TN: Concupiscently drinkable 2011 German Riesling

Evening all,

This was my lunch for my third birthday celebrations.

Riesling Spatlese Maximin Grunhauser Abtsberg 2011, von Schubert
Now there is one thing that cannot be denied about this wine: it’s quite sulphury. But there’s no problem with that! Wine is a bacteriologically unstable, partially spoiled product that needs the help of sulphur to stop it becoming totally spoiled. Indeed, the only sulphur you should ever really complain about are those god-awful, leathery, sulphur-laced dried fruits that seem to be constantly consumed by people who value large and regular bowel movements far more than the possibility of actually having some form of pleasurable life. So this wine has sulphur, but we are not bothered by that. What we like is the lime-zest fruit and pure expression of gravelly minerality. It’s sparkly clean with no rot, of either good or bad varieties. Basically, this smells like a fruity, felicific funster that you’ll have no qualms about enthusiastically necking. I’m not having any problems swallowing this saporous sweetie. And it is quite sweet for a Spatlese, but the acid is powerful enough to keep the balance right on the money. Some people have complained about low acid in German 2011s but there is no evidence of that here; indeed there is enough of a tang to make my stomach wince in a not-displeasing manner. The fruit is very pure, as is the minerality, and I think the flavours persist for a reasonable period. But sod the detailed analysis, this is primarily a gloriously gluggable German 2011 – like so many of them are. Sure, you can get a reasonable amount of intellectual interest from dissecting this wine; it is complex enough. However, The Editor and I enjoyed it far more when we quaffed without inhibition and only big grins and occasional “Mmmmm…” noises were the limit of our analysis. A spirited drinking wine; it’ll age but if I had another bottle I’d have opened it ten minutes ago.


If that’s you in the picture, David, you’ve got a lot of miles on that 3-year-old body. Nice note, through.

I put the hours in when it comes to having dissolute larks, David. Perhaps it shows a tad…


He’s back! David, I love love love your notes. Why do you stay away from us for so long? Sadly, I find no interest in Riesling, but would have loved to have shared this bottle with you. Or the second bottle, should we have found one.

2011 for me is a vintage of drinkability. I doubt many will survive long in my cellar, as they are too easy to quaff.

I love it when you talk dirty. Happy 3rd birthday!

Thank you Craig and Merrill!

Definitely to drink, David, and drink with prurient pleasure.

saw the first word in the post & knew who wrote it even though I didn’t know the word. Stick around. Looking forward to your fourth birthday!

Funny on my phone I saw “concupiscently” and Alan Weinberg, and thought it was Alan playing David, till I looked again and saw it was the real deal. Great note, David.

David S.: The weekend before last, I re-tasted the 2011s at Maximin Grünhaus. Many of the wines have a stink, but that’s more a sponti aroma. In fact, Grünhaus is well known for it. This often becomes more accentuated with sweeter wines. I especially like the 2011 Abtsberg Kabinett and Spätlese, among others, and don’t recall an obtrusive sulfur smell. Of course, I’d need to taste it again to be sure.

I don’t find it obtrusive, Lars, indeed I don’t mind the sulphur whiff at all - but it is clearly present. They couldn’t bottle a wine with that much residual sugar without sulphur without risking a large proportion of their production going fizzy in the bottle. Speaking personally, I rather like sulphur in wines:


Of course, it has sulfur. But there’s a difference between a sponti stink and elemental sulfur. The latter smells of just-struck matches. It might be showing a little of both.