though.


Submitted by Alex Monday, 19/09/2011 lost your notes. But I think I bought the same wine, probably from the same offer. As for our verdict, it couldn't really stand out within a tasting of several bottles, as it was lacking acidity or juiciness.
But it's always tuff with these sorts of tastings! Cheers

Submitted by torsten Monday, 19/09/2011

In reply to by Alex

Interesting! Either our bottles had a slightly different history or the Diel was a little overwhelmed by the mighty competition you had in the tasting. From my memory, that does not sound unlikely, seeing as the wine was more on the delicate side - with the very light Asian lunch I enjoyed it it was perfect. My notes had more about how the wine related to the fish and the sauce (which included soy sauce), but, alas!, the grasshopper ate my homework. From memory the Diel was definitely better than just good, but also not quite in the top range (hence me not rating it as marvellous or better) - but as I am a big believer in the influence of the drinking context I think the summary of both our experiences may be that it can be good on its own or with matching food, but may not stand up to the big guns?