Dr. Heyden, Chardonnay & Weißburgunder, 2009

Dr. Heyden, Chardonnay & Weißburgunder, 2009

After taking a look at Pfalz wines in the last three reviews, time to bring you up to date on Germany's other bread-and-butter region, Rheinhessen. Many german wine drinkers turn there for lower-priced, everyday wines that they order in larger quantity, but don't necessarily talk about the way they would about last weekend's Großes Gewächs or the Mosel Auslese they serve at their own posh dinner party. Everybody has their place of choice - at the moment, mine is Dr. Heyden, whose workhorse wines are carefully made and very dependable, but who also overachieve significantly with their stylish and concentrated old vines-Silvaner and their truly excellent Frühburgunder. In what has become a little tradition, I have been going to see Frank Heyden behind his table at a twice-yearly wine fair in Munich for two years now, both to have a chat and to slip him a follow-up order.

Another wine that he served me there is his Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc cuvée. I liked it there and then. But how will it fare under the cruel light shone on the Wine Rambler's tasting table, where neither friendship nor enmity can hope to sway the incorruptible critic?

Ripe apple and pear in the nose, rather sweet and opulent, with flowery notes and a chalky and yeasty background. Rich and creamy on the palate, honeydew melons, very mild acidity and a dry herbal finish with a hint of bitterness. All very nice, but one thing bothers me: The alcoholic warmth that overwhelms the wine once it warms up ever so slightly in the glass, pulls it out of balance and gives it a somewhat heavy-handed character.

But while I feel this somewhat hampers its qualities as a solo performer, and we downgrade the rating accordingly, it still makes a very respectable and effective companion for food that would simply clobber a more delicate wine. I can especially recommend it with Orecchiette e Broccoli (recipe, at least for german speakers, here).


Submitted by Julian Tuesday, 19/04/2011

I have two follow-up comments to my own posting: One, I am just drinking Dr. Heyden's 2005 "Cuvée Maximus", a Pinot Noir-Merlot blend that is velvety, chocolaty and excellently made. More on that sometime later.
Then, as I reread my frankly lame introduction to this review, the winery's name strikes me painfully as a wasted opportunity to allude to the recent scandal in german politics that cost the popular minister of defence his doctor's degree and his job after he was found to have heavily plagiarized other writers in his doctoral thesis. Ah, the learned observations and wry humour I would have poured into this piece. A pity. I raise my Pinot Noir-Merlot-filled glass to squandered opportunity instead, and to the nicest germanism in the english language, Schadenfreude.

Submitted by torsten Wednesday, 20/04/2011

In reply to by Julian

That would have made an interesting way to start a wine review, I am sure. I am not certain whether learned observations are the right thing to have with a Chardonnay-Pinot Blanc blend, but I want more of them in wine writing!