The other night I opened a bottle of 2001 J.L. Wolf Riesling Wachenheimer, a dry German wine from this Loosen-owned property in the Pfalz region. You should be happy I'm not like some Boston-based wine writers who can't resist puns. Don't blame me for his affliction. It's not my Pfalz!
The back label of this wine suggests it's actually Wachenheimer Goldbachel Rielsing Spatlese (AP 16 02 for the truly geeky). I'm not sure why it's marketed simply as Wachenheimer.
When first poured, my wife suggested dryly that it does still have some life to it. Indeed it seemed a bit old at first, not sour but lacking interest. Good enough to drink I suppose but nothing more.
Then two nights later it's blossomed. Fresh yellow in color with flecks of mint, apples, stones and diesel, wrapped with the roundness of middle age. In the mouth it's indeed dry, with diesel and lemon flavors, some apple freshness and a soft, lingering finish with a bit of mushroom. Nothing earthshattering, but delicious, authentic German wine without any sweetness to get in the way. Sometimes I find lower level German wines blurred by sugar. That and they just don't seem as refreshing as cheap white wine really ought to be. Drink this wine sooner than later though. It's not meant to age and it's really about as good as you could hope for at this point.
Then last night we opened the 2000 Argiolas Korem Isola dei Nuraghi, a fancy bottling from a well known and well regard co-op on the island of Sardinia. Sadly, my other bottle of this was completely maderized, or cooked, with a brownish color and sour, cooked fruit aromas and, yes, flavors. I did taste it, then spit out the taste and poured out the bottle. It literally pains me to do that, and I can't do it without at least trying the wine to see just how bad it is. This wine was BAD.
So, with some pause, I opened this bottle of Korem. It too showed some likely heat damage, but was more than drinkable on its own and even delicious with a dinner based around roasted eggplant. The color was slightly rusting dark ruby, with a baked fruit aroma. My wife bluntly said it smelled like prune juice, but with time and food it seemed more fresh.
In the mouth it was rich and full bodied, with fine tannin and an earthy, cherry and brown spice flavor. I actually prefer the less intense and cheaper red bottlings from this producer, again for their refreshing quality. Perhaps that's just due to the warm summer weather we've been having and my desire for, well, refreshment. But even in colder months, with more pristine bottles, the Korem seems impressive but just not light enough on its feet to entrance me. Again though, with the roasted eggplant dish, this was delicious and we had no problem finishing the bottle.