Martin Müllen, Kröver Letterlay, Riesling Spätlese, 1994

Martin Müllen, Kröver Letterlay, Riesling Spätlese, 1994

A nicely aged Riesling can be a wonderful thing. Unfortunately, for those not blessed with a proper cellar storing wine for a decade or two is a risky venture. This makes buying aged wine directly from the winery very interesting, especially when the wine comes at a reasonable price. Of course, there is also the risk that they are trying to dump rubbish they couldn't sell on you, but for €12.90 and coming from a good winery I thought I could take my chances with this half-dry late harvest Riesling from the Moselle:

Martin Müllen's Riesling greats you with a bouquet of kerosene, paraffin and menthol, with honeyed petrol notes - a text-book nose for aged Riesling. Add to that a tongue sensation of dried fruit, walnuts and lychee for a wine that is still fruity, but feels almost dry through its age. 'Vicks VapoRub', exclaimed one of my drinking companions, almost in excitement. Well rounded, substantial but not heavy, the Riesling had a lot going for it and, despite feeling drier than I had hoped for, was very enjoyable.

This is not a wine for everyone, for sure, and I a suspect Mrs Munich Winerambler would have called it an 'old stinker'; but it was a fine old stinker, if you ask me, and also at a fair price.


Submitted by Julian Monday, 05/04/2010

Always happy to see one of the good ol' boys spry and in good shape. When off-dry and sweet Rieslings get drier as they age (and by the way: why is that?), then that should make them more food-worthy, should it not? Must try that more systematically in the future.

Submitted by torsten Tuesday, 06/04/2010

In reply to by Julian

It is not only Riesling, I think, but white wine in general that shows this behaviour (at some point this year I will have to open the 18 year old Grüner Veltliner sitting here). There are the effects of oxidation ('Firne' or 'bottle age'), leading to a slow change in colour and emphasizing aromas and flavours such as nut, honey, dried fruit etc.; also, the wine loses carbonic acid, which de-emphasizes the fruitiness. At least that would be the text-book explanation - but as this is very much a text-book examples... Now I wonder what the two years older Müllen Riesling will taste like!

And yes, I think this would go very well with food (although that is a vague, general comment).