Guess this is two questions in one. I’m more interested in the second question, but the first occurred to me when writing the post:
At what age do you think a decent quality Spatlese is good to go?
On what kind of occasion do you drink Spatlese? It kind of spans different sweetness levels for me. I don’t think it’s a pudding wine, but is it too sweet for aperitif / mid-afternoon sipping?
Very interested to hear everyone’s thoughts. I only have 3 bottles of spatlese with some age to them. I frequently look at them (no stroking, I promise!) then discard the idea because I’m not sure it’s the right occasion, but what is?
I tend to drink spatlese either on its own, sipping in front of the TV in the evening, or with roast chicken or roast pork. With its extra richness I think it goes better with food than a kabinett, though not all would agree with this…
As far as bottle age goes, I tend to think 5 years+, but am guided by TWS drink dates.
Confirmed sweeter Riesling fan here… good questions!
On aging as ever personal preference plays a part. I sometimes drink them young (1-3 years) when they have a fruity freshness. But older ones can develop amazing rich complexity. I’ve had some Donnhoff 2009s this year that were spectacular. Still felt fresh and as though they had many years to go, the only issue was the corks beginning to look a bit suspect. On this basis I’ve got some 2015s and 2016s that I’m trying to hold off from drinking for a few more years.
For food pairings, agreed these have never struck me as dessert wines. But…
Great with charcuterie - the sweetness and acidity works well against the salt and fat in the meat. Similarly had a lovely pairing of german sausage with spatlese recently.
Also very good with lots of cheeses. But a favourite is goats cheese. To turn this into a meal try goats cheese on sourdough (posh cheese on toast).
Good accompaniment to lots of salad / veggie dishes. We eat a lot of these as my wife is vegetarian and spatlese are often the ‘go to’ accompaniment.
The sweetness means they go really well with lots of curries. We drink them regularly here with mid-spiced curry and the pairing works really well.
I know I said I don’t find them to be a dessert wine, but I did stumble on one great pairing this summer. Slice some strawberries thinly (‘carpaccio’ according to the recipe). Take whole bag of basil and crush in pestle & mortar with a tablespoon of caster sugar. Drizzle basil over strawberries. Fantastic combination…
I see nothing wrong with these as aperitif for summer sipping though, they don’t need food. When I served to others in this situation I notice the bottle tends to get finished quickly… relatively low alcohol content does help.
And lastly 2021 was a very good vintage for lots of producers. Spatlese quantity was reduced, but what was produced is often very, very good. Worth keeping an eye out for these as they become available…
Love drinking them on their own. Rarely as an aperitif because it suggests they’re merely a stopping point on the way to better things. If we’ve eaten earlier with the kids, we’ll often have a spatlese later in the evening - long summer evenings or dark winter nights both. Cheese might occasionally make an appearance too
Interesting thread, and going off slightly at a tangent - I used to like spatlese riesling very much and drink it a lot, but over the course of 20+ years my palate has changed and now I don’t really enjoy them; and even kabinetts I find a bit too sweet nowadays; I’m now in the trocken camp when it comes to riesling.
Don’t get me wrong - I get it; I’ve been to and paid homage at Schloss Johannisberg, and it’s a respectable and iconic wine style etc, but the flavour profile now I don’t enjoy that much.
My alternative for a low octane sweet wine I’d rather have a Jurancon, or a 5 putts Tokaj; for an aperitif I’d want a vin jaune or manzanilla, even a moscato, or a brut cuvée tradition - and for a very sweet wine it’s going to be a Rutherglen muscat, a vin santo, PX sherry, a Malmsey - something like that.
And yes I have some fairly old spatleses at the back of my wine fridge and… what to do with them ??
My apologies for thread drift, but that’s an interesting question. I guess, that ‘provided the wines were not purchased with the intention of selling on’ - then there is no conflict with TWS rules? especially if the subsequent trade was not for profit. ie: swap 6 Spatlese for 4 Auslese (or whatever).
I’ve found Spatlese, if it has enough acidity, to be really good with canapés and blinis, so perfect for snacks before a Christmas meal. Things like a gravlax, creamy cheese and dill blini, for example.
Courtesy of a nationwide DPD delivery cock-up, my wife’s birthday seafood extravaganza is spending a night in a depot somewhere. I think the alternative is curry. Do I plump for one of these two, or stick with my own earlier assertions …?
Bearing in mind I enjoy high acid white wines, not at all. A youthful Riesling Spatlese (2 to 3 years after vintage) with its thrilling combination of palate whetting fruit / acid explosivity and low ABV makes it perfect for such an occasion. Especially if some cooking is required of the drinker afterwards !
Another bonus, if you only fancy a glass or two, is that it will keep well in the fridge and remain perfectly drinkable for days afterwards too.
I like to drink more mature examples (5 to 12 years after vintage) after dinner. Either with light fruit-based desserts (tarts / mousses / salads) or to sip contemplatively, in place of dessert, whilst listening to music or watching TV.
I remembered my last bottle of 2012 Dönnhoff Oberhäuser Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett, which was fantastic with curry. Gorgeous wine - balanced, fruity, sparky, refreshing, grown-up, all at the same time. £90/6 IB about three years ago on BBX.