WTN: Mature reds and immature (mostly) whites

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WTN: Mature reds and immature (mostly) whites

Postby David M. Bueker » Wed Sep 06, 2006 12:53 pm

MATURE REDS AND IMMATURE (MOSTLY) WHITES - (9/5/2006)

My tasting group gathered at the house for my annual turn. I did not have any real theme, but everyone in the group likes older reds but they always complain when I don't pour some of my favorite German wines. So I decided to take care of both.

We started with a couple of warm up wines.

The 2002 Heymann-Lowenstein Riesling Uhlen 'Roth Lay' was a very rich dry wine that showed lots of minerality, but did not have great flavor focus. I need to re-taste the wine tonight.

A 2005 Kerpen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese* was good, but not great. It also lacked focus (too soon after the travel from Europe?), but had very nice, ripe fruit flavors and decent acidity. Nice wine, but not a world beater by any stretch.

Then it was on to the tasting proper. All wines served blind and opened (with an ounce poured off to check for cork/other faults) an hour ahead.
Cabernet
  • 1994 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley (9/5/2006)
    Very good but not outstanding Cabernet. Showed a bit thin on stuffing for its tannins. Some good fruit, earth and herb flavors, but it had a very short finish.
  • 1994 Arrowood Cabernet Sauvignon Réserve Spéciale - USA, California, Sonoma County (9/5/2006)
    Delicious red and black fruit, good balance of tannins, fruit and acid, and a lingering finish. This is jsut getting to be mature, but has the fruit and tannin to carry it several more years.
Syrah
  • 1995 Qupé Syrah Reserve Bien Nacido - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley (9/5/2006)
    Fully mature, shwoing black fruit, earth and herbal aromas and flavors. Softening but still present tannins keep everything in balance. Excellent wine.
  • 1996 Ojai Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley (9/5/2006)
    This is still a very young wine. Lots of primary fruit, but the beginnings of a leathery/sweaty nuance. Excellent structural balance and capable of significant further age.
Spatlese
  • 2004 Schmitges Erdener Prälat Riesling Spätlese Alte Reben - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer, Mosel (9/5/2006)
    Just off-dry. Very minerally with tropical fruit elements. Excellent balance and a long, mineral dominated finish.
  • 2004 Weingut Josef Leitz Rüdesheimer Berg Schloßberg Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Rheingau (9/5/2006)
    Excellent fruit (tropical), solid but not dominant acids and a long, fruit finish. The mineral elements are buried under a lot of fruit and a little botrytis right now. This needs and can support lots of aging.
Auslese
  • 1996 Kurt Darting Dürkheimer Nonnengarten Rieslaner Auslese - Germany, Pfalz (9/5/2006)
    Surprisingly good balance for a '96, with burnished tropical fruit and a long and refreshing finish. Drinking well now.
  • 2001 Kurt Darting Dürkheimer Nonnengarten Rieslaner Auslese - Germany, Pfalz (9/5/2006)
    Lots of concentration and fruit flavors. Very rich mouthfeel and still plenty of road to go before it hits peak. Significantly better balance than the '96.


A good night. I gave very good to outstanding scores to all the wines. Our lowest scorer was 15.5/20 (UC Davis scoring system) with the highest at 18.2/20.
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Re: TN: Mature reds and immature (mostly) whites

Postby OW Holmes » Wed Sep 06, 2006 2:16 pm

"A good night." That's an understatement. Thanks for the notes.
-OW
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Re: TN: Mature reds and immature (mostly) whites

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Sep 06, 2006 2:39 pm

Thanks for these excellent notes. Great to read your impressions of recently released German wines!!
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Re: TN: Mature reds and immature (mostly) whites

Postby Otto » Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:37 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:A 2005 Kerpen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese* was good, but not great. It also lacked focus (too soon after the travel from Europe?), but had very nice, ripe fruit flavors and decent acidity. Nice wine, but not a world beater by any stretch.

.........

1996 Kurt Darting Dürkheimer Nonnengarten Rieslaner AusleseSurprisingly good balance for a '96, with burnished tropical fruit and a long and refreshing finish. Drinking well now.


Or just a very hot vintage.

What's wrong with '96? I love the acidforwardness of the vintage (generalisation, I know, sorry).
I don't drink wine because of religious reasons ... only for other reasons.

No longer ITB.
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Re: TN: Mature reds and immature (mostly) whites

Postby David M. Bueker » Wed Sep 06, 2006 8:16 pm

2005 does not show itself as a very hot vintage. Rather for me it shows as a much improved 1999, which was a warm but not 'hot' vintage. 2005 is nothing like 2003.

The one thing about 2005 is that there are some monumental wines. But I do not think the overall level of quality is anywhere near 2001.

As for 1996, well many '96s are out of balance. The acid sticks out like a sore thumb in all but the best examples. The best are amazing wines, but only the best. I like balance and harmony. Vintages like 2001, 2002 and 2004 have that for me. Years like 1994 and 1996 show one facet (acid) of the wine out in front of the rest (just as 1976 and 1989 showcased botrytis). That is not great wine. Now I love 1998 as a high acid year, but the acids are high, not teeth rattling. To love most '96s is not to love German wine, it is to love acid for acid's sake. It is no more defensible than 2003 which showcased ripeness to level beyond comprehension with low acid. Again, the best wines from any of the above vintages stand as monuments, but it is the rare vintage that brings the overall level of quality to the heights.
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