Call me psychic, but this time I’m absolutely, positively sure I’ve got the winning ticket. I sense it in my bones and see it in my dreams. Without a shred of a doubt, by the time you read this post I’ll be positively nouveau riche; the fabulously wealthy, sole winner of the largest lottery jackpot ever conceived on planet earth.
In fact I’m so convinced of it, I’m price shopping at this very moment for a new Gulfstream to whisk me away to all the rarified places I plan to travel to immediately, especially in wine country. I mean, what else do you do with more disposable income than most banana republics?
It will also afford me an opportunity to upgrade my wine collection. So what wines will I stock in my gold-lined, custom-made, waterfall-cooled mega cellar? Will my new set be exclusively comprised of Cult-Napa Cabs, rare Super Tuscans, and ’61 vintage First-Growth Bordeaux?
Well, perhaps not. After all, the odds of winning the lottery are comparable to being struck by lightning – twice. Case in point: last week I bought a few multi-play tickets on a whim and came away with zilch. Bubble burst! Besides, the realist and cheapskate curmudgeon in me sees more value in buying great German Riesling than bottles of small-case production Le Montrachet.
Dollars to doughnuts, even on a penny-pincher income, you’ll find billionaire bang-for-the-buck in late harvest Spätlese produced from any of the great-growth vineyards of the Mosel. Dedicated producers like Johannes Selbach of Weingut Selbach-Oster routinely make compelling wines that are highly drinkable in their youth and still possess remarkable potential to gain and develop with considerable age, usually for under $30 a bottle.
Wines made in the late harvest style typically offer a bit of sweet richness but are never cloying. The best balance the residual sugar with vibrantly refreshing acidity that always brings you around for another sip.
I’ll state my case on a bottle of 2009 Selbach-Oster Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese ($24) grown on the steep slopes of the famed “sundial” vineyard above the town of Wehlen. It’s already an elegant, sophisticated wine displaying white peach, apple and lemon curd, delicate acidity and tell-tale minerality from the prized Devonian slate sub-soil of this highly regarded site. It’s delicious now but is a real keeper too, with plenty of structure for further development.
Jim Greeley, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits wine & spirits supervisor
Follow me on Twitter @ABCWineJimG