Matt Latuchie was in NY yesterday and a few of us got together at Grand Sich to drink some great wines with him. Unfortunately Matt couldn’t stay through the evening (hope you’re feeling better Matt!), but otherwise it was a very fun evening with old friends, great (and very inexpensive) food and a lot of fantastic wine, despite a couple of real disappointments.
Starting out with pork soup dumplings and pan fried pork potstickers
2002 Domaine Marquis d’Angerville Volnay 1er Cru Champans
Drinking surprisingly well right now for an '02, a little reticent aromatically but it opens with air and develops a pretty floral perfume. Fresh red fruits tinged with floral elements in the mouth, very polished and silken textured with gentle tannins and bright acids.
2008 Domaine Chevillon-Chezeaux Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Les Saint Georges
Really good. Starts out a little shrill and stemmy at first but it comes together with air, building a wonderful scent combining cherries, fresh herbs, earth and some green herbal elements; very polished and pure in the mouth conveying that sense of clarity and freshness I’m really loving in the '08 Burgs right now.
2006 Francesco Rinaldi e Figli Barolo Cannubbio
Very primary right now, offering fresh red fruits, gravelly earth and faint floral elements with a wall of tannin underneath that surprisingly becomes more noticeable as the wine airs.
2008 Weingut Keller Westhofen Brunnenhäuschen Abtserde (“Abtse®.de”) Riesling Großes Gewächs
Makes a persuasive case why Riesling needs some residual sugar (particularly when tasted alongside the Lauer Stirn). Starts out with very brightly fruited aromatics - scents of pineapple, melon, nectarines and floral elements, but it’s rather severe in the mouth, conveying plenty of power, extract and intense minerality but always coming across a little austere and lacking charm. At the $100+ price point it’s a joke, and a reminder why my GG money is going to Rebholz, Donnhoff and Schafer-Frohlich instead.
First round of spice - shredded beef with green peppers, asparagus, lamb with cumin and twice cooked pork belly
2003 Azienda Agricola Stanislao Radikon Jakot Venezia Giulia IGT
Remarkable aromatics, a kaleidoscope of honey, orange marmalade, smoke, exotic florality and tropical fruits - but then it just feels very awkward on the palate, dry, slightly disjointed with the flavour and structural components never coming together and finishing with some alcoholic heat.
1971 Kirchmayr Neuburger Solist
2009 Peter Lauer Ayler Kupp Stirn Riesling feinherb Fass 15
Gorgeous aromatics straight away; full of exotic florality, spice, fresh pear and citrus fruits and sponti yeast funk. This is in that zone of sweetness where there’s barely any noticeable sweetness but enough residual sugar to balance the bright acids, keeping it from being austere and making it very easy to drink. Great balance and depth, delicious stuff.
2003 Egon Müller Scharzhofberger Riesling Spätlese Auction (AP #21-04)
Holy freaking crap. A wow from the first sip and it only gets better. This is packed with incredibly luscious, dense Riesling fruit and vivid minerality with floral and creamy accents; Auslese-like in its richness and sweetness but with such clarity, precision and purity, and impeccable balance that makes it so easy to drink. Spectacularly great, thanks Keith!
2001 Dönnhoff Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Riesling Spätlese
Really disappointing. No idea what happened here, but it’s a long way from other experiences with this wine recently (including a very good bottle a few months ago), starting out with quite advanced honeyed flavours and feeling increasingly flat and tired with time, without any of the spice, minerality or energy that I’ve otherwise found in this wine.
2001 Dönnhoff Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Spätlese
More enjoyable than the '01 Hermannshöhle poured alongside, though not living up to the last two bottles I opened late last year. There’s a ton of stuffing here - it’s packed with raspberries and peachy fruit, spice and floral elements, but doesn’t have the precision or clarity other recent bottles have shown.
2001 Weingut Robert Weil Riesling Kabinett
Comes across more like a ripe Spätlese (given that it’s Weil and '01, that’s not a surprise) with rich yellow orchard fruit flavours mingled with developing petrol and smoky scents; medium bodied but nicely lifted by that bracing '01 acidity that keeps it very refreshing and elegant; lovely.
The really hot spice - gui zhou chicken and the searingly hot chong qing chicken, with some squid and another seafood item (shrimp?) also at the table
2001 Kerpen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese
Full of ripe peachy and tropical fruit with the start of developing petrol notes, but for an '01 this feels surprisingly heavy and clumsy, lacking the acidity and freshness that I’m looking for.
**2001 Joh. Jos. Christoffel Erben Erdener Treppchen Riesling Auslese ****
This is firing on all cylinders and much more aromatically open than my last bottle. A seamless combination of ripe Mosel fruit, vivid slatiness, florality and gentle honeyed and spicy notes; dense, moderately sweet yet incredibly pure, precise and focused with a clarity and freshness I’ve rarely ever seen in Auslese. Wow!