We drank this bottle of 2003 Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spätlese by Willi Schaefer as a nightcap the other day. Yes, there are plenty of good occasion for drinking a sweet Riesling and a nightcap is certainly one of the better. Low alcohol and ripe fruit are definitely a good last reward for a hard day of work.
But wait a minute, isn’t this a wine of this “bad” 2003 vintage, when too much sun and heat have brought overextracted and flat wines? Yes, exactly that vintage. But today more and more say that 2003 is actually an underestimated vintage. As usual, generalization has lead to a collective punishment of all wines of one vintage. We all know how this story repeats itself year after year, even though there are always great successes in bad vintages as there are mediocre wines made in big vintages. On the other hand, many 2003 wines have only recently proved to age better than expected which has lead to a slight reversal in critics’ opinions.
As for the wine itself, of course the heat of the vintage translates with a lower acidity, but it is far from being flat. There’s still a juicy feel, but in a more smooth and round manner than in cooler vintages. The ripe fruit, which appears both in the nose and on the palate, doesn’t seem overextracted at all and 8 years of aging have given it a certain noblesse, whith sugar beginning its slow pullback. And so we have the full flavor of yellow peaches with a slight touch of honey lingering on until the next sip.
For this occasion, but I believe for any other occasion as well, this is a beautiful Spätlese, a charmer with depth and just a tender bite of acidity and even better: at around 15 Euro it represents a good German Riesling value.