Knipser, Himmelsrech, Riesling Spätlese trocken, 2001
Usually, if you want to drink aged wine it involves a cellar, a good idea which wines are worth putting away and some kind of idea when you should open them. And then perhaps a decade of doing nothing. Or it may involve spending a lot of money buying an aged wine from a merchant. Sometimes you are lucky though and come across a wine that both looks the right age and is reasonably priced. Today's find is one of them, a ten year old Riesling from a good vineyard site, made by an excellent producer, and sold for less than 15 Euro.
A word of warning first though. For most wines don't bother with ageing. Many wines today are made to be drunk young, and the percentage of wines that really improve with age has always been small. Wines made from the Riesling grape are more likely than others to age well, but even here you want a quality wine with some substance.
The Knipser Riesling from the Pfalz is a wine with some substance, and it seems to me that I have not opened this one too early. The bouquet is lovely, a nice blend of fresh fruit and more creamy, muted, waxy aromas showing its age. On the freshness front there is lemon and orange peel; caramelised fruit; peach and a grapefruit and apple freshness. All of which is embedded in paraffin, wax and nutty notes and spiced up with menthol, chilli and vegetable (cucumber perhaps).
The cucumber makes its return on the palate - think thinly sliced cucumber with a drop or two of white wine vinegar -, but mostly this is a dry, tight and sharp wine. Less strong on the fruit side, it still features caramelised peach, but also a more waxy texture with paraffin taste and citrus freshness. The finish is very dry and minerally, with menthol sharpness and caramelised lime, and a strong showing of acidity - at moments perhaps a little too much.
It would have been interesting to try the Knipser at a younger age when, I suspect, it had more fruit. In its current incarnation the Riesling is still very good, but more on the edgy, serious side (on the tongue, mind you, less so the nose) with quite sharp acidity.