Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Anatomy of a 19-Year-Old Riesling

The Forster Pechstein vineyard produces some of the Pfalz's
best riesling. This Smurf-like rock carving is pretty cool, too.
I’ve said if before and I’ll say it again: aged riesling is one of life’s most delicious treats. I was reminded of this last night as I opened a bottle of riesling that I bought at auction and have been holding onto for a year or so…

Vintage: 1994
Producer: Reichsrat Von Buhl
Wine: Riesling
Designation: Kabinett
Vineyard: Forster Pechstein
Region: Pfalz (Germany)
I cut off the capsule and noticed that the tip of the cork was covered in some sort of mold. But not to fear, this isn’t rare when the wine’s been stored in a subterranean cellar for more than a decade. I inspected the bottle for signs of past seepage (when the wine inside leaks all the way past the cork and spills out, which can result in oxidization of the wine). I pulled the cork out like a surgeon, and was happy to see that it was soaked nearly to the top, but not all the way. The level of wine in the neck of the bottle looked OK, and I was pretty sure the wine was in good condition.

The first thing you notice about this wine is its clover honey color. This riesling shows complex and layered aromas, with a great combination of rich (apricot jam, honeycomb) and bright aromas (lime, slate). The intensity of the nose is something else.

On the palate… this is why I love German riesling, and specifically riesling from the Pfalz region. It’s got this burst of freshness, with lime-like acid and tangy minerals, but it’s accompanied by a rich, honeyed aspect. Intense and complex flavors of green pears, orange peel, apricot and a streak of minerals. Aged flavors of wax and lamp oil add complexity. So tangy, yet so plush and layered.

This is a superb and structured riesling. On the second day it was even more expressive, which leads me to think that, and even at 19 years old, this riesling has another 5-10 years ahead of it.

I rated in 93 points, non-blind.

The next time I see a riesling from the Forster Pechstein vineyard, I’m snatching it up for sure.


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