Quite the disappointment…
I have decided to not even take a picture of this bottle. If you have to see it, go here. This is a wine by one of the “better” winemakers in Germany, Hans Lang (strangely, I could not find a homepage for them), and it is readily available through Trader Joe’s for a very enticing $8.99. Now, this really low price for a spaetlese already tells you that it is probably not one of the first rated wines of this winery. The name – “Edition Maximilian” – should also be an indication of that…however, the winemaker is a member of the prestigious VDP (an elite club of winemakers in Germany that selects its own members that then have to adhere to higher quality standards), so I thought the wine should at least have some potential, because even more basic wines can be good.
Well, not this one. At first there was an unimpressive, alcoholic and slightly sour smell that mellowed out after a while. The wine was of clear, light yellow color. I could taste some strawberries, some vanilla, pear. The acidity in the wine seemed rather high, and in total not very well balanced by some hints of sweetness. The finish is short, with again, hints of vanilla. I could not help but think that the winemaker was not sure where to go with this wine: sweeter, not so sweet, spaetlese or rather not? It is not a bad wine, but it also seemed to lack so much. Especially when you consider that the winemaker probably knows what he is doing, and that a spaetlese should be stunner, not a bummer. It feels like he was going for a simple wine that would be a quick sell. Seems like a lost opportunity.
If this was my first German riesling spaetlese, I would have no clue what all the fuss was about and would stay away. I’ll sure stay clear of this one.
To be fair: Others do think differently, see e.g. here (calling it “delicious”).