2008 A.J. Adam Hofberger Riesling QbA

I was kicking myself. Our local wine store was a mob scene, a slow stampede of sluggishly moving people in their mid fifties the day before Thanksgiving, stocking up on Natty Light and Thunderbird, or whatever the kids are drinking these days. Already worried about looking painfully out of place with two German Rieslings and a six-pack of Mike’s, I was steeling myself for a barked request to present sixty different forms of ID and potentially getting arrested for having an out-of-state license.

And I grabbed the wrong Riesling.

I’d researched my selection before- my initial intention was to grab the 2008 Hofberger Spatlese to go with the 08 Donnhoff Kab I’d brought, but in my haste, I snagged the only other Adam selection for the same price, the 2008 Hofberger QbA, the German classification for estate wines. Makes for a good crash course in German wine classification, though- new readers, bone up! Some wines are made from single-vineyard grapes at different levels of ripeness (in this case, the Hofberg) and some are made with grapes sourced from multiple vineyards, but all are single varietal wines made from German grapes in accordance with the 1971 German wine law of quality categories. However, QbA does not necessarily condemn a wine to a lifetime of being stacked next to Barefoot and Woodbridge, nor does QmP, or Prädikat, make a wine an instant celebrity, and I knew that if any producer were to create a beautiful estate wine, it would be from AJ Adam. And off we went. If I hadn’t already known that this was a QbA wine, there’s no doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t have guessed it. From the get-go, we were beguiled by its sweet, candied fruit scents, with distinct notes of orange and lemon rind and apricot floating around. Were it not for the searing surge of acidity, an Adam favorite, it could have passed for a light sangria. It had the texture of a solid Spatlese, with a lightly syrupy thickness in the mouth and a flavor kissed with sweetness but not going overboard. Solid, right? With a lingering, subdued finish of citrus oils and brown sugar, It was much better than other QbA’s I’ve had and exceeded my expectations greatly. (I’m talkin’ to you, Donnhoff!)While this was delightful to drink and had the finesse of a QmP, it lacked the tight structure of the 2010, which was so carefully crafted that there was no doubt in my mind that it would continue to expand and surprise over time. 2008 was an acidic, salty year. A good one, but with nowhere near the range of 2010. This one felt like a one-trick pony, one that I wouldn’t make into glue or tartare, but just didn’t enthuse me in the same way the ’10 did. When I drank it, I felt like I was drinking it at its peak. It gave no indication of room to grow or improve over time. This is a good example of how important it is to read the labels on your wine: had I not been in a combat situation, I’d have seen that this wasn’t the Dhroner I was looking for and would have exchanged it.

It danced the threshold of quality classifications and surpassed my expectations, but for its price, if it had been any less charming, I would have felt jilted. I bought it for $40 at Table and Vine in Springfield. It retails for about $22. $40 goes a long way in the German Riesling world, especially if you’re looking for a high-quality, easy drinker. While lovely, I’ve had better wines for half the price and would recommend skipping the ’08’s if they go higher than $35. Even the 2008 Dhroner Hofberg Auslese, which Crush called “one of the greatest Auslese from the class of 2008” ran for $36. Putting it all into perspective, $40 is a bit of an eyebrow raiser. So, to recap. Don’t be snobby and drink your Qb’s ‘n’ A’s, but read the labels and know what you should be paying.

2008 A.J. Adam Hofberger Riesling QbA
MSRP $22
89/100

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About Jess
Rotten? Perhaps. Sweet? Without a doubt. Welcome to Nobly Rotten- the wine site that dares to be a little off.

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