Last night, I subjected my dinner guests to an experiment. Nothing cruel, I assure you. On the contrary.
You see, I’ve been a fan of Hernder rieslings for many years, and five years ago, I decided to try something. Judging from the balance and ripeness I tasted, I figured that they could keep for several years. So after a visit to the Hernder cellar, I put a bottle of their 2000 riesling (the regular cuvée, not even the reserve) in the cellar, and decided to wait. Until last night.
Boy, was I ever happy to have bided my time. The nose showed a bit of petrol and citrus fruit, right on opening, but after a few minutes, it blossomed into rich aromas of beeswax and honey, pastry and flower petals. On tasting, a bit of residual sugar had matured into a rich, fruity, velvety ensemble, sustained by healthy acidity. Very harmonious. And quite a deal, for a mere $10 a bottle, at the time (the 2006 sells for $11,05 at the LCBO)
It was a perfect companion to a beautiful sauerkraut with all kinds of sausages and pork meat, including some home cured bacon. The acidity and sweetness blended in very smoothly with the meatiness and fat of the food (and the slight acidity of the sauerkraut itself). It would have been fine as well with a roasted chicken or some charcuterie.
The Hernder know-how doesn’t stop at riesling, mind you. I’ve tasted other lovely wines, mostly whites, when I visited the winery. Even their rhubarb wine is quite nice. Really.