Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Nektar des Gotten - Schloss Johannisberger Grunlack Riesling Spatlese 1975er

Wow that title really trips off the tongue doesnt it! We dont really sell a great deal of German wine. It has a bad image. Generally people only drink it when they want something a bit sweeter. But they are ignoring a world of wonderfully dry rieslings, like the Georg Breuer Riesling Sauvage we used to have by the glass. Admittedly that sold quite well, but unfortunately Heinrich Breuer felt the UK market didnt appreciate the wines enough, and moved all his stock to the American market which seems to be lapping it up at the moment. Anyways Im getting sidetracked, because this wine is far from dry. Spatlese is the second level on the Qualitatswein mit Pradikat quality ladder, which in Germany is dictated by the sugar levels of the musts. Kabinett, Spatlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, (Eiswein), Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA for short) - dry to toothshockingly sweet. Now TBA's are generally later harvested, so the grapes are almost like shrivelled raisins when they are harvested. The resulting juice is low in water and exceptionally high in sugars. The fermentation is really slow, as long as a year in some cases, and the yields are so miniscule that the prices for these rare treasures is truly eyewatering so they usually come in half bottles. Damn, getting sidetracked again.

The colour is a rich golden amber, hardly surprising as its 31 years old. On the nose it is rich, honeyed with tropical fruit like aromas - papaya, mango and the ubiquitous melon. One the palate it is quite sweet, very unctuous, there is a slight hint of acidity still holding the wine together, but the overwhelming experience for me was the sweetness (think three spoons of sugar in your tea sweet {I take one!}). The tropical fruit flavours still come through quite well, but there is a hint of something slightly floral too, perhaps a honeysuckle, with a touch of ginger - in some ways it reminded me of a herbal tea loaded with sugar. The customers loved it, but unfortunately that was the last bottle.

Update - managed to find their website and was quite amazed to discover the winery can trace its history back to 768AD. Now thats really old world!!

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