Reinhold Haart, Wintricher Ohligsberg, Riesling Großes Gewächs, 2008

Reinhold Haart, Wintricher Ohligsberg, Riesling Großes Gewächs, 2008

The Haart winery is a Wine Rambler regular, constantly winning our praise for their elegant and sophisticated sweet Riesling. However, they are also producing a small quantity of dry Riesling, of which we so far shockingly have only reviewed one. This is to change today.

A simple way of describing the bouquet of the Haart Riesling would be to say that it features stone fruit, lemon, mineral, yeast and a hint of vegetable and tobacco. A much better way of describing it would be to ask you to imagine finding an old tobacco chest in a cool, somewhat damp, loamy cave. The bottom layer of the chest would be covered with ground stone and earth, generously sprinkled with lemon juice and pieces of stone fruit - and all of that covered with a wet, mineral heavy ball of cotton wool soaked in yeast.

After my first sniff I decided to put the bottle away for at least a couple of hours, to give the wine time to release what seemed like somewhat hidden fruit under a yeast cover. Unfortunately, my drinking companions downed the wine so quickly that, before I could even say 'maturation', the Riesling was all gone. So all I have right now is the memory of a wine with clearly defined fruit, finesse, an almost elegant acidity and intense mineral character with more earthiness than I tend to find in the sweeter Haart wines. It also had a good depth and a really yummy, fairly long finish.

Luckily, I saved another bottle to be opened some time later.

Addendum: 'Großes Gewächs' literally means 'great growth'; it indicates that you deal with a top-level dry wine from a quality vineyard. It is part of a classification system that is being pushed by the leading association of winemakers in Germany.


Submitted by torsten Sunday, 27/02/2011

So, today I am drinking the second bottle. At first I wasn't so impressed (I had this memory of an extraordinary wine, after all), but after giving the Riesling time to breathe it really took off. Delicious orange and lemon peel that I had not noticed the first time came up. And then, most importantly, a salty finish, almost like bacon, with mouth-drying mineral. This is a really intense sensation on my tongue right now, into which caramelised citrus fruit adds the right level of sweet, bitter and juice. Good to see again that the Mosel can also do dry Riesling well.