In preparation for our upcoming tasting of venerable Mosel Riesling (1971-1976) I thought I better drink some more Riesling to whet the appetite. Back in June we tasted some young Rieslings by JJ Prum, one of the top producers in the Mosel. On the same afternoon (and in very stark contrast) we also enjoyed a Riesling from the Wachau valley in Austria made by Rainer Wess and reviewed below. The second wine in this article returns to Germany and hails from the stable of Schäfer-Fröhlich, a German winemaker working magic in the Nahe.
Rainer Wess, Riesling, Achleiten, Wachau, 2008
Price: £22 from The Wine Society (out of stock)
The wines of the Wachau Valley are responsible for my love of Riesling and are characterised by a bone dry presentation with intense acidity and minerality. Achleiten is one of the top vineyards in the Wachau, rising vertiginously on the North bank of the Danube and known in the valley for its intense minerality and ageing potential. Given this bottle was from 2008 I expected this to be close to maturity.
The wine was aromatic with typical Riesling notes of kerosene dominating the nose. As with many wines from the Wachau the palate was not fruit driven although there was a fading note of tart cooking apples and a delightful note of Japanese sour plum. The acidity was screaming on this with a huge amount of minerality, typical of the vineyard.
I tasted this wine again on the second day after opening where it demonstrated slightly less attack but with greater dominance of metallic and salty notes. Another few days later the final drop was showing a hint of oxidation but I suspect this could last a fair while longer in bottle.
Impression: This reminds me why I fell in love with Wachau. Not forgiving, certainly not for everyone, but if you like to taste the earth your wine grows in this is a great introduction to the Achleiten terroir
Score: 91/100 (DT)
Schäfer-Fröhlich, Riesling Spätlese, Bockenauer Felseneck, Nahe, 2006
Nose muted, faint sweet aromatics on swirling. Beautiful Riesling fruit on the palate leading into something like sweet peaches or pink lemonade. This reminds me of a sweet delicious nectar. There is high acidity keeping the wine focused through to a moderate length finish. Whilst this is simple and has not gained all that much complexity with age it has kept a phenomenal purity. Gold yummy syrup. Its balanced zingy and left my mouth watering. I am not really sure where this bottle came from or how much it cost but I am very glad I found it in the cellar.
Take home point: I need to taste more from these guys.