1990 Weingut Günther Steinmetz Kestener Paulinsberg Riesling Spätlese

“If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.” Or is it? As I’m mired in my LSAT exam preparation, I’ve been taught to sniff out buzzwords like “probably” and “likely” as baited quantifiers that could either drastically minimize or overstate the scope of an argument. Sometimes these words can aid in helping find a middle ground between an argument that limits a theory or one that is too vague, but other times, they serve as blinking red lights leading me to doubt their usage in a question.In this case, the classic phrase above jumped out at me as I perused one of our local grocery stores. A Mosel Spat from 1990 for under $75 a bottle? Not only unusual, but definitely something to set my heart racing and my tongue salivating. The man at the counter was excited, too, exclaiming the very thoughts running through my head- “Not too often that you see a ’90 Riesling on the shelf, huh?” Indeed, especially not in a deli. And for $20, it seemed like a no-brainer. While I’d never tried anything from Gunther Steinmetz, the name sounded familiar enough to entice the curiosity it would take to try this at dinner, knowing that it was definitely a better bet than the Sutter Home on the counter and the overpriced ’66 Pichon-Lalande at the frou-frou boutique down the street.I know this for sure- you couldn’t get more bang for your buck than with one of these. It’s definitely one of the oldest Rieslings I’ve seen for such a low price, and though it reeks of end-bin specials, definitely reflects a thoughtful, delicate wine far beyond its price tag. The nose, powerful and fragrant of honey and lanolin, led the way with an almost weak and sharp flavor at first, though the mouthfeel was full. The acidity was moderately strong on the first sip but petered out before a substantial finish was established, which dismantled the bulk of the wine’s structure and balance. Eating this with condiment-slathered sandwiches meant there was no ill will in the diminished flavor, but I wouldn’t have served this as a first course wine with nothing to back it up.After about an hour, the wine opened up immensely, yielding a lush mouthfeel with bouncy, vibrant lemon and olive oil flavors and a honeyed edge. Though a little funky-tasting, the acidity lingered on the palate much longer than before, with a zesty flavor bordering on fruity, but not quite hitting the right marks. While not a very sweet wine, it was still enjoyable for an evening spent inside. It just didn’t come together as well as I wanted it to. A fairly austere example of a Spat, and not one I’d use to illustrate the varying degrees of sweetness to a novice. It’s far more of a dry, savory wine than anything else.

1990 Weingut Günther Steinmetz Kestener Paulinsberg Riesling Spätlese
MSRP $20
83/100

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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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