Amongst the many things for which I enjoy Riesling, one of the recurring highlights of a particularly good one is the directness with which it communicates its quality. Personally, I find quality one of the less tangible aspects of wine, intersecting (and at times contradicting) other considerations like drinkability and style. Somehow, though, I find with Riesling that an increase in quality tends to align with an increase in my enjoyment, and I think part of it is the somewhat facile satisfaction I obtain from being able to clearly grasp what makes a good Riesling so good. At least, I flatter myself this ability.
Take this Grosset wine, which is bloody good. It’s complex, and as I sniff the wine and take in this complexity, I remind myself that’s all there is. No oak, apparently straightforward winemaking; it’s just fruit character shining forth. This is a case, surely, of minimalist winemaking enhancing terroir (not, I believe, something to be regarded as a truism, but that’s another post for another time). Though less exhuberant than the 2008 vintage, there’s an obvious family resemblance, with a range of high toned notes overlaying deeper, almost tropical fruits and detailed citrus aromas. Great balance, interest and style.
The palate shows the youthful impact for which this label is known, placing relatively full, rich fruit in a framework of textured, slatey acidity and etched complexity. The entry is like a wedge; it starts from nothing and works its way confidently to a bright middle palate filled with flavour, beautiful texture and the kind of drape normally reserved for high end couture. It’s the facted angularity of its architecture as much as any other, more prosaic dimension that satisfies me here. And, to be hyper-critical, the intellectualism associated with this style might get in the way of purely sensual appreciation. I tend to think, though, that bottle age might cure any such faults, if one were to find them distracting. Personally, I love that it drags me to a higher level of appreciation as a taster. If only more wines held drinkers in such high regard.