Schloss Lieser Niederberg Helden Riesling Spätlese 2007

I chilled this wine in preparation for last night’s salmon dinner, but we didn’t get around to drinking it. So it came out tonight instead, was asked to partner chicken, and did so with aplomb.

It had to blow off a fair bit of sulfur first, mind you. Quite prickly and stinky for a few minutes, leading to a much cleaner, rather candied expression of yellow fruits and citrus, along with a hint of cheese. There’s a nice streak of savouriness too, minerality I guess, that cuts through the rich fruit aromas. It’s not exactly slick; rather, it’s a dressed up country cousin of a wine — attractive and neat, but roundly wholesome too.
Great presence in the mouth.  Entry is quite tingly and full-flavoured, leading to a middle palate of significant proportions and generous intensity. There’s a degree of formlessness to the fruit flavours, which detracts a little from the precision of other components like the firmish acidity and mineral edginess. A chalky mouthfeel tightens the after palate, cleaning up a slight excess of sweetness and laziness of form, before a nice long finish fades slowly on the tongue.
Not bad at all, then. I like the interplay of sweet, almost crackly fruit with adult savouriness and delicious texture. A touch more focus would make this even better.

Schloss Lieser
Price: $A49.95
Closure: Cork
Source: Retail

Reinhold Haart Piesport Goldtröpfchen Kabinett 2007

I’ve been a bit slow in tasting my stash of 2007 German Rieslings so, this evening, as I enjoy the company of a great friend, I have opened this Kabinett-level wine from the Mosel. 

Opulent richness on the nose, beyond what one might expect for this ripeness level, along with some prickly sulfur and a hint of minerality. Fruit aromas are in the apricot spectrum and lack the vibrant freshness of brand new Riesling; to be expected, perhaps, given the age of the wine. I’m swirling this wine vigorously as I feel it will benefit from some air; a decant wouldn’t be out of the question. There’s an intriguing savouriness to the aroma profile that is becoming more prominent as the wine sits in glass; it’s somewhere between pebbles and the smell of juicy, smashed weeds. 
In the mouth, full-flavoured without being overly intense. The entry sneaks up on you, building towards a rather bling middle palate full of slightly simple apricot and rich lemons. There’s a broadness to the flavours and structure that isn’t entirely attractive, though there’s plenty of flavour, so one always has a lot to latch on to. Minerality takes over through the after palate, and the flavour profile becomes a lot dryer towards the nicely textured finish. Unremarkable length.
I wish this wine were more focused and that flavours showed greater detail; as it is, a very pleasant off-dry white.

Reinhold Haart
Price: $A46.95
Closure: Cork
Source: Retail

Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett 2007

Tension is an underexplored dimension of wine that, in some respects, goes against the grain of conventional aesthetics. Balance, harmony and elegance are all buzzwords of significant currency, dictating a serene, classical conception of beauty that, I’ll admit, often holds a lot of appeal for me.

I also like Italian horror films from the 1970s. And Sandra Bernhard’s lips. And Michel Houellebecq’s politics. All angular, difficult things that, on some level, fill me with a sense of beauty. Lately, I find myself wondering on a regular basis whether a wine that is less than composed in its structure and flow can be equally, perhaps even more, beautiful than one which is perfectly built. I know the answer is “of course it can;” articulating why is more challenging.

In some respects, this wine is all over the place. Its flavour profile leaps from sulfur to rich, aromatic fruit to crystalline minerality. Its mouthfeel lurches from spritz to unctuousness to chiselled dryness. Yet, somehow, it all comes together in the most exciting, delicious way. The aroma shows slightly blunt sulfur, the dull ache of carbonated mineral water, tart marmalade and, strangely, the smell of white pepper. It’s a question mark of a nose, darting this way and that. It’s also subtly alluring, redolent of the smell of spice markets that I suspect have only ever existed in the pages of books.

The palate is a rollercoaster ride. Spritz registers on entry, cutting through what becomes a rich expression of Riesling fruit on the middle palate. Mango skins and lime juice, mostly. It’s delicious, if sweet, and begins to cloy just as a swell of minerality rises to temper any excess of residual sugar. I have been sipping this wine all evening, and have not remotely tired of the contrasting interplay between sweet fruit and dry flintiness. It’s one of the hardest things to get right with off-dry Riesling styles, and this wine makes it seem just effortful enough to help one appreciate the achievement. A lovely, long finish.

I see this wine as a contest of sorts, between elements that clash and come together not to cancel each other out, but to give rise through conflict to something quite lovely. It’s fabulous.

Willi Schaefer
Price: $A42
Closure: Stelvin
Source: Retail

Ökonomierat Rebholz Riesling Vom Buntsandstein Spätlese 2007

I was a bit underwhelmed by this wine initially; it’s quite rich and I found it a little cloying. But extended tasting reveals a complex, delicate flavour profile. There’s a lot to enjoy here. Besides which, the label looks totally home made, which is fun in a low-tech way.

On the nose, slightly sulfurous with powerful fruit aromas and some floral delicacy. It has gained better balance with some air, so do let it breathe a bit or give it a good swirl, even if (like me) you’re feeling thirsty. Your reward will be good complexity and increased coherence. 
In the mouth, some air has again worked to its advantage, lightening the wine’s feel and allowing a wide range of flavours to express themselves. Entry is quite full and immediate, with fragrant mandarin and preserved citrus peel the dominant flavours. Sweetness peaks on the middle palate, before maximum complexity asserts itself through the quite wonderful after palate, with bitter orange flavours sitting alongside sweet, small stonefruit and a streak of savoury minerality.  A gentle, sweet finish of impressive length. There’s no doubt this is a richly flavoured wine, full of expressive, sweet fruit and, arguably, acidity that is too restrained. I’d still prefer a more nimble middle palate and slightly cleaner finish, but I can appreciate this wine’s silky, sophisticated mouthfeel — with just a hint of soft spritz — and overall generosity.
Not my ideal style, but a quality wine nonetheless.

Ökonomierat Rebholz
Price: $A70
Closure: Cork
Source: Retail

Forstmeister Geltz Zilliken Saarburger Rausch Kabinett Riesling 2007

There’s something uniquely intimidating about German wine labels. 

Then again, this wine requires very little translation – it speaks quite clearly all on its own. This has to be one of the most drinkable — indeed sloshable — wines I’ve had this year. Half the bottle is gone and I’ve only just started to write this note. Thank goodness it’s only 8% abv.
The nose is complex and slightly prickly, with a fruit character akin to very delicate marmalade. There’s a minerality that, as odd as this might seem, comes across as fluffy, perhaps even sparkly. It’s expressive in a confident but measured way, like someone who knows just how much to project their voice at a social gathering. Very sniffable, and it’s evolving slowly as it sits in the glass.
Not that it gets much of an opportunity to sit there; it’s so very inviting. The entry is relatively full and fruit-driven, suggesting a level of sweetness that threatens, for a moment, to overwhelm. But almost immediately, the wine finds its balance, ultra-fine acidity rising to temper the residual sugar, minerality a natural foil to flavours of fine lime marmalade. Indeed, the way this wine seems to exude delicacy while retaining fullness of weight and flavour is tantalising. The after palate especially possess a lightness of movement through to the finish that is both fascinating and pleasurable, encouraging the next sip.
This can probably take a bit of age, but I’m going to drink mine young. Delicious.

Forstmeister Geltz Zilliken
Price: $A40
Closure: Cork
Source: Retail

Schafer-Frohlich Bockenauer Felseneck Dry Riesling 2007

I bought a selection of 2007 German Rieslings the other day from Eurocentric and will taste my way through them over the coming weeks. This is the first, and hopefully a sign of things to come.

Lovely nose; what strikes one first is the richness of fruit, sort of tropical and apricot-like in equal measure, and sufficiently assertive that it initially masks the floral, mineral aspects of the aroma profile. Some more sniffing reveals the full extent of this wine’s complexity, which is quite impressive and very well balanced. Once it has time to settle in the glass, it’s simply a wall of quite luscious, detailed aromatics; something to sniff repeatedly for sure.
The palate is equally rich, without being especially intense. Again, the vibe here is balanced, a number of elements combining with good harmony. The entry is sharp and glossy, like a well-honed Wusthof knife, acid cutting a clear path to the middle palate. While the fruit is quite generous in flavour profile, with just a hint of apparent residual sweetness, it’s curiously restrained and allows space for a range of flavours of a more pebbly nature to share the stage. The acid is lovely; prominent and shapely, a bit grainy even, without feeling coarse or out of control. Honeysuckle and mineral flavours flow through the after palate, whisked along briskly by an acid structure that here, more than at any other point, contributes sourness to the flavour profile. Talc-like aromatics on the finish with a squeeze of grapefruit for good measure.
Delicious wine on its own, and an admirable partner to awesome fish and chips from a renowned corner store down the road. I feel rather spoiled on this Friday evening. Totally worth the dosh.

Price: $A60
Closure: Cork
Source: Retail

Dr. Loosen Bernkasteler Lay Riesling Kabinett 2005

It has taken a while to get a German wine up at Full Pour, which is odd because I’m a bit of a fan, and Chris is a Germanophile and fluent speaker of the language (I’m sure he will forgive me for spilling a few of his secrets). I guess I don’t buy as many as I should; the story of all Riesling perhaps, not just the German variety. In any case, here we have a slightly older release from the 2005 vintage, by all accounts a rather good one in the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer (or simply Mosel, as the region is now known).
A colour that shows no signs of age as yet — still pale and fresh with a slightly greenish tint. The nose really is impressive at first sniff. Well defined aromas of slate, talc, citrus flowers and fuller, more tropical fruit all emerge from the glass. It’s an instant “wow” wine, not through an excess of impact, rather because of its intrinsic complexity and attractiveness. The nose faded a little through the evening.
On entry, initially a very tight, coiled experience, with chalky acidity serving to attenuate the wine’s line quite prematurely. This resolved itself quickly, though, and the wine struck its true balance within about half an hour. There is rich, primary fruit on the mid palate, rather honeysuckle-like but with a prominent slatey, mineral dimension too. Complexity isn’t quite at the same level as shown on the nose, but the fruit character is multi-dimensional and jumps between richness, slate and lighter, powdery florals. For its part, the acidity never quite integrates as seamlessly as one would like. It continues to jut out a bit, being both a little rough and a little isolated at the same time. Imagine someone singing a song by yelping once, loudly, as opposed to maintaining a melodic line through the whole piece. This acid character prevents the wine from achieving a truly sophisticated balance, and the fruit ends up cloying ever so slightly. Despite this, there’s an undeniably impressive, long finish to the wine.
Not entirely satisfying, then, but still a lot to enjoy. I wonder if the acidity will play off against the fruit better with a little more bottle age. I’ll leave one or two in the cellar to find out.
Dr LoosenPrice: $A35Closure: StelvinDate tasted: June 2008