Saturday, 5 December 2009


Local winemakers Claus and Susanne Schneider, from Weil am Rhein, are currently on the up and up thanks to their wonderful Pinot Noir. However, they also make great white wines. This is what I wrote about them in my old blog:
"Their range of wines covers Spätburgunder, Gutedel, Weissburgunder, Grauburgunder and Chardonnay, but thanks to the chalky soil of the Weiler Schlipf vineyard, it's the Burgundy varietals which you could call their specialities. Steep limestone slopes - very reminiscent of Burgundy terroir - and a favourable climate lend both reds and whites tremendous elegance and minerally character. The wines also offer great value for money."

Johanniter is a relatively new grape varietal (a cross-breed between Riesling, Ruländer (Pinot Gris), Gutedel and Sayve-Villard). An absolute rarity. Weingut Schneider are responsible for the only bottling from this grape I've come across.

Weingut Schneider, 2008 Weiler Johanniter Kabinett trocken
Muted opening on the nose. Immediately, though, this wine shows the characteristic which seems to run through the Schneider collection like a golden thread: minerality. This sensation is particularly intense in the white wines. The aromas gradually take on a vegetative nature but there is also a discernable squeeze of lime (must be the Riesling part of the cross-breed!). Bone dry with furry, mildly bitter tannins on the palate - a pithy citrus pip taste, but not unpleasant at all, I hasten to add. I've noticed this in other Schneider white wines and, I must say, I like it. I give the wine more air, and pure citrus fruit now emerges from the ever-present, crushed chalky limestone rock. There is a lovely purity about this wine. I try to make comparisons with other, more common single-varietal wines, but it's hard to pin down. Maybe there's even some likeness to Weissburgunder, albeit a Pinot Blanc without the creaminess and of a more refreshing style. In any case, it's very much a food wine, and was a perfect match with the salmon, broccoli, spuds and carrots I cooked this evening.

Very good indeed.

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