Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Haltinger Chardonnay

Now for something closer to home, from the village of Haltingen situated just north of Basel. "Haltinger Winzer" is the official name of the local wine cooperative. Compared to its peers, this Winzergenossenschaft is relatively small, accounting for around 55 hectares of vineyard. Since Markus Büchin took over the reins in the cellar in 2009, the quality of Haltinger wines has come on in leaps and bounds. Compared to previous times, there now seems to be a much greater focus on expressing the natural characteristics of the grape varieties and plots at their disposal. I also particularly like their website - created and updated by Joachim Ott, a local freelance journalist and photographer.

Haltinger Winzer, Chardonnay trocken 2009, Baden, Germany
In colour, this wine is not too dissimilar to our dining room table from a well-known Swedish furniture store. Happily, the woody influence is a lot more discreet on the nose, translating into yeasty notes that support what are predominantly green apple and starfruit aromas. The general effect is maybe more reminiscent of Chasselas/Gutedel aged in large oak casks than Chardonnay.

On the palate, starfruit is noticeable again along with green melon, grapes and some spicy wooden cask flavours. Mentioning grapes probably seems slightly absurd, but that's what I smelt. Balancing this out are some seriously appley notes. The winemaker evidently didn't wait for the malolactic fermentation to kick in. On the other hand, the spiciness of the wood not only lends this wine ample body and complexity but I daresay quite a sweet-and-sour affinity with Asian cuisine as well.

My wife and I were both unanimous in our appreciation for this Chardonnay. That must be a first.

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