Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Aging trockens

Our "wine cellar" is barely deserving of the name. Among old items of furniture and various flotsam and jetsam, we have a number of bottles crammed into four different boxes. Trocken Riesling occupies most of the space, though this owes more to my curiosity a few years ago than than any particular preference for trockens. As GGs were still a very recent phenomenon at the time, I once decided to buy a case of Pfalz GGs from a winery in Bad Dürkheim from the 2005 and 2006 vintages respectively, plus a case of non-GG but more-than-decent 2006s from another winery in Ellerstadt. Just over half a dozen of all these are now left in total. On the very rough presumption that these wines may shake off their primary fruit and emerge on the "other side" with more complexity within five to ten years, I've been reluctant to touch them over the past couple of years. In general, 2005 in the Pfalz was probably better than 2006, which was a difficult harvest that entailed considerable selection and low yields due to rot.

Of course, the only way I'll find out how the 05s and 06s are now showing is to open a couple of bottles. With the Grosses Gewächs movement still in its relative infancy, knowledge is rather incomplete as regards how long such wines are able to age. However, without attempting to belittle their aging potential, the suspicion to date would be that trocken Riesling has less capacity to age than Riesling with residual sugar figures over the legal trocken RS ceiling of 9 g/l. The Rieslings of Bernd Philippi from Weingut Köhler-Ruprecht, who applies "old school" oxidative vinification methods, are a notable exception. His range of trockens from the Saumagen vineyard in Kallstadt are supposed to age exceedingly well and generally longer than most of their peers. Philippi chooses not the participate in the Grosses Gewächs scheme.

Anyway, the following couple of links are, however, enlightening. First an extremely informative thread from the Robert Parker board on the "Ageability of Grosses and Erstes Gewachs", which I found through Lyle Fass's blog, and second, an article on "The Rewards of Cellaring Riesling" from an old edition of the Riesling Report, a now - sadly - defunct publication, it seems.

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