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Emrich-Schönleber, Monzinger Halenberg, Riesling Spätlese, 2006

We just voted not one, not two, but three dry Rieslings into our top five picks of last year. We didn't do that to make a point, those were just the wines we happened to enjoy most. Having said that, it is true that the effort many english-speaking wine lovers will make to ignore any german wine that is not sweet Riesling have not ceased to amaze us - amaze, and annoy us ever so slightly. This is not, I hasten to clarify, because we fail to appreciate the great sweet Rieslings. They are indeed unique, delightful and still handsomely underpriced in the global scheme of wine. It's just that this fact is already widely known, so frankly, it is not exactly breaking news to report on another little marvel of liquid stone and sweet peachy caress.

But on this January day, the time has come to do just that.

This Spätlese from the second world-class Nahe producer (next to Dönnhoff) and also from one of the great Nahe vineyards sports a fairly light, still green-tinged straw colour and a nose of concentrated Riesling fruit and choice herbs. On the palate, a tightrope balance between sweetness and acidity and a very smooth kind of minerality, like some piece of highly polished stone. Along the sides of the long mineral-paved walkway that is the finish, the very beginnings of honey and caramel notes are just coming in sight. So breaking news it isn't, but a beauty nonetheless, and an instant classic.

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