G kindly invited me to a tasting of German wines in Southwark a few days ago. I accidentally took the long way round out of Waterloo Station and then discovered that my knowledge of the area wasn't as good as I thought it was, but eventually made it to the designated meeting point only about a minute late.
The tasting began with five white Rieslings from the Saar and Mosel, all from the 2014 vintage. They were medium sweet or perhaps off-dry, only about 7.5% alcohol, and with lovely tropical flavours (we seem to be finding passionfruit in everything we drink at the moment!), peach and lime marmalade.
Comments were made about how you could drink these wines at breakfast, or mid-morning, at lunchtime, or in the afternoon in the garden (for those lucky enough to possess such a thing). They were very approachable even so young, with a certain freshness and good acidity, and wonderful length. My favourite was the Erdener Herzlei Spätlese from Weingut Dr Hermann in the Mosel, which positively demanded an apricot tart. It was extraordinary to find that they cost between £7 and £14 at the cellar door, although that was a couple of years ago and G referred to the prices on the tasting sheet as "charmingly inaccurate".
We then moved on to four red wines, all Spätburgunder i.e. Pinot Noir. Unfortunately the photos came out somewhat blurred so I won't post them here but the wines looked beautiful in the glass, a translucent red, and I detected notes of cherry on the nose. Unfortunately on the palate they were not my kind of thing, and I wasn't alone in this. There was a particular unpleasant bitter quality on the finish which reminded me (sensitive readers should look away now) of bile. I didn't say this out loud, but everyone around us poured them away, self included. I had hoped that the first wine was a duffer and I think everyone kept trying to convince themselves that each one was better than the last ("Oh, this is not too bad" said someone about the third) but in my opinion they were all equally awful. Oh well! At least now I know to avoid them in future.
Fortunately we didn't end the evening on a sour note, as the chap who had organised the tasting produced this 1990 Trierer Deutschherrenberg Auslese from the Mosel as the final wine. This was more like it! It was a beautiful golden colour and was absolutely delicious, with floral notes along with the classic petrol of Riesling, and honey. It had great acidity and balance, and a splendid finish, and reminded me of the days when G and I used to drink Bernkastler Bratenhofchen in the late 90s. Wonderful stuff and very generous of the organiser to share it with us. I may not share his taste in reds, but this reminded me how much I love this style of white, and I'll be looking out for it in future.