Legends of Germany, Piesporter Michelsberg
You may have heard of Sisyphus. He is the bloke doomed to roll a giant bolder up a hill, only to watch it roll down and having to do it all over again. Forever. I am not there yet, but my quest to find good, affordable German wine in a British supermarket feels a little similar. Here is the next instalment from the series, and it takes us to upmarket supermarket chain Waitrose.
It also takes us to the Mosel region - Piesporter Michelsberg is the name for a fairly large sub-region of the Mosel. Theoretically it is named after the village of Piesport, where they have been making outstanding wine since the time of the Romans. In reality though "Michelsberg" on the label pretty much guarantees that the wine in your bottle has never seen Piesport and is in fact a cheap blend, mostly from Müller-Thurgau grapes. That Waitrose sell such a wine as "Legends of Germany" made me almost angry, so much so that I wrote them an open letter.
Let's leave this issue aside for now and just treat the "Legends" as we would any other German supermarket wine and have a taste. The experience starts with a very pale straw colour and a bouquet that is almost as faint. Yes, there is some fruit - citrus, pear, apple and a little stone fruit, but it is hardly much or overly exciting. Even a little floral soapiness, a hint of light furniture polish and some sherbet are not enough to leave an impression. Drinking the "Legends" is similarly un-legendary: some fruit, especially apple, with lemon and a hint of something bitter come together in a wine that when you don't pay much attention is vaguely refreshing and easy to drink, but that as soon as you do feels a little watery and falls flat towards the end.
Amongst the cheap German supermarket wines it is one of the better ones, mostly due to the absence of obvious flaws. If you insist on having a German wine in that price range I won't stop you, but personally I'd rather spend a few quid more for something much more exciting - even if it meant drinking wine less often. Whatever you decide to do with this, please don't think this wine represents the quality of German wines, and please never associate it with the legendary wines from actual Piesport.