Some wines are good, some wines are bad, some are exceptional. And then there are the wines that are special because they have a story to tell. When I discovered today's wine on the shelves of London wine shop The Winery I was already certain that I was looking at a wine with a story. What I did not know was that this Franconian gem would be willing to share it with us.
Maybe we start with the question of why we got so interested in a dusty old bottle with a funny purple cap. Well, for starters because it was just that, a dusty old bottle with an unusual purple cap. It did not only look old-fashioned, it also was quite old, almost twenty-five years old, in fact. Aged wine is always an adventure - sometimes even a gamble on whether you have waited too long or just caught it at the right time. Under the label good ol' boys we have so far only looked at aged red wines and Riesling, the white variety that probably has the best potential for ageing. And here we were, starring at a twenty-five year old Silvaner, the signature grape of the German wine region of Franken (Franconia, about two hours north of Munich). We have been championing this often underrated variety for a while, but we never had the change to try a really old Silvaner.
Well before reaching twenty-five years of age most wines turn to vinegar. Not many wines are really worth keeping for more than a couple of years. Some last five to ten years, but only a tiny minority will make it beyond. With the exception of a few first class wines, sweet Riesling among them, not many wines are drinkable, far less enjoyable at the age of twenty-five. And yet here we are looking at a Silvaner, an often underestimated variety, of this age - does it still deliver?
Right from the start, the Franconian Silvaner impressed us with an intense, very clear golden colour that still had hints of green (which is often said to be a sign of a younger wine). It certainly looked beautiful and also as if it could comfortably age a few years more.
I just received this email from the guys at The Winery - go, if you have a chance, as they are both fun and knowledgeable:
Last week’s German Riesling module sold out so quickly we had to schedule a second one for next month.
You are invited to The Winery Wine Course on Tuesday 25th August, in which we will be focusing on the glories of German Riesling.
We will be exploring variations and nuances of different regions such as the Mosel, Rheingau and Nahe.
We will revel in its transparent expression of terroir – the steep slate slopes of the Mosel or the softer inclines of the historic Rheingau.
So here I sit, listening to Billy Bragg and Wilco, waiting for a Riesling to reach drinking temperature, and I am really pleased with this French red. The winery, Domaine les Filles de Septembre, was named after the four daughters of wine makers Françoise and Roland Géraud. And Delphine is one of the four. If she is anything like this cuvée of Syrah and Carignan, she must be lovely indeed. [read the full post...]
In June 2008, London was invaded by Germans. Twice. And I was in the thick of it. It all started with an announcement by the guys from The Winery, one of my favourite London wine shops:
Ryanair allowing, two growers from the Mosel will be joining us for the evening, each top of their stylistic trees, masters of their dangerously steep slopes, each with global reputations. Clemens Busch, the dry Riesling guru from Punderich and Theo Haart, the fruity Riesling specialist from Piesport.