Of all the longer and shorter wine tours and winery visits I have undertaken the 2008 trip to the Mosel is the one I have the fondest memories of. Not only was it part of a longer holiday and involved the full Wine Rambler committee, I also had the chance to meet some of my favourite winemakers and cycle along the fantastic Mosel cycle paths. And it was asparagus season - easy access to white asparagus is probably where London is weakest on the food supply front.
Among the wineries we visited was Reuscher-Haart, one of several branches of the Haart family living in the famous wine village Piesport. The last wine left from that visit is (or was) this 2006 late harvest Riesling.
Leaving aside the wine for a moment what made the visit to Reuscher-Haart memorable was the contrast to some of the large Mosel estate with their professional marketing and tasting teams. Mario Schwang, who together with his father looks after the winery, talked us through the wines - in the family dining room. At some point the grandmother, I believe, walked in to announce that the chimney cleaner had arrived. This resulted in us being left alone for a few minutes - left alone with about a dozen or so open bottles of wine that is. After the tasting was finished, Mario even suggested we should take as many of the open bottles with us as we wanted.
So, good memories and a last bottle to reminisce about them. The 2006 Riesling has a great golden colour and a rich and intense bouquet: after an initial impression of age (wax aromas with a benzine touch and dusty raisins) wore off the late harvest gave a rich and balanced bouquet of stone fruit, herb and caramelised, alcohol marinated fruit with a touch of citrus freshness. Fruit galore continues on the tongue with apple, ripe pear and grapefruit flavours enhancing the stone fruit. Again, there are some signs of the age, a touch of wax and a hint of wet cardboard - strangely though that actually added a layer to the wine, hard as it may be to believe -, but the tongue tingling acidity keeps it all together and caramel flavours smooth things over, all ending in an good finish that adds nougat, spice and caramel citrus.
It seems to me now is the right time to drink this wine, with age and freshness in very good balance despite it having been stored under less than ideal conditions. If you stored yours in a proper cellar instead of my wine-wardrobe, I am sure it will still entertain you well in a few years from now (and if you are a wee bit more careful than me the label won't suffer either).