Not all Spatlese are created equal

Just back from a 2005 and 2006 German Spatlese Riesling wine tasting at Vin Vino Wine wine shop in Palo Alto. For those not very familiar with Rieslings, they come in 6 levels of sweetness - #1) kabinett - the least sweet; #2) spatlese; #3) auslese (typically this and further levels are dessert wines); #4) beerenauslese; 5) trockenbeerenauslese; and finally 6) eiswein (ice wine). The prices start at kabinett and progress upwards toward the sweeter wines.

After having had a very nice spatlese (1996 Bert Simon Spatlese Serriger Wurtzberg) several days ago at a neighbor's all-boys night, naively I was expecting similar goodness out of the entire line-up today.

After having tried 7 wines tonight, boy, was I unimpressed. All but one tasted like varying degrees of apple cider, mostly cloying and flat. (To be fair, I skipped Jon. Jos. Christoffel - #7 in the line-up, since I already have it in my wine cellar). Of the rest, the only one I liked (really liked!) was Hexamer Schlossbockelheimer In Den Felsen Riesling Spatlese, 2005, which had excellent spritzy minerality, very good acidity and the least amount of sugar.

Which begs the question for all of you experts out there -- why pay extra for Spatlese wines when Kabinetts cost less and have more refreshing taste?!!!


Anonymous said…
How about exploring what are the drivers of the Pradikat level and why the wines are priced accordingly? It would be interesting to compare also with other great wines like Sauternes, Quarts de Chaume and Alsace VT/SGN wines, particularly in terms of structure (acid, sugar and alcohol) and botrytis.

I'm sure you are aware as well that the Auslese wines usually have three levels of their own: white cap, gold cap and long gold cap.
Iron Chevsky said…
Thanks for the suggestions, Eric!
Indeed, it would be interesting to see what drives producers to produce higher levels of sweetness - one would assume that consumers are interested and willing to pay for that.

As for the various dessert wines, we should do a dessert wine lineup -- that would make for a good post, much better than what Gary V attempted 2.5 years ago when we was just getting started:

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