2005 Herbert Messmer Schlossgarten Spaetburgunder Grosses Gewaechs (Pfalz, Germany, 14% abv). 100% Pinot Noir. Ripe plum, black cherry, nutmeg and spicy cinnamon on the nose, made all the more intense by mentholated notes of graphite and licorice as this begins to air out. The palate is sheer finesse, though the whack of cool-climate acidity keeps this from being categorically 'elegant'. There is a slight hint of tannin, but at the moment it's consumed by a broad mouth-coating array of vibrant, rich, palate-staining cran- and blackberry-cherry fruit, framed by piquant notes of slaty minerality and resiny but integrated oak.
A delightful wine, full of grace, but equally full of hubris. A tasteful wine, both in terms of civility and sensorially, but at 25 Euro I dare say there may be (read: 'are') better examples of Pinot Noir in this vintage at a more agreeable price point. I hope that last statement is read for its honesty, not for some relative assessment of quality. All things considered, even with one bottle left, I'd never be ashamed to share this at the breaking of bread with some distinguished guests.