August 7, 2019

Minimum-Maximin

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I have been a fan of the rieslings from Weingut Maximin Grünhaus for more than a decade, and I've drunk more riesling from them than any other winery in Germany, so when their local importer Fine Wine Experience arranged a dinner with the 6th generation winemaker Maximin von Schubert, I didn't hesitate to sign up for the event at Kin's Kitchen (留家廚房).

It was good to have Maximin here, as he told us about the history of the winery, the different vineyard plots, and of course many finer details regarding the wines and the vintages.

2016 Maximin Grünhauser Abstberg Kabinett Auktion - a bit of honey, flint, polyurethane.  Actually a bit sweeter than I expected, but still has a good balance of acidity mid-palate.  Quite a long finish.

Deep fried golden coin with crab meat (金錢蟹盒) - a wonder way to start dinner, and always delicious when it's done well.  Unfortunately there wasn't much coordination between the kitchen and the service staff, who should have informed Chef Chun Lau that Maximin was still in the middle of his introduction of the winery.  As a result the chef had to stand there like an idiot for a while, waiting for the right moment to serve and introduce the dish.

Sandwiched between two layers of deep-fried pork lard was a combination of crab meat, scallops, shrimp, salted egg yolk, and what may have been crab eggs.  It's too bad that the dish had gotten a little cold by the time we could taste it...

King prawn with minced pork and button mushrooms in Portuguese sauce (鴛鴦蝦) - a curious dish.  The head and the empty shell has been stuffed with diced mushrooms, onions and pork in Portuguese sauce (葡國汁), then breaded and deep-fried.  The tail itself came with julienned carrots, celery, and ham.  The rich and delicious sauce was made by adding butter to chicken jus...

2015 Maximin Grünhauser Abstberg Kabinett Auktion - more honey on the nose, more orange blossom, with flint.  Shorter on the finish.   A little later it was much bigger on the attack, some petrol, along with a bigger and slightly more punchy nose.  The last drops were pretty big and showy on the palate, but the finish was still short.

1986 Maximin Grünhauser Abstberg Spätlese - huge, punchy nose, with polyurethane and some lemon.  Very clean, rounded but dry on the palate, almost like eating muscat grapes, with a hint of straw.  At the end there was still lemon, and a hint of savory notes.  Still got the polyurethane.

Deep-fried pigeon with leek (京蔥炸乳鴿) - the pigeon was cooked sous vide first before being deep-fried.  Unfortunately the breast was a tad overcooked.  I did taste the distinctive flavors of Chinese alcohol like Mei Kuei Lu (玫瑰露), which was pretty nice.

Braised winter melon with termite mushrooms and pickled chilis (野山椒欖菜雞㙡菌炆冬瓜) - this was a nice dish.  Winter melon is always good, although its cooling effects were somewhat negated by the use of pickled chilis that added some kick.  The termite mushrooms (雞㙡菌) were OK, but the preserved olive and mustard leaves (欖菜) did more in terms of adding flavors.

2017 Maximin Grünhauser Abstberg Auslese Auktion - nose was so much more intense and a bit pungent, and really really ripe, with tropical notes like stone fruit, and a little flinty.  Pretty sweet on the palate for sure, big and powerful.  Didn't really smell like riesling...  This was the first harvest for vines planted by Maximin, with yields of 300L/ha and small berries.  300 bottles made.

2015 Maximin Grünhauser Abstberg Spätlese Auktion - leaner on the nose, with petrol.  Later sweeter and floral.

2018 Maximin Grünhauser Abstberg Auslese Fuder 89 - this was really young, very, very ripe on the nose, and lots of flint with tropical stone fruit like peaches.  Very sweet on the palate, like muesli with dried fruits.  So ripe, hot, and alcoholic that it seemed almost Alsatian.  Residual sugar around 125g/L.

Stir-fried porcini mushrooms with pork neck (牛肝菌炒豬頸肉) - ho-hum.  There seemed to be some presence of herbs like rosemary or thyme in the pork.  No likey.

Fried rice with ganbajun mushrooms (乾巴菌炒飯) - ganbajun (乾巴菌) has an intense, almost fermented flavor that I love, but unfortunately there was just too little of it here.  Fortunate, I know from experience that riesling (or perhaps just wine?) can greatly magnify those flavors.  Those pine nuts were nice, though.

2011 Maximin Grünhauser Herrenberg Auslese Fuder 15 - a lot of plastic and polyurethane, with some petrol... and almost smelled like insecticide spray... Sweet on the palate but not much on the finish.  Later on showed some honey and pollen.

2011 Maximin Grünhauser Abstberg Auslese Fuder 87 - totally different from the Herrenberg.  Smelled like the smoke rising from the wick of a candle that had just been extinguished... or gun powder.  Much sweeter on the nose but also some bitterness.  Later showed polyurethane and the smokiness faded.  Some orange blossom water on the palate, and the finish was much longer.

2006 Maximin Grünhauser Abstberg Auslese Fuder 45 - more pungent and stinky, with animal notes.  More acidity here, with a very long finish.  A little bitter on the palate, and love the acidity.  Showed much more character.  A great wine.

Poached pears with almond soup - not too sweet.  Nice and elegant.

1993 Maximin Grünhauser Abstberg Eiswein Fuder 190 - so rich, with lots of marmalade, definitely botrytis, honey, flinty, a little savory.  Rich on the palate, but surprisingly (to me) with piercing acidity through the unctuous, viscous wine.  Later showed caramelized notes like a crème brûlée and cane sugar.  Residual sugar about 50-60g/L.

1989 Maximin Grünhauser Abstberg Trockenbeerenauslese, from half bottle - nose was a little muted, with some honey pollen.  Some depth on the palate, a little bitter.  Certainly richer and more viscous, with marmalade, a hint of dried apricots.  Definitely still acidity here and quite high, but not at the level of eiswein.  Probably above 200g/L of residual sugar.


Really, really happy I came to dinner tonight. As a long-time fan of the winery, it was interesting to have had the opportunity to try out the best bottlings - especially from the younger vintages, since my collection consists mostly of vintages before 2000.  Come to think of it, it's probably time to replenish my stock...

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