Tuesday, 19 July 2011

No frills

As its Wikipedia entry explains, Kwik Save was a supermarket chain in the UK which went bust in 2007. I remember frequently going to our local Kwik Save on St David's Road South in St Annes as a young lad to do errands for my mother back in the 80s and early 90s. As a grumpy teenager, I was never that enamoured at the prospect, but it was preferable to going hungry.

In some ways, Kwik Save was the pre-emptive British answer to Lidl and Aldi (in the days before these two German powerhouses annexed the UK discounter segment). The shopping experience at Kwik Save was like no other. I'll always remember the functional shop fittings, the seemingly endless supplies of digestive biscuits and Hob Nobs, and their ubiquitous "No Frills" range.

Now, if there is a local winemaker for whom "no frills" might be a fitting tag, it would be Hermann Dörflinger of the eponymous Dörflinger Winery in Müllheim/Baden. It was Dörflinger's father who - much like the father of his famous Pfalz counterpart Hansjörg Rebholz - refused to ride the crest of the wave of cheap and nasty pap in the 1960s and continued fermenting his wines to dryness. Back then, contemporaries belittled Dörflinger's wines as tasting "sour"; it was only in the 1980s when people began appreciating dry wines again that the winery started getting the recognition it deserved.

I would say that Dörflinger's wines have "no frills" in sense that they exhibit utter clarity. Being fermented often right down to bone-dryness but remaining relatively light in alcohol, they have a very transparent, linear personality. They never leave you satiated after a glass or two, but instead encourage you to continue quaffing. That's always a good thing in my book.

The following wine is a case in point.

Weingut Hermann Dörflinger, Müllheimer Reggenhag Weissburgunder Kabinett trocken 2010, Baden
Light straw-yellow colour with yellow apple and cinnamon crumble on the nose. The palate is completely dry but with an underlying fruit character that shines through. Again, yellow apple emerges, along with pear. The overriding impression is one of freshness, and there is a subtle carbon dioxide tingle that accentuates this feeling on the finish. I wouldn't say that this wine is jaw-droppingly complex, but it is pure and exceedingly drinkable (edit: that was until a pesky fruit fly crash-landed in my glass).

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