The familial resemblance is uncanny. I've had Max Ferd. Richter's 1992 Mülheimer Sonnenlay riesling spätlese twice, in 2011 and this summer, and this Wehlener Sonnenuhr kabinett shares some of the same traits. The wines are never really powerful, which I initially thought was because of age. No, even when young, the wines rely more on finesse than concentration and extract, and while it certainly doesn't impede its ability to age, it does lack a certain impact on the palate.
I was talking to a friend recently, about drinks (naturally), and she casually remarked that some drinks are just stereotypically girly. I'm not sure I agree. Of course, the term implies something that is fruity and sweet, and that horrible expression easy-drinking. I think it's a bit of an insult to automatically label any cheap, sugary concoction a girly drink, as if to imply that females naturally have a more infantile palate. Why can't we just call those drinks what they are - alcohol for people who don't know any better - and wrap our heads around the fact that the simple presence of sugar doesn't imply anything.
It's no secret that I love German riesling. Most of the wines I drink from here are sweet, although Germany does also produce dry (trocken) rieslings. But you see, it's not trying to be a sweet wine, so much as it simply being what it's supposed to be. The residual sugar balances the acid and minerality - without it, the wines would be painful to drink. And anyone who has some experience with these wines will immediately recognize that if anything, these are inherently masculine wines. Like steel beams and cables, held in tension.
Drinking old wines always teaches you what the true character of the wine is. The 1992's were getting a bit tired, but showing that beautiful, pure, mineral expression of the middle Mosel. But it's also useful to taste the same wine in its youth, to see the starting point of its evolution. Granted, the two wines I'm talking about are from different vineyards, and therefore are different wines - but made with the same hands, you definitely see a resemblance. There's almost a fragility in both wines, particularly the way the acid breaks on the palate. Great purity of fruit, and the wine never really gains or loses in weight - it's almost as if it's able to maintain that level of texture as it ages. Very interesting indeed, a wine to think a bit about.
Well, what of my friend? I don't think I was able to convince her of my point above, but we'll drink some interesting wines and see if I can change her mind. What can I say, I'm a charmer with a corkscrew and a stem.