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1959 Winkeler Gutenberg Riesling Auslese, Weingut Fritz Allendorf, Rheingau

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It is not every day that I open a nearly 50 year old bottle of wine. In these last weeks however it is already the second 1959 Riesling I pull the cork out. I think that after this surprisingly good mystery bottle (with ripped off label) I just got tempted to see if all 59’s are that damn good. And it even got better!

Of course I didn’t buy this bottle 50 years ago, but rather these past months on Ebay. It arrived at my home in very good shape. At one point in its long life the bottle had been recorked and then sealed with wax. It might also have been refilled at this occasion, but this I cannot verify. The filling level however was still excellent.

We poured the wine after some other top notch Rieslings from Leitz and Künstler and feared it wouldn’t stand the comparison. But our worries were totally misplaced. This wine was a whole masterpiece on its own.

It started with the colour, an elegant gold which was bright and not too dark. Lighter than 1999 Stielweg Alte Reben from Künstler we had before. Then the nose: it only had the slightest sign of age, maybe a tiny wax-like note which indicated that it was a mature wine. But nothing could have make you guessed it was 50 years old, especially with a little peach fruit which was still there. One of our friends guessed 1995. Well, he had the numbers right already…

On the palate the wine appeared first fresh and minty with a nice texture, somewhat oily and rich. It had the sweetness of a dry Spätlese with a fruity mouth with hints of peach and orange. What was impressive was that the wine evolved every minute in the glass. It soon began to show its extract through a dynamic texture, revealing a certain power which pushed on the palate, enveloping it with a delicious mix of herbs and minerality. This was followed by a glorious length. It felt as if there was a certain energy in the wine which waited 50 years to finally come out. Like a Geanie in the bottle.

This was a fantastic, timeless masterpiece, and for now the best aged Riesling I had. We felt lucky that we had such a wine for my Dads birthday. And such as the wine, my ratings evolved from 95 to 96 and 97, but I feel that I might start to exaggerate, so I’m gonna stick with a 95+ rating.

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Categories: Germany,Rheingau
  1. Felix (guest) Said,

    Wow, sounds like an excellent wine. I have to say that getting good (and affordable) wine in Malaysia is quite difficult. However, at last weeks Australia day event we were luckily being served a great Australian red without knowing the label.
    Cheers

  2. foodandmore Said,

    The good thing about having a dad, who is a wine lover, getting 50 (I guess – why else a 50 year old wine) seems to be to have the pleasure to taste such an exceptional wine. Make sure that you put aside the appropriate wine for your 50s birthsday ;-)

  3. alexis2 Said,

    REPLY:
    actually he didn’t get 50… but 1959 simply was a terribly good vintage all over Europe. For my 50th I still have to accumulate some bottles, but I have time. I’m lucky though since 1978 wasn’t bad either. :=)

  4. NadjaG Said,

    Hi alexis2, last year you wrote this. I think I’ve found this great wine now in ebay.de. Hope you read this comment, cause I am interested to buy it as a present for an anniversary for a good friend, who likes good wine, but I do not have any idea, how much to bid for it. Or can someone else give me a help? Thanks! Kind regards, NadjaG

  5. alexis2 Said,

    REPLY:
    Sorry for answering late, was away from the web for some days. Actually you should get such a wine for less than 50 Euro, maybe around 30 Euro. But there is never a guarantee that such an old wine is well conserved, there’s actually a big risk it just turns out to be undrinkable, you have to be lucky. Greets, Alex

  6. NadjaG Said,

    REPLY:
    Hi Alex, thanks for the answer. The Gutenberg is roundabout 31 € at the moment. Maybe I’ll bid for one of the two 1959 Spätlese which are offered by the same guy, so the risk would not be so expensive and it will be a nice anniversary present, too. Thank you for giving me a help to find a decision! Kind regards, NadjaG

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