1995 German riesling bottle variation

I bought a case of 1995 Karthauserhofberg auslese from a well managed and known cellar, along with a case of the 1996 kabinett; the kabinetts have all been consistently good where as the first 4 bottles of auslese have all been different. I’m not saying any ausleses were bad just more variation than I expected. I suppose I haven’t experienced this degree of variation in good riesling vintages much before hence my curiosity. This is one of the reasons I haven’t posted a tasting note yet for the '95 auslese - wish I had with the third bottle as it was sublime. Oh well I have another 8 bottles to drink so will get there eventually! Interestingly, I’ve drunk the first few bottles in ullage order, not that there was much in it, just a few millimetres, as all were either within the capsule or very close.

Variation within a case of 17 year old wine does not surprise me in the least.

To be any more specific I would need to know more about the differences between the various bottles. Were some still closed in (could still happen, even at age 17)? Were some verging on the downward egde of maturity (shouldn’t happen, at least not with auslese from a top producer)?

Absolutely agree. I just found the variation a touch more marked than I would have perhaps expected(haven’t noticed as much on Rhiengau wines in the past). Some where drying out on the finish but certainly not closed in any way - the one sublime bottle was totally open, intoxicating in every sense, rich throughout and endlessly tingling on the tongue and finish.

Ok, 1995 does have its hard/drying aspects, so I’m not so shocked at your results.

Interesting. You’ve found this in few other '95s?

Yes. As an example, the 1995 Kerpen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese*** has had its sublime moments and its hard/drying moments. All bottles bought from the same case on release.

Some producers make different “lots” of their regular Auslese. They will have different AP numbers on the labels. I was surprised to discover this some years ago when I had two “different” J.J.Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Ausleses - one was definitely sweeter than the other. Then, voila, I saw the different AP numbers! The labels are identical in every other respect.

If I remember correctly Karthauserhofberg used to make individual vineyard wines but now they’re numbered like many other top estates?

In a brown bag group of mine last week, by coincidence, two people served the 09 Willi Schaeffer Graacher Himmelreich Auslese back to back. Same AP number, both purchased at Crush the day before.

The wines couldn’t have been more different. The first was very rich – almost syrupy. Some wondered if it might be from along the Rhine rather than from the Mosel. The second was lighter and, we all assumed, older and more evolved. With the exception of the guy who poured the second bottle, none of us remotely imagined that it was the same wine. Even when it was unveiled, no one could see the resemblance.

Go figure.