Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My First Feinherb

Given my love of off-dry Loire Chenin Blanc and my resolution to drink more German Riesling, last December I picked up a bottle of the 2005 Günter Steinmetz Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Alte Reben Feinherb Riesling. Feinherb is an informal designation for off-dry and "alte reben" translates to "old vine." Old vine grapes from a great vintage vinified to off-dry? Seemed worth a try — and this comes from two ungrafted plots in the Muhlheimer Sonnenlay vineyard to boot.

Despite the great praise from reliable quarters, I found this a bit disappointing. Perhaps I waited too long to drink this. The nose is a killer: it's minerally and has more than a hint of cardamom, which always hooks me. The problems here are the finish and the longevity. The issue with the finish was immediately apparent: after rolling through an array of fine and focused yellowness — yellow apple, banana, a bit of pineapple, certainly lemon — I found there wasn't much to the finish, even though the mouthfeel is plenty weighty. It just kind of... goes away. It was a good compliment to some spicy dal but I can't say it reached new heights in the pairing.

By the third day, the nose is still great, but the wine has lost focus on the palate and is even trending toward flabbiness. Egad! This is not the right way to put on weight, as indeed it did (a bit). There is some acidity here but it's not enough to maintain focus. There's a lot that's good about this wine but I think I should've drunk this younger.

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