Aging Feinherb

How does German Riesling Feinherb/Halbtroken age?

I’ve had bottles of 10+ year Kabinett and 20+ Auslese but don’t have much experience with aged Feinherb Spatlese. Am enjoying a 2012 Selbach Oster Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Spatlese Feinherb “Uralte Reben” Reising. It’s pretty Fantastic!

This wine is called “Ancient Vines” and has a wonderful nose of wild strawberries and white flowers on wet slate with a hint of straw and lemon balm. The wine is dense and full, strawberry, wet stone, salt, a little grip, finishes off dry. Natural yeast fermentation that stopped at 12% alcohol. First year Selbach made this?

I highly, highly recommend it. If you like this style

Have a case and was wondering as the strawberry fruit fades (there’s just a hint) what could I expect from a feinherb, 5, 10 years down the road. Stored at 55


The '98 Muller Catoir Haardter Burgergarten Spatlese halbtrocken is still going strong, so is the '01 Kabinett halbtrocken from the same site. Recall a '92 Peter Lauer (forget the bottling, but it was barely dry) that was drinking wonderfully at Rieslingfeier too.

Don’t see age being an issue for these wines. A lot of older Kabinett/Spatlese from the late 80s/early 90s were also made with less residual sugar than the wines today, more in the feinherb realm of sweetness, and most of those are aging just fine.

What Salil said. I would think there would be little concern about ageing it. I also love that someone with your surname asked a question with regards to RS in German wines. (Nit picking for oechsle not being post fermentation sugar level understood).

Cheers and welcome to the board,

I would have no qualms aging Schaefer-Fröhlich medium dry.

I didn’t think you had to age fein herb. But freezing it supposedly retains its potency…

Also remember that the German white wines from a century ago (that were much more in fashion than they are now if you look at the prices they obtained then) were vinified to the point of Feinherb as not all sugar was converted into alcohol. They have most certainly proven the test of time. When re-tasted 60+ years down the road the perception of sweetness in the wines has receded so they have become organoleptically dry. Interestingly, the model of the GG’s of modern day seems to be the success of wines that have held a lot more residual sugar compared to the legal limit of GG (9 g/liter).
I like to keep some of the GG quality wines that have too high levels of residual sugar to be considered GG - such as Keller RR and Schönleber ‘R’ Rieslings. I firmly believe that they will turn into something very special down the road.


The 1992 Peter Lauer Faß 5 Kabinett, which David Schildknecht brought from his cellar to Rieslingfeier, was actually bone dry. Although trocken, or dry, was not listed on the label of this liter bottle, the wine was, according to David, “definitely totally dry.” In fact, says David, “My recollections was that it had only one gram of residual sugar and that I offered it to my [then retail] customers, though the record appears to correct that, including an amazing—if scarcely believable—downward revision of the residual sugar!”

It depends on the wine. Many German Rieslings from a century ago fermented to below today’s legal limit of dry, others were slightly above 9 grams (what most producers define as feinherb now). Yet certain Auslesen, especially those affected by botrytis, could have considerably higher amounts of residual sugar.

Bearing in mind that feinherb does not have the specific legal limits of halbtrocken (I have had feinherb wines with rs ranging from 10-28 g/l of rs - at least that I have seen the numbers for), I would look to the aging curve of halbtrockens. The 2004 Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett Halbtrocken was still going strong when I drank my last bottle earlier this year. It had years of enjoyable life left. The 2004 Schaefer-Frohlich Medium Dry Riesling (aka kabinett halbtrocken) is also plugging along, and at least with that wine I still have one left.

I have zero worries about aging halbtrocken/feinherb wines, whether kabinett, spatlese or something else. The problem is that I drink them up!

That 2012 Selbach Uralte Reben is in my cellar as well. This time I bought in quantity though, so a couple might get to see old age just for fun.

Several years ago, Dan Melia and I (aka Mosel Wine Merchant) had the pleasure to taste Ulli Stein’s St. Aldegunder Kabinett feinherb/halbtrocken back to the early 1990s. The wines aged extremely well. In addition, the best grapes from very old, ungrafted vines go into this wine. Ulli doesn’t seek to produce a higher Prädikat or GG-style wine from this underrated site.

I’ve had plenty of wonderful dry Mosels that have aged well, too.