OK, so I can't claim to be the first to discover this fact - one which is, come to think of it, rather glaringly obvious. I'm currently tasting my way through a few more bottles of Kurt Hain and Dr F Weins-Prum Riesling and writing full tasting notes for the website, in preparation for the delivery of my shipment later this week. It is hard work, but someone has to do it - all in the name of research, of course!
And since yesterday was Pancake Day, it was an ideal opportunity to do a bit of impromptu wine and food matching. We started with some tortilla wraps, filled with hot and spicy chilli con carne and a freshly-made onion, capsicum and chilli relish. Although not the ideal match, both Rieslings were a refreshing and fruity accompaniment to the chilli, especially the Kabinett, which was slightly drier and with a touch of refreshing spritz. But the wines really came into their own with pancakes, laced with a little sugar and lashings of freshly-squeezed orange juice. The Kabinett coped admirably, but the Spätlese, with it's flavours of mandarins and apricot and intense acidity, really was a match made in heaven, mirroring the sweetness and acidity of the pancake toppings.
The nose on this wine really is something to behold - intense lime, apple, stone fruit, herb and wet slate aromas, with a palpable whiff of the acidity lying in wait on the palate. When I first tasted this in September 2010, it seemed soft in comparison to the 2009, but perhaps that intense acidity and minerality have begun to temper the overt fruitiness - all part of the evolutionary process in great Riesling. Whatever the case, this has turned into a wine with incredible focus and verve, with lime oil, tree fruit and grape flavours melding beautifully with truly mouth-watering, palate-cleansing acidity and a mineral depth worthy of the finest Mosel Rieslings. Although it is so, so good to drink now, I think it has the structure to age and evolve for perhaps another 10 years. So the choice is yours - drink it now, for its sheer vitality and youthful exuberance, or leave it for a few years to develop the more mineral and tertiary aromas and flavours of classic aged Riesling. It really is a fabulous wine - and I promise it will put a smile on your face! £11.95
Bright, pale yellow/gold, with a water rim. Of the trio of Hain Spätlese 2009's in our range, this one is probably the softest, most fruit-forward and hedonistic of them all. That said, it already shows a fair degree of complexity, even at this early stage. The nose is absolutely brimming over with the scents of fresh grapes, mandarin orange and apricot, with plenty of that classic Mosel minerality cutting right through the fruit. My rule of thumb for 2009 Mosel Rieslings is that the Kabinetts have almost Spätlese levels of ripeness, whilst the Spätlesen are more akin to Auslesen - and this one is a perfect example, with intensely ripe, luscious fruit flavours and a hefty dollop of residual sugar. But great Riesling at any level needs acidity to balance the sweetness, and this one has it by the bucket-load. The result is a wine of both immense concentration and supreme balance, with the acidity countering the fruit sweetness perfectly. The purists would probably say that this wine needs 5 to 10 years before it is really ready. I say it is utterly wonderful and delicious now - and will always be so. £14.95