Tuesday, August 25, 2009

In the Glass: A 1991 French Chardonnay and a 1989 German Riesling

We cooked at home and drank two aged wines --- a French Chardonnay and a German Riesling.

The Chardonnay was a 1991 Pouille-Fuisse from Leonard de Saint-Aubin. Pouilly-Fuissé is a sub-division of Macon in Burgundy. It produces wine of mixed quality, and as it doesn't have the three-tired classification system of grand cru, premier cru and village wine, you are more than ever dependent on the producer. Our wine was from the wine estate of Leonard de Saint-Aubin, which does not figure among the top wineries in the Macon. The 1991 Pouille-Fuisse turned out to be disapointing. It was over-aged, with a strong note of Sherry. Unfortunately, we waited much too long to drink this wine. But this was our fault.

By contrast, the 1989 Avelsbacher Hammerstein (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer) Riesling Auslese from the Staatsweingut Trier was at its high-point. Typically, the Mosel Auslese wines, in particular those that you can find in the US, are stopped, low in alcohol and high in residual sugar. This Auslese was different. It was fully fermented to 11.5 % alcohol and bone-dry---just like the Pouille-Fuisse from further South in France. And despite all these years, still with an amazing amount of freshness, combined with a delicious hint of melon.

I would guess the higher acidity level of the Riesling grape made all the difference in how these two aged wines presented themselves today. Both were wines in the $ 20 range, I guess. The Staatsweingut currently sells the 2005 Avelsbacher Hammerstein Riesling Auslese for $ 15 ex winery.

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