This one is for the ladies. Actually, it is not so much for the ladies in general as for my friend Conny who always complains that the Wine Rambler ignores wine from the German region of Franconia, or Franken as we call it. Franken is a Protestant enclave in the north of otherwise Catholic Bavaria. People have a funny accent ('k' comes out like a 'g') and supposedly like robust food and dry wines with the necessary substance to go with it. Did I mention that Conny is from Franconia?
Various grape varieties are grown in Franken, but Silvaner is probably the quintessential Franconian grape variety. It certainly is the most important grape for the Juliusspital winery - they grow it on about 48ha (there are also various other grapes such as Riesling, altogether about 100 ha). Juliusspital is a very old winery, going back to the 1570s when local bishop Julius Echter von Mespelbrunn decided to move into the wine business.
The wine in front of me comes from the Rödelseer Küchenmeister vineyard. 'Küchenmeister' means 'chef' or, literally, 'kitchen master' and it is one of the many German vineyards with funny names that make me happy. I will try to mentioned Rödelseer Küchenmeister as often as possible in this review, in the hope that a few of you Anglo-Saxons out there will try and pronounce it. Please send your MP3s - I might reward you with an invitation to a glass or two of German wine!
Good colour, slightly darkish yellow with quite a few small bubbles in there at first. A somewhat earthy, minerally nose with a bit of elderflower (stronger during the first half hour or so) and some stone fruit - I would be tempted to say peach, but it is not intense or really sweet, in fact the bouquet of the Rödelseer Küchenmeister has something bitter, half-fermented to it. Not unpleasant and round enough not to be too rough (is that a tautology?). A distinctively dry wine, the Rödelseer Küchenmeister has noticeable acidity, some carbonic acid too and a flavoursome, spicy (think spices, not necessarily hot) taste with discreet fruit (pear). I also imagine some muscat in the finish.
For my personal taste, the Rödelseer Küchenmeister is a food wine - it would go nicely with asparagus, for instance. It is not as creamy as some of the white Pinots and not as sophisticated and fruity-fresh as a good Riesling, but still quite well rounded in its own way. I will serve the rest of it to friends tonight with a sage risotto with caramelised apples, I think.
Update: So we have had the last bits of this wine with the risotto and it was really really good - this Silvaner is growing on me and really comes into its own with food. Not bad!