Thursday, 3 January 2013


In German wine circles, they refer to it as Babymord: the infanticidal act of drinking a bottle that, ideally, should be left well alone to age at least for another decade or so. But what to do when this is your one and only specimen? Wait a virtual lifetime until the wine has marginally improved by the odd Parker point or two gained all those wonderful tertiary flavours, or neck it now while the going is good? Egged on by my wife, I was happy to oblige.

Weingut Emrich-Schönleber, Monzinger Frühlingsplätzchen Riesling Spätlese 2011, Nahe, Germany
Quite pale in appearance (greyish straw). Delicate floral notes, pineapple in a coating of honey, mandarin and a light minerally prickle on the nose. Undeniably sweetish on entry but gradually buffered by ripe, soft acidity that lends elegance, balance and sure-footedness culminating in a long, lingering finish. At just 9% alcohol, this is absolutely delicious. Complex fruit and floral flavours are dancing on the tongue. I'm reminded here of American wine importer Terry Theise, who once wrote something along the lines of great Riesling being tastier than most foods we eat. And my goodness is he right.

If Spätlese is still the blue-riband event when it comes to Riesling, this is Daley Thompson standard.

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