Recently, I found myself drinking with friends who were discussing which type of vegetable they would like to be. When I asked them how they would rate me, Charlotte suggested I could be a squash. Unfortunately I never really found out why she classified me in this way, partly because she went on to say she would quite like to be a courgette. Today's wine, luckily, is not like a vegetable. Instead it is very easy to describe in terms of fruit: take the most deliciously juicy peach you can imagine, add passion fruit, and caramelise it with lots of sugar and some gold, sprinkle finely with herbs and serve in a stony cup with a dash of menthol, spice and lemon juice. As you can see this description really does not work in relation to vegetables, but I can tell you that if this wine were a human being it would have to be the young Liv Tyler - just in blond.
Let's get back to the start for a moment. The Haart winery from the Mosel valley do need no introduction here on the Wine Rambler, particularly if it comes to sweet Riesling. Among the sweet late harvest wines, those labelled as 'Auslese' (selection) have a special status: ripe grapes are hand picked at a very late stage during the harvest process, leading to particularly rich and intense wines that can be stored for many years, even decades.
The 2006 Haart Auslese obviously has not been stored for decades, but when my dad came over to visit last weekend its time had come nonetheless. It impressed us right from the start with the most beautiful golden colour, so very shiny and rich. The nose was rich too, but by no means overwhelming: juicy peach, pear, herbs, mineral and lemon were blended very nicely with a hint of menthol. The peach-pleasure continued on the tongue with some of the most well-defined, juicy peach I have tasted, enhanced by caramel and a splash of grapefruit. The Haart Riesling is very well rounded, smooth as a baby's behind and still fresh because of the lively (though not overly strong) lemony acidity. It also has a very pleasant finish that fills your mouth with peach and ends with caramel notes, menthol and a tiny hint of chilli to balance everything.
It makes an excellent dessert wine and should also go very well with cheese. As you would expect from a good Riesling Auslese, it is lighter, livelier and more elegant than the really heavy dessert wines, but it is nonetheless substantial and glorious enough that I find two glasses are just enough for an evening. Luckily, it lost none of its character on the second day - if anything it got even better.
When I finished the bottle with Heidi the day after my dad had left we discussed which actress could play the part of this Riesling. It was clear she had to be blonde (after all the Haart is from the 'Goldtröpfchen' vineyard (meaning little droplet of gold)), beautiful, well rounded with a bit of sweet substance (so not slim, but also not overly voluptuous), really pleasant to look at but also not shallow like your everyday pin-up. Various options were discussed but none seemed to fit the part perfectly (Cameron Diaz came up, but was dismissed as perhaps too lively or quirky). Eventually, I suggested the 'young Liv Tyler, if only she were the blond type', which seemed to settle the issue. Cheers!