Rux, Cannstatter Zuckerle, Sauvignon Blanc trocken, 2010
How to start a posting on a topic on which I may have bored half my readership to death, whereas the other half may not even know it exists? Even after a glass or two I haven't worked it out, so you will have to forgive me for this uninspired start. To summarise what I have said on this topic earlier: yes, there is German Sauvignon Blanc, and it brings a lean, mineral and precise elegance to this grape that is just adorable - but there isn't much of it. On the positive side the fact that the grape is rare means that it tends to be grown by vintners who put effort into it, which may explain why my previous encounters have been so enjoyable.
This time I am looking at an SB from Württemberg, my home state in the south west of Germany, and to make it even more unusual it comes from a garage winemaker.
The Rux wine is not necessarily made in the style of the "garagistes" - it simply is a wine made in a garage (although I believe they have now moved to larger premises), by a vintner who wanted to be involved in the whole winemaking process instead of just selling grapes to others. So that's Heike Ruck, who took over part of a vineyard from her grandfather and decided that she would make her own wine from the Cannstatter Zuckerle. That's kinda cool, and the brand that she and her partner Christoph have created matches the background story - I rather like the minimalist label. And the name of the vineyard makes me chuckle, partly as Bad Cannstatt, not far from where I grew up, never sounded cool to me, but also as "Zuckerle" translates to "little piece of sugar", or "little treat" - old German vineyard names are a constant source of amusement for me.
So, a grape variety that I really like in the German style, a nice background story, a cool brand and an amusing vineyard - all boding very well for the wine. Unfortunately I found it hard to be equally excited about the Zuckerle itself. This is not to say that it is a bad wine, but to me it did not quite manage to go all the way it clearly wanted to go. What I love about German Sauvignon Blanc is that it tends, in my experience, to be less in-your-face with its grassy fruitiness, and that is also a characteristic of the Rux. It has character and substance and that has to be a good thing. On the other hand it could almost have done with a little more of the fruit explosion type: on the first day it was a very quiet wine, so quiet that it was not easily recognisable as SB, and also quiet enough to be a little boring. On the second day that changed and some aromas and flavours came out more: grassy herbal aromas, like a herbal meadow with aniseed and gooseberry; mineral citrus, almost a little smoky; cat piss in carpet, but only faint (that's what I get from most SB); blackcurrant. It tasted pretty much as it smelled, with juicy moments and an aniseed mineral finish that wasn't too bad.
So that's all good, a complex wine that needs some time. On the other hand what should be an expressive grape really took an awful lot of time to develop, and quite a bit of analytical dissecting. I also found that the acidity was a little too intense, combined with a certain tartness. So to me it neither had the intensity that you'd associate with more traditional SB nor the balance and greatness to really pull off a different style - it sits somewhere in the middle, but less comfortably than you' hope for. However, I had the feeling that there was more in the wine than even a few days waiting revealed; maybe there was something odd with my sample or maybe the Rux wine just needs a little more experimentation in the garage. Whatever it was, the overall experience was slightly more interesting than truly enjoyable, but also enjoyable and interesting enough for me to keep an eye on Rux.