Westhofener Bergkloster, Huxel-Ortega, Beerenauslese, QmP, Rheinhessen (opposite Rheingau, on the left bank of the Rhine), Germany, 1994
This wine: lot No. none, so a single bottling run (otherwise lot numbering became compulsory in EC in 1992), a blend of huxelrebe (a high yielding, very high sugar level achieving cross of chasselas with muscat precoce de saumur) and ortega (can achieve high sugar levels in most years, a cross of muller thurgau with siegerrebbe), coated natural cork closure stained to 75% length, pulled easily, no capsule, 375ml, 10% abv, Vintage Wine, £13.95 (07/17)
Consumer tasting note: a deep amber sweetie with perfectly balancing fresh acidity, and ticking all the boxes – intense, complex, concentrated, and a long finish, leaving a clean palate on swallowing – to set the scene, a rich profile of thick cut dark marmalade, dried stone fruit, thick honey, wet prune, with an edge of roasted hazelnut and a hint of mushroom suggesting venerable age. Finishes long.
Drink now – RTD, and will hold for 5-10 years – Wait. No need to decant, although there is a small quantity of harmless tartrate crystals.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, deep intensity amber, showing tears [1/8 teaspoon of tartrate crystal deposit].
Nose: clean, pronounced intensity, fully developed, with aromas as they come, of dark thick cut orange marmalade, dried apricot, thick honey, a touch waxy, a hint of mushroom, roasted hazelnut, spent leaf tea, wet prune.
Palate: medium sweet, medium (+) acidity, medium (-) alcohol, full body, pronounced intensity, a smooth velvety texture, with a just perceptible grip, with flavours of dark orange marmalade, rich stewed yellow peach, dried mango, dried yellow peach. A long length, with a clean palate, orange marmalade dominated finish.
Quality: very good, well balanced fresh acidity with residual sugar, giving a clean palate on spitting, a pronounced intensity with similar concentration, a better than moderately complex fully developed part-oxidised profile, with a touch of mushroom suggesting venerable age. Finishes long.
Drinking readiness/ageing potential: drink now, unsuited to further ageing, but will hold for 5-10 years – a sound acid-sugar structure, lots of intensity, concentration and length, fully developed, good complexity, with no improvement likely, except perhaps a deepening of the fungal notion, which though interesting to aficionados, may not be to the taste of all.