2009 Hans Lang Rheingau Riesling Spaetlese – Edition Maximilian

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”).

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2 thoughts on “2009 Hans Lang Rheingau Riesling Spaetlese – Edition Maximilian

  1. Ed Fritzen says:

    Dear sour grapes,

    Not all vintages/bottles are the same, but on the whole I find this to be a much better wine than the American Rieslings typically available here in California (or the banal Dr. Loosen etc.) Yes, there are better German Rieslings, but I don’t want to spend $20 a bottle on a regular basis.

    It’s excellent with appetizers, and has a decent balance of acidity and sweetness with moderate alcohol. Works for me as an everyday happy hour wine. You probably tried a bad bottle.


    • Hi Ed, thanks for taking the time to comment! It gave me a chance to re-read this post (boy it has been a while) and yes, you rightly called me a sour grape there…wow, that was pretty negative. And there I am usually claiming not wanting to write bad stuff…

      Thanks for pointing out your perspective. I am quite partial to Dr L, banal or not, but it is just a good quaffer…I’ll probably go back and grab another bottle, just to see…

      Really appreciate your comment!

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