Sunday, 11 May 2014


Back in early February, I was lucky enough to visit Weingut Franz Keller in Oberbergen with a group of friends. Nestled snugly betwixt the volcanic vineyard terraces of the Kaiserstuhl, the new winery building there is a sight to behold. After being shown around the premises, we tasted some of the wines. "Alas, no Gutedel," we joked my friends and I belong to the self-styled "Gutedelstammtisch", a convivial gathering of lads who convene every second Tuesday in Binzen over Gutedel and good food, work permitting. We followed our tasting session with lunch at the Rebstock, an afternoon at the football (Freiburg 1-1 Hoffenheim), then an evening at the Rebstock again. It was a fabulous if not entirely sober day.

One of the things I said to myself thereafter was that I need to drink more wines from the white Pinot varietals, i.e. Weissburgunder, Grauburgunder and dare I say the dreaded Chardonnay. From this admittedly narrow varietal-centric perspective, I would say that Weissburgunder is my personal favourite of those three. When my wife and I had the pleasure of meeting Barry Fowden back in September last year, I remember my fellow wine blogger saying to me that he had never really warmed that much to the old "Pinot Bianco". I can't recall his exact words, but I know he was slightly underwhelmed by wines from that variety. I appreciate where he's coming from. I, for one, have experienced a certain "sameness" bordering on tedium in certain WBs over the years. On the other hand, other Weissburgunders have been a revelation, none more so recently than this one:

Weingut Ziereisen, Weißer Burgunder trocken 2012, Baden, Germany
Vivid beige in appearance. The impression on the nose is quite unique. Intense peppery notes that are reminiscent of Grüner Veltliner. Smelt blind, I might not have identified this as a Weissburgunder. Citrus, juicy peach and yoghurt play a succulent supporting role. Over time, I can also make out a herbal, savoury characteristic. It takes me a while to pinpoint the aroma, but I eventually conclude that there is something here akin to ... liverwurst.

On the palate, the citrus, peach and pepper form a congenial triumvirate. The result is highly refreshing. I also love the extra complexity and savouriness undoubtedly generated by cask-ageing and spontaneous fermentation. This has heaps of what the French call buvabilité, i.e. it is extremely drinkable. For nine euros, an absolute bargain. And just to stress: this is one of Ziereisen's more basic estate wines. I would recommend this wine to anyone.

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