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2007 Oberemmeler Hutte Spatlese

December 7, 2011

von Hovel's Oberemmeler Hutte Vineyard

The only Oberemmeler Hutte you’ll find will be made by von Hovel estate because this vineyard is its monopole. As is the case with most first class German vineyards it is a south facing slope and as is typical of the region the soil is slate, making for a well drained and heat-retentive vineyard in which vines’ roots grow deep in search of water.

Intense yet subtle, one would be hard pressed to find a more delicate young Spatlese, the 2007 Oberemmeler Hutte Spatlese is the epitome of Saar wine. Mosel-Saar-Ruwer is not really as unified as the name might imply. The difference between a Spatlese from the Saar and one from the Mittel Mosel (think Bernkastel, Wehlen, Urzig et al) in any given vintage should be quite obvious. Both should have an exquisite balance of acid and sugar but the Saar would always be the more delicate; never spicy or creamy in my experience, though I do imagine that good BA and TBA wines would not be able to avoid that sort of richness. The 2007 vintage was well suited to Saar wines, providing the extra ripeness that such a cool wine region needs to make balanced and age-worthy wines.

The 2007 Oberemmeler Hutte Spatlese will age on its purity of fruit and balance of structural elements (acid and sugar) for 10, if not 20, years. At 4 years of age the wine has a light straw color and upon opening still has a small amount of gas. Aromas of peach, lemon and lime are intense next to suspicions of linseed oil and petrichor. The palate follows the nose closely and there is a palpable sense of minerality and extract. The tension between acidity (medium+) and sugar is marvelous. The sweetness seems low for a Spatlese but this is probably just the acidity speaking over it; the sugar must be fairly high because Spatlese juice fermented to 7.5% should leave behind a fair amount. The finish is long and subtle, ripe lemon flavors linger after a sense of sweet peaches subsides. This is a spry young wine, you could serve it with just about anything and it would simply work as a refreshing beverage but complementary pairings should not be too difficult to come by either. Lightly spiced vegetable dishes or fish in a lemon and thyme cream sauce are two that come to mind immediately but one couldĀ  get much more creative I’m sure.

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