Jacques Selosse–his avant garde bubblies are getting harder & harder to come by AND the prices keep getting higher & higher. Still, the wines are unique, though probably not for everyone. For me, for instance, they can be real hit or miss. We recently were fortunate to try 2 different bottlings, 3 nights apart. The first was the Extra Dry “Premier Cru” which was shared by a VINO guest from Japan. While this wine has a very solid core, it displayed too many oxidative qualities for my taste. I am all for what used to be called “English style” (aged & developed), but this was just too much. It took away from my appreciating the wine itself. I found the same to be true with the Exquise Sec, we were fortunate to taste a few nights later. I don’t mind little flaws in a wine (even some brett or volatile acidity), but when it excessive & really takes away from focus of the wine, then I believe it is too much. I haven’t had enough of Selosse wines to say if the overt oxidative qualities were intentional or not., but in these 2 cases, they were just not my cup of tea.
1983 Von Simmern Auslese “Hattenheimer Nussbrunnen”–Back in the day, Von Simmern was making some stellar Riesling from his holdings–Erbacher Macrobrunn, Hattenheimers– Mannberg & Nussbrunnen. In fact, his 1983 Eisweins from Mannberg & Nussbrunnen were real standouts & very memorable. I have since had some of his 89, 90, 92 & 94 wines (Spatlese & Auselse quality) & was quite frankly underwhelmed. I therefore did not know what to expect from this wine as it was being opened. Wow…..what a real surprise it proved to be! This 1983 really was drinking wonderfully with a very intriguing combination of complexities & breed. It was also quite remarkably youthful still in its core given the 33 years of bottle age & had superb structure & balance with a much more gentle, graceful flow on the palate. Thank you to Ryan & Sarah for sharing.
1990 JJ Prum Auslese “Wehlener Sonnenuhr”–Manfred Prum sure has a masterful touch with his Rieslings, especially those from his iconic Wehlener Sonnenuhr parcels. I was astounded at the great purity, filigree & deft balance of this 1990. The once apparent sweetness has since changed (at least 2/3’s) to a more tactile viscosity, which also allowed the wine’s minerality & pedigree once again to show so brilliantly. The wine’s now seemingly racy acidity was scintillating & very refreshing. It is rieslings like this which keeps me going back for more & more. Outstanding! Thank you to Vern & Gail for sharing.
1999 Dönnhoff Auslese “Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle”–yet another of the iconic, top echelon producers & vineyards from Germany. Hermannshöhle is a relatively steep hillside on the northside of the Nahe River & generally considered by many to be the best site in the whole region. The soils are a blackish slate with igneous rock, porphyry & limestone. In its youth, these wines can be quite hard, closed & is essentially what I would refer to as liquid rock. Helmut Dönnhoff is without a doubt, one of the world’s true master winemakers & his showpiece wines combine power, breed, grandeur & balance. At 17 years of age, I was sad to see this wine was completely shut down. Those cellaring this wine should really hold off for a while before popping one open.
1989 Chateau Lafite Rothschild–someone just handed me this glass of wine as I was walking by one night in VINO. With one whiff, I knew it was Lafite, as it had such a magnificent, majestic quality to its aromas. The 1989 also displayed the gravel, graphite, cedar nuances of older Bordeaux, but with ripe, generous fruit which I had really noticed in the Chateau’s wines, from the 1978 vintage on. Global warming? I don’t know what to say about that, but will say, the Lafites of old had an ethereal-ness to them & were therefore surprisingly lighter on their feet with an intoxicating, seductive perfume. Still, this wine was undoubtedly grand & majestic, just done in a riper style. Thank you Mike for sharing.