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 I Love German Wine and Food - An Aged Riesling Spaetlese 
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Post I Love German Wine and Food - An Aged Riesling Spaetlese
by: Levi Reiss

I have no idea how my supplier got all these bottles of a 1992 wine very recently. I can't even recall when I last bought a 1992 wine. If you remember your German wine classifications a Spaetlese is said to be a late-harvest wine. Often, however, it's simply a wine made from ripe grapes. This producer has vineyards near the villages of Hattenheim and Assmanshausen. The first village's microclimate is special; it's the only place where the Rhine River flows from east to west. Can you believe that figs and almonds are grown in the neighborhood? And they've been doing Pinot Noir since the 1400s. By the way, other articles in the series mention some of the foods and tourist attractions of the Rhinegau.

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review have been purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed Hans Lang Riesling Spaetlese 1992 10.5% alcohol about $17

Let's start with the marketing materials. Hans Lang's father, Johann Joseph, founded this estate in 1953. 75% of Lang's 18 ha are planted to Riesling. Spaetlese ('late harvest') wines are riper than Kabinett wines, and are often splendid candidates for ageing - Lang's 1992 is now in peak form. Try this gently sweet, citrus-and-honey-infused beauty with grilled salmon and potato roesti. And now for my review.

With the first sips I noted a delicious combination of sweetness, acidity, and green apples. The initial meal centered on a barbecued chicken leg in a thick, paprika tomato sauce. The wine was almost ethereal; I noted a faint sweetness that was delicious. The color was golden and the taste as well. When paired with potatoes roasted in chicken fat the Riesling displayed fine acidity and sweetness. With smoky tasting grilled eggplant that was virtually covered in garlic the wine's intensity stepped up a notch.

The second meal was a box of eggplant rolatini stuffed with ricotta and mozzarella cheese that I slathered with grated Parmesan cheese. The wine was quite pleasant and fairly long. I liked the way this 1992's sweetness matched the sweetness of the tomatoes. Its acidity was mouth-cleansing. With almond and cranberry biscotti-type cookies the Spaetlese's acidity stepped up. And now we have a dessert wine.

The final meal was also vegetarian. I started with Matjes herring and responded with honey, a bit of caramel, and citrus. With green beans in tomato sauce this wine was syrupy and honeyed. When paired with okra in a tomato, garlic, and onion sauce the Riesling tasted of honey in acid. Who would think that's a good combination? It is. When accompanying the roasted eggplant cooked with lots of oil and garlic this Riesling was very long with a touch of caramel. I finished this meal with Haagen Dazs Mayan Chocolate ice cream. The result was not up to the smashing standard. The wine became thinner and its acidity became harsher but it was fighting back against an unfortunate pairing.

I tasted this wine with two cheeses; with the Asiago the wine showed its usual combination of honey and acidity. With a Swiss Emmenthaler this Riesling displayed an increased intensity and sweetness and I got some lemon taste as well.

Final verdict. Can you guess? My final verdict usually indicates what I would do. This case is different. As soon as I finished my first pairing I went back to the store and bought a bottle for my wine club. I was tempted to clear the shelf and try a bottle or two each year. But other people really deserve to taste this wine as well. I'm curious to know if my store is planning to buy some 1993s next year. I'll be the first in line.

About The Author
Over the years Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but really prefers drinking fine German wine, along with friends and the right foods. He teaches sundry computer classes at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his global wine website with a weekly column reviewing $10 wines and new sections writing about (theory) and tasting (practice) organic and kosher wines.
The author invites you to visit:

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Tue May 25, 2010 10:03 am
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