German wine - wine basics
Spätlese, too, may be consumed young, but it is likely to be enjoyable even five to ten years after bottling. The higher grades - the Auslese types - are usually longer-lived, generally reaching their peak when they are from seven to ten years old.
With good storage, they will continue at their best for many years thereafter. Wines from the Rheingau often take a few more years to reach their full perfection, while other Rhine wines - from Rheinhessen, Pfalz, Nahe - tend to mature a bit faster.
The Riesling wines of Mosel-Saar-Ruwer are among the the most delicate of German wines. The lesser grades from this region should be consumed sooner than Rhine wines. If you decide to buy wine for ageing, it is wise to try one bottle before purchasing a case. It is also a good idea to sample your stored wines from time to time so that they don't grow old without your knowledge.