Sunday, June 9, 2013

1991 Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett

Two things that are rarely found in this area are older German wines and older German winemakers, and yesterday I found both.  Dr. Dirk Richter of Weingut Max Ferd. Richter was in the area and was hosting a drop in tasting of some of his wines.  Two years ago Dr. Richter was here and we had a good discussion while he was hosting a tasting.  The most surprising thing about this tasting to me was his response when he arrived.  We shook hands and he said, "You were here before and we had a good discussion...."  I accused the owner of the wine store of tipping Dr Richter off, but he insisted that he never talked to him before he arrived.  I considered what small ego I have to be flattered that I was remembered.

Once again while he was pouring wine we had a great discussion about his vineyards and my preference for one of them in particular, Veldenzer Elisenberg, a monopole to his weingut - or a vineyard wholly owned by his winery and not shared with others.  The soil composition in this vineyard is slightly different in that it contains a fair amount of quartz in the mix along with the usual blue slate.  It gives the wine a distinct flavor profile that appeals to me.

Among the wines Dr. Richter brought with him was a 21 year old Kabinett wine from the Graccher Himmelreich vineyard.   After tasting several other wines this one proved to be a shock and a pleasant surprise.  The wine looked fresh and new in the glass with no darkening of color that I expected on a 21 year old wine.  The nose was crisp and sharp with an initial hint of kerosene that soon gave way to lime zest.  The flavors were tart and sharp with a good dose of lime overlaying a bit of cream.  The residual sugar was almost entirely gone and the wine now was more like an extremely deep Austrian riesling.  There was no suggestion that this wine was as old as it is.

The 1991 vintage was not one for the ages, though most old charts rate is as good.  I would be perfectly happy drinking this wine regardless of the vintage rating, and along with several of the newer releases a bottle of this wine found its way home with me.

1991 Weingut Max Ferd. Richter, Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett. 8% alcohol.

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