A Mosel Spaetlese Riesling

A sweet Riesling from where they do them best...

Markus Molitor

Markus Molitor in German white wine

This wine should be a bombshell. It comes from the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer region of southwestern Germany, arguably the world’s greatest place to make Riesling. The Weingut Markus Molitor winery has been in the family for eight generations. They have 20 wineyards, each described on the company website, for a total of 38 hectares (close to 100 acres) and Riesling is 95% of the crop. Almost all vineyards are on steep slopes, which means good drainage and manual processing.

If you are in the neighborhood make sure to visit their tasting rooms and rock-hewn wine cellars. You may also want to visit the nearby town of Cochem and take a boat excursion. Make sure to see the thousand-year old castle overlooking the town and enjoy the costumed medieval banquet on Friday or Saturday. Don’t miss its wine festivals in June and late August. Here are a few suggestions of what to eat with indigenous wines when touring this beautiful region. Start with Rieslingsuppe (Riesling Soup). For your second course enjoy Entenbrust mit Brombeerjus (Breast of Duck in Blackberry Juice). As dessert indulge yourself with Nougatineis mit Himbeersosse (Iced Nougat with Raspberry Sauce).

In fairness to today’s wine I read that it should be consumed no earlier than 2014. That restriction did not stop Wine Spectator magazine from rating it a 92 in a 2009 review. Today’s companion wine is a dry Canadian Riesling at one-third the price.

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed Markus Molitor Wehlener Spaetlese Riesling 2007 7.5 % alcohol about $24

Here I excerpt from a quote regarding one of its cousins. “A true visionary, Markus Molitor is driven by an uncompromising devotion to quality at all stages of the winemaking process and believes that each vineyard and vintage should express itself through his wines. In the Wehlener Sonnenuhr vineyard, only organic materials are used, yields are kept low, and grapes are hand-picked. Keeping with his philosophy of authenticity, Molitor ferments his wines using only wild ambient yeasts. This world-famous vineyard site is known for producing wines that are impressive for their juicy fruit, unique balance, nuance interplay and piquant acidity...” And now for my review.

Haus Klosterberg

Haus Klosterberg in German white wine

At the first sips I tasted a delicious combination of honey and acidity. My initial meal started with barbecued chicken wings. The Riesling lengthened. It was mouth cleansing. When it met the main dish of honey and garlic barbecued chicken breast the honey really came to the fore. When paired with one of my favorites, potatoes roasted in chicken fat, the wine was shorter. I got some honeysuckle, and it did a good job rinsing the grease. The dessert of chocolate covered walnuts, almonds, and currents managed to mute this libation somewhat but I still sensed a good combination of honey and acidity.

The next meal started with Japanese Wasabi crackers. The Riesling retained the honey and acidity. The centerpiece was kube (also called kibbe), ground beef in ground bulgar and semolina shells cooked in a broth brimming with Swiss chard. The wine presented the usual honey and acidity. It was candy-like with some citrus. When I added Louisiana cayenne pepper sauce featuring chiles and lime, the Riesling was basically unaffected but I noticed a fine, fine length. It was so, so smooth and flowery when paired with homemade apple pie.

My final meal was baked ziti siciliano with eggplant Mozzarella cheese that I doused with grated Romano cheese. The wine was long and sweet, and for a change somewhat smoky. The eggplant brought out the wine’s acidity. Dessert of fresh raspberries rendered the Riesling syrupy while retaining its honeyed acidity.

As always I finished the tastings with two cheeses. First came a Swiss. The Spaetlese showed great length. I got the usual honey but also a slight, pleasant burnt taste. A herbed goat’s milk cheese rendered the wine subtle; it’s acidity was in the background.

Final verdict. Given its price and all the hype I think this wine should have done better. I was rather bored. I am prejudiced; I like high-quality, sweet German Rieslings (not the rotgut that kept many away from Riesling for decades). All the more reason to be disappointed.

Access the companion wine A Niagara, Canada Riesling (Under $10)

About the Author

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine French or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. His wine websites include    www.theworldwidewine.com    with a new weekly review of $10 wines and    http://www.wineinyourdiet.com devoted to the issues of wine, weight loss, and health.

Visit his website devoted to Italian travel www.travelitalytravel.com

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