This week in What’s Decanting we travel to Germany. (Un)Fortunately we stopped ourselves from doing an all Riesling line-up…We start with a Silvaner from Keller, then move to a lip-smacking Mosel Riesling from Ansgar Clüsserath. We go full aromatic with a Gewürztraminer from Schäfer-Fröhlich and finally end with Ziereisen Pinot Noir. Prost!

Keller Silvaner Trocken 2018

We start this week’s selection with a rather interesting varietal named Silvaner. Wines made from Silvaner are wines of style rather than taste, and only really shine at lower yields; unfortunately leading to its unpopularity amongst growers, makers and drinkers. Sometimes overlooked as a neutral, “no taste on its own” vitis vinifera, Silvaner acts as a sponge to its winegrowing conditions (Terroir) and deserves more recognition! Keller’s Silvaner (Reinhessen) is the perfect option for anyone who wants a vibrant, fresh glass of white to have during a sunny lunch. Dry, light, gently earthy, not overtly aromatic with an apple citrus peel acidity; it is moreish and only 11.5%! 

A wine that has texture without compromising on its vibrancy and freshness? Sign us in. 

35-year-old vines from the Steingrube and Bürgel vineyards – so-called ‘younger vines’, at least compared with those for Feuervogel. Very pale. A shock to the system after the Spätburgunders. Has an intense grassy freshness, steely citrus. Juicy, scented on the palate, delicate and beautifully fresh. Only the merest hint of Silvaner’s earthy character – more of an almond-like quality that reminds me of some northern Italian whites. Zesty and full of citrus green-fruited energy. Persistent and mouth-watering. Precise, clean-cut but not simple”.  Julia Harding,

Ansgar Clüsserath ‘Vom Schiefer’ Riesling Trocken 2017

This has to be one of Decanters’ favourite Riesling, since we discovered (guzzled) it with a Japanese feast at last year’s Christmas party. Ansgar Clüsserath is the perfect introduction to Germany’s most popular and unique Riesling growing region: Mosel. 

Pronounced aromas & flavours of citrus – lemon, lemon curd, lime zest, key lime pie – , white blossoms, and intense minerality with classic crushed rocks and slate notes. Great concentration in the mouth with a round, textural and flavoursome palate. This Trocken (Dry) Riesling has a quasi perfect balance between its acid tension and generous mouthfeel. 

We highly recommend watching (without moderation) Ed’s video about Ansgar Clüsserath whilst tasting the wine. 

Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich Gewürztraminer Trocken 2016

We are now in Nahe, one of Germany’s smallest wine regions, where Schäfer-Fröhlich is considered one of the top producers. Even though Riesling wines are the stars of this family owned weingut, their Gewürztraminer has sparked our interest and delivered! It is a dry, refined and elegant wine, even though it has a sledgehammer intensity of aromas and flavours. You can expect all the classic notes quintessential to Gewürztraminer of fresh rose petals, turkish delight, lychees and other exotic fruits, showcased with an incredible purity and carried through a powerful lengthy finish. This is the perfect wine to pair with spicy Asian cuisine or some gooey soft cheeses. 

Worth noting that Schäfer-Fröhlich (as well as Keller, Dr Loosen, Wittmann and many others) is part of the VDP (VDP Die Prädikatsweingüter) ; an association of independent producers who focus on growing and producing in a sustainable manner, wines of exception.

Weingut Ziereisen Blauer Spätburgunder 2016

Is your German rusty? Spätburgunder is a synonym for Pinot Noir. Yes, Germany may be famous for its white wine production but you can find some great reds being made, particularly in the region of Baden. (Side note: climate change is real). 

Ziereisen is an exciting family winery to keep an eye on. They produce interesting organic, unfined and unfiltered Pinot Noir, which are aged for a minimum of 2 years in barrels, made from the property’s forest. 

This Pinot Noir is certainly not a “jubey and pretty” example but rather a rough, tannic, ‘dirty’ and earthy one. Cherries, violets and baking spices are intertwined in a gritty tango. A great compromise between Pinot and Nebb. 

Ziereisen’s estate Spätburgunder is not of the blushing beauty persuasion, but a solid, almost rugged Pinot Noir with plenty of tannic backbone, dark berry fruit and a hint of bitter chocolate. (MS) Michael Schmidt – Jancis Robinson

To finish; Don’t judge Riesling on its RS. 

Want some? 

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Wien regards,