Sunday, 20 February 2011

Siamese eagle

Fritz Keller is a busy man.

Son of the late Franz, who founded the eponymous Franz Keller winery, he not only makes wine but also oversees operations at the adjoining Schwarzer Adler ("Black Eagle") restaurant. And that's not all: he has been heavily involved in running German Bundesliga club SC Freiburg for a good many years and was recently officially voted in as the club's new chairman - succeeding the late Achim Stocker.

In terms of wine, Fritz also entered the world of cheap 'n' cheerful a couple of years ago, with the launch of his own "Edition Fritz Keller" range for Aldi - an admirable if somewhat left-field move, if you ask me. What is certain is that it caused quite a furore.

The Aldi range has been covered sufficiently elsewhere on the web; instead, the following wine is from Herr Keller's main wine estate selection.

What struck me from the outset was the wine label. The black "siamese eagle" emblem in the middle with golden sword, staff and crown is very impressive and very German. In fact, I would go out on limb here and challenge anyone who can present me with a more German-looking label. I actually quite like it. In a parallel world, you could almost imagine it lining up in midfield for the Germany in the "Wine World Cup". (And as Gary Lineker once said, football is all about 22 players in shorts running after a ball, and in the end the Germans win.)

Anyway, the wine...

Weingut Franz Keller, Oberbergener Bassgeige Grauburgunder QbA trocken 2009
"Bassgeige" is German for "double bass", which apparently refers to what the shape of the vineyard in question used to look like before it was reparcelled in the 1960s and 70s.

Straw in appearance with red-goldish reflexes. On the nose, cloudy honey, smoky notes, mirabelle and roasted peanuts. Medium bodied on the palate, with further smokiness and a slightly roasted characteristic. Having said this, the wine is refreshing yet has some gravitas and succulence. The finish is minerally and long. In terms of enjoyment and quality, this Grauburgunder is neck and neck with the Bercher Weissburgunder. In general, "WBs" always seem to edge it for me over "GBs". Nevertheless, I'm very much taken by this wine's bone-dry elegant style.

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