This bottle of wine is a kind of poetic justice for the bottle that had some unwanted fermentation in the bottle last week. You could also say karma. I actually like to look in wine shops wherever we are. I’m interested in the assortment, I’m interested in how the shops look, sometimes there is delicious cheese to buy and secretly I hope of course with every step through the door for an unexpected treasure. This bottle of Alte Reben from Huber is exactly such a find. A few weeks ago we were in Herrenberg for the weekend and in the Weinhaus Alte Brennerei at the very back, in the last corner of the vaulted cellar, at the very bottom of the shelf I think to myself that I know that label. And then there are still a few bottles of Alte Reben from 2014 for 35 euros. I just had to buy one of them. Okay, buy two of them. Since we were only traveling with a small backpack and public transport, that was the maximum available carrying capacity that day and so someone else has the opportunity for a surprise find, because a few bottles were still on the shelf. Or someone from you buys it now without being surprised. That takes away some of the joy, of course. A three-year younger vintage we had last year already and I was pretty impressed then, so that the anticipation can at least measure up to that of last week. The wine itself lies for 18 months in barrique with about 70 % new barrels.
The tiny residual doubt that this could also be nothing is gone in the first few seconds. It smells cozy soft and intense of cherries. There are some roasted aromas and some ethereal notes. This cozy nose is deceptive, however, because what rolls towards the palate in terms of acidity and freshness is pretty enormous. The cherry fruit also comes along, paired with a lot of juiciness. More cherry juice than wine in some sips. The tannin has either almost completely melted away or was never really there. Fur on the tongue is nowhere to be found anyway. With every sip drunk, the nose becomes spicier, more complex and deeper at the same time. Maybe I should go back to Herrenberg myself. This bottle is definitely great.
Both the ethereal notes and the earthy, slightly smoky become more overnight. The fruit is still clearly present, but now much harder to nail down. There is such a soft, dark mix of berries and cherries. Still a feel-good wine when you stick your nose in the glass. The tannin seems to have woken up in the refrigerator and now provides at least something like a frame of texture around the crisp acidity. The better half says it smells like conifers and the Black Forest, which would not be far from Kaiserstuhl after all. There is a bit of red tea on the tongue, some hibiscus and more juiciness. I like very much how this balance of complexity, sophistication and juicy simplicity comes together here. It’s so fresh that I never would have thought that the vintage was already 9 years in the past. You could think it has just started to ripen. And yet time has certainly contributed a lot to how it smells now, how round it is now, how balanced it is. I think it could lie for many more years somewhere in the back corner of a vaulted cellar and collect dust and maybe get even better while doing so. And then someone can find a treasure again right there.