2009 Schloss Schönborn Hattenheimer Pfaffenberg
As the Summer of Riesling winds down and fall is merely days away, I thought I would write about two more enchanting German Rieslings. I found these two selections from Schloss Schönborn side by side at the Whole Foods on River Street in Cambridge. Both were from the 2009 vintage, both had dry on the label, both were 12.5% abv, and both were priced $18.99. Graphics aside, their big difference was the source of the grapes; the grapes that produced the Hattenheimer Pfaffenberg were from a single vineyard in Pfaffenberg, while the Estate bottle did not specify a source. I had only wanted to buy one bottle, but could not resist the opportunity to taste them at the same time and compare.
For all that these two Rieslings seemed to have in common on the surface, they were actually quite different in the glass. Both Rieslings are remarkably pale, with the Estate wine having a hint more gold and the Pfaffenberg a hint of green. The Estate Riesling was fresh and light on the nose with lots of green apple, lime, and minerality. The flavors were far riper than the nose indicated with peach, slate, and citrus. It was racy and the high acidity delivered a long finish. There was a sense of ripeness without being at all sweet, medium finish, and some bitterness.
Apricot and tropical fruit in the nose were the first signs that the Pfaffenberg was going to be richer and riper. The strong fruit continued on the palate, which had apricot, lime, and pink grapefruit pith. The biggest difference between the Pfaffenberg and the Estate wine was the mouthfeel. Starting with a bit of spritz, the mouthfeel on the Pfaffenberg was complex and evolved. The high acidity was softened and off-set by a bit of residual sugar, giving the Pfaffenberg a rich, voluptuousness with a lasting peach flavor and bitterness.
I enjoyed both of these Rieslings immensely and would have difficulty recommending one over the other. But luckily at this price, which is quite reasonable for this quality of German Riesling, I don’t have to choose.
At Whole Foods on River Street for $18.99 each.