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Müller-Catoir, Haardter Herrenletten, Spätburgunder Weißherbst Auslese, 1994

If you want to test the German wine savvy of your knowledgeable friends, here's a little experiment you can conduct in the safety of your own living room. Tell them you want them to taste a German rosé, and inform them that it will be off-dry, well over ten years old, and come with a label sporting a coat of arms and cryptic Germanic font. Mention in passing that this bottle will come from the Müller-Catoir winery. 95 per cent of all wine drinkers will at this point have run away screaming, the living daylights scared out of them.

The remaining 5 % will ask for a screwpull without further ado. From then on, listen to those people.

Weißherbst, that's traditional lightly coloured Rosé from Pinot Noir to you, has a long and distinguished tradition in Germany. It comes in the dry, but also in the sweet style. The aficionados are still battling each other on eBay over the last few bottle of 1976 Weißherbst Auslese or Beerenauslese from the slopes of Assmannshausen or Eltville in the Rheingau, and for good reason.

Here, though, is a comparative youngster, and from one of the legendary wineries of the Pfalz:

Beautiful colour on this thing, somewhere between copper and amber. In the nose, raisins above all, but also ripe quince, and a whiff of what makes Pinot Noir Pinot Noir: Rose hip, nougat, forest floor. On the palate, a hint of cough medicine that takes a little getting used to, no longer young and vibrant, but not old either, very spicy and herbal, if a little bitter and dusty on the finish. But all over your mouth. And long. Sweet but not terribly sweet, this is pretty much in a category of its own. If (and outside of German eBay, that's a big if) you can get hold of a bottle, have no fear and don't hesitate for a second.

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