The quality ladder of German wine is predicated on their sugar content – the higher the sugar content the better the wine. On the face of it that is a reasonable rationale because the ripest grapes have the most flavours and complexity to give to the wine – but, when do we drink these, generally sweeter, wines? Most people enjoy wines with food and, apart from the use of the luscious wines at the end of the meal (and that’s not a huge market), which foods readily match the higher quality German wines? Yes, in theory, we can relax in the garden over a glass or two of Spatlese, but, in reality, are there lots of people doing that?
Well, certainly Richard and I enjoyed Kurt Hain’s ’07 Piesporter Goldtropfchen Riesling Kabinett [Richard: in the garden, as it happens]. At 8% ABV, you can mow the lawn, pull up a tree stump or two or re-roof the garden shed afterwards – but we decided not to. It was a lovely drop, right from the strikingly lime green colour to its appley finish. The nose had ‘an Alsace taint’ (Richard) and was only slightly petrolly but very rich with lots of high acidity aromas. It developed quite a honeyed aroma the longer it sat in the glass.
The palate exhibited why better quality German wines are so wunderbar. The balance of acidity and sweetness keeps you wanting more – but not in a guzzling way, as each drop needs to be savoured for its smooth-as-silk mouth-feel. The final taste was definitely off-dry but had the attractive apple freshness.
What to eat with this? Well light, aromatic cheeses, fish and most poultry (be careful with the sauce) would be wonderful.
[Richard: from Leon Stolarski who is really a southern France specialist. A few years ago he offered a case of 12 different Mosels which I though I’d try in a spirit of adventure. Having tasted a few this is the first I’ve really liked. The others have been too sweet. Classy wine, great mouth feel, lovely acidity. Easy to appreciate the quality even if you are not totally sold on the style. Only £12, cheapest wine in the case and a bargain. Of the remainder, Geoff has taken a couple off my hands and I’ll try to keep the rest for another 5-6 years as I’m sure they’ll develop brilliantly.]