Wine Review: 2005 Wegeler Winkeler Hasensprung Riesling Spatlese Trocken

26 04 2011

Everyone needs a little Riesling in their life.

What better way to inaugurate than with my favourite kind of wine?  This German Riesling was previously featured in this post from the PnP archives about how to decipher German wine labels; if you’ve read it, you now know that this Riesling from producer Weingut (“wine estate”) Wegeler is from the Hasensprung (“hare’s leap”) vineyard near the town of Winkel in the Rheingau wine region of south-central Germany.  It’s been classified with the Spätlese (“late harvest”) ripeness designation, meaning the grapes were picked at a slightly riper level than the baseline Kabinett level for top-quality German wines, but it’s also a Trocken (dry) wine, which means that there will be very little if any residual sugar left in it.  The word “Trocken” is a key hint on this bottle, because most Spätlese wines are at least somewhat sweet, but those stated to be Trocken definitely won’t be.  So before you deride all German Rieslings for being too sweet for your palate, take a closer look at the label!

The Wegeler (which I’m drinking right now) surprised me right off the bat with its pale, transparent, thin golden straw colour; being of Spätlese ripeness and of a slightly older vintage (2005), I expected to see a fuller, deeper, richer colour, but its lightness to the eye foreshadowed a similar lightness in its flavour profile.  Its nose was quintessential German Riesling though:  wet rocks, slate, metal, bath salts, as well as baked apple, citrus and an odour I can best describe as “hot springs” — minerally with a touch of sulphur.  The first thing that jumped out about this wine as soon as it hit my tongue was its MONSTROUS, searing level of acidity, which stood out even more without any hint of sweetness to offset it.  On the palate the Wegeler again belied its ripeness designation by being surprisingly light-bodied, with powerful Granny Smith apple flavours to go along with strong minerality and undertones of asian pear and lime.  The mineral notes lingered for a few seconds on an absolutely bone-dry finish.  I was pining for a little touch of sugar to tone down the switchblades of acid that scraped my tongue dry, but that’s strictly a personal preference; for those of you who like your whites very dry, this wine has your winning formula.

Cork Rating: 3.5/10 (Dry and disintegrating...cork fail narrowly averted.)

On the whole, the Wegeler had killer structure and a set of flavours that were really true to its region and its grape, but it was a bit angular for me, without any richness or roundness in flavour or body that would have made it a more impressive Spätlese and a more enjoyable Tuesday night drink.  If you had this with some kind of rich or creamy chicken or fish dish, then the screaming acidity would be a perfect refreshing way to keep the meal from tasting pasty or cloying, but on its own, it’s just a shade lean for my tastes.

86 points

$25 to $30 CDN 



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