Sparklers and stickies was the theme for the December event of the SF German Wine Society. Walking in, I was greeted with a glass of the 2004 Solter Rheingau Brut Sekt (late-disgorged), which I've had before (not the late-disgorged version), and still don't find myself a fan of—moves between tart green and peach, okay nose, but just not interesting. Much more to my tastes (indeed one of the more memorable sekts I've sampled) was the 2004 Heymann-Löwenstein Riesling Fantasie der Schieferterrassen from the Mosel (as all the following wines were, unless otherwise noted). Flinty fun nose, and quite firm in the mouth—could probably even use a year or two to integrate. Returned to it later and still found it much more my style of sparker.
Alas most of the auslesen were from 2006—which doesn't seem to be a very tasty vintage for my preferences so far. The 2006 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Frühlingsplätzchen Riesling Spätlese from the Nahe introduced all the peaches, syrup and botrytis that was to follow. A revisit did bring forth more of that lime flavor I associate with the Nahe, but overall this wine just wasn't interesting (or particularly appealing) for me. The 2005 Joh. Jos. Prüm Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese, however, was very well bound, lots of savory flavors, multiple binding elements here that clearly need time. The 2002 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese #6 was one of my favorites on the lower end of the table—honey and lime, straightforward deliciousness. And drinkable! Just barely starting to develop, but everything going nicely. The 2006 Dr. Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel was pretty much the crowd favorite—the nose indeed was among the prettiest—but a touch too much heavy honey, didn't feel so drinkable to me. The 2006 Schmitges Erdener Treppchen Riesling Auslese held its ground better than most—watermelon jolly rancher, sweet, tangy and pleasureable. It didn't lumber under the weight.
The 2006 Hauth Kerpen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese was a fascinating comparison with the Loosen from the same vineyard—flint and smoke on the nose and a similar richness but a contrasting tingle of acidity and savoryness. I can't say I was a big fan, but this was much more interesting for me to drink than was the Loosen. The 2007 Toni Jost Bacharacher Hahn Riesling Beerenauslese from the Mittelrhein performed pretty well with a very wild nose and complex and interesting flavors with savory notes. Tons going on here—a fun wine.
Onto some eiswein: The 2007 Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Eiswein offered light playful acid to go with rich and clean peachy blueberries. Nose really silent at the moment, however. The least favorite for the crowd had to be the 1988 Dr. H Thanisch Bernkasteler Doctor Riesling Eiswein—and there was a whole lot of funk going on in this wine. I liked it as some had developed—but clearly this was about intellectual curiosity rather than pure sensory pleasure. And in any case, it offered a cleansing differentness for the palate. This was among my very few experiences with aged eiswein—not a good report thus far. Back into the action the 2004 Johann Peter Reinert Wiltinger Schlangengraben Riesling Eiswein Auction from the Saar was my kind of eiswein—great nose, a bit cloying but the wine moves, superb balance, richness that carries. Yum.
My wine of the night, and one of the most memorable TBAs I recall sampling was the 1999 August Kesseler Rüdesheimer Berg Roseneck Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese #11 from the Rheingau. Multilayered fantastic nose, purity in the mouth with ethereal flavors. A real eyeopener for TBA—it was stunning. Finally the 2007 Müller-Catoir Gimmeldinger Schlössel Trockenbeerenauslese, which I didn't note and didn't realize at the tasting, but was likely a Rieslaner from the Pfalz. Over the top. Explosive tropical papaya nose. Rich intense papayaric intensity in the mouth. Delicious but way too intense for me to enjoy (or at least enjoy enough to justify ever purchasing such nectar). An educational lineup and great conversations as always before returning to the chilly air and the full moon hanging over Fort Mason.
Last edited by Keith M
on Sat Dec 05, 2009 1:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.