I recently came across a little exquisite half bottle of Schloss Johannisberg 2006 Auslese Riesling – packaged in a traditional flute styled brown bottle – typical of the Rheingau region in Germany. I use to steer clear of anything from those Germans as i believe they have some of the most confusing labels on earth, unless you speak German and understand all their peculiar wine laws! Though i warn you, don’t be scared of the unknown – some of the most amazing Rieslings you could ever try hail from this country!!
Schloss Johannisberg is one of those producers to watch out for as well, not only known for their contribution towards making German wine what it is today but they constantly produce good quality wines at a range of price points and a range of styles from the typical ‘trocken’ aka dry to the very very sweet wines and coincidentally some of the most expensive sweet and rare wines in the world.
Don’t be scared of these ‘sweet’ wines either, i normally prefer dry over sweet but a glass of this Auslese Riesling had my taste buds dancing. I felt like i could of wrote a book on all the little hints of this and that i could pick up. Everything from mandarins and tangerines to honeyed Asian pears with a touch of fresh mango on the side. In a good way the finish was rather short, with the sweetness dripping away quickly – not giving you that overload of sugar which left your mouth salivating for more.
The term ‘Auslese’ refers to the sweetness level of the wine, this is how most wines are categorised in Germany. There are 6 categories in this classification, Auslese comes in at number three which indicates that the grapes are late harvest and have been hand selected having high natural residual sugar.
The remaining categories in order of increasing sweetness are;
5. Eiswein (Ice Wine)
They are all worth a try, even better if you can set them up in a vertical tasting – some categories would be hard to distinguish as regulations usually have a bit of a cross over period. But hey why not, if you can get your hands on them as well as some sausies and sauerkraut you could have a great little dinner party on your hands!
Schloss Johannisberg Auslese Riesling 2006 sells at US$69.