Murphy’s Law at its best: While preparing the Christmas wines, my bottle of Johannisberger Spätlese 1976, incidentally, shattered on the cellar floor. What a shame. Perfectly stored, very well level, and all of that from the exquisite Rheingau vintage of 1976.
Schloss Johannisberg is the spot in the Rheingau where the Spätlese has been “invented” – at least that’s one version of the story. In 1775 the messenger who was supposed to get the bishop’s harvest permit was said to have been late.
The monks nevertheless harvested and vinified the grapes, which had been affected by noble rot in the meantime. The resulting “late harvest” delighted everyone.
The grapes of the Johannisberger grow on a south-facing quartzite slope, which lies exactly on the 50th parallel. A perfect terroir for Riesling.
And the 1976? Well, at least I could taste a small sip from the bottom of the bottle. The wine has matured with elegant and complex tertiary layers, orange marmalade on toast, honey, beeswax, kerosene. Orange peel, dried apricots and lemon cake appear too. Very good length with a fine finish. What a waste…