Old stuff from the Rhine: 1996 Pettenthal Auslese trocken from Heinrich Braun

The wonderful thing about not being perfect is that it makes life a constant source of wonderful surprises. In this case: I don’t use any of those wine cellar apps which allow you to always know what you’ve got and when you should drink it and who wrote about it and with how many points and and and… There is about enough technology in my life! That means that sometimes I dive a bit deeper and my hand stretches out in an unusual direction while facing the wine shelves – and there you go, out comes a dusty bottle like this one: 1996 Riesling Auslese trocken Niersteiner Pettenthal from Heinrich Braun in Nierstein.

96Braun I admit that when I deciphered (note to wine producers: gold on black makes for almost unreadable labels) it all, under the dust, I had my doubts. 18 years and trocken (dry)? Oha. The relevant app probably would have alerted me to drink this at least 10 years ago. I put a younger default wine next to it in the fridge, to be on the safe side that evening. Well, that proved to be more than unnecessary. With a few minutes of air (hey, after at least 17 years in that bottle, you’d need a moment too) the wine shone in a dark golden yellow and smelled beautifully of bees wax and ripe yellow apples, still warm from the autumn sun. It was perfectly balanced and rounded, all mellow but without a hint of flabbiness, alcohol and mineral spiciness combined to a greater one that lingered on… And unbelievably (I know, I would have been sure that was impossible) when I kept the half-emptied bottle for 3 days in the fridge, the wine didn’t mind at all but was again ready for me with all its beauty. If only I could manage to age that gracefully.

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