Weingut Friedhelm Rinklin, Eichstettener Herrenbuck, Grauburgunder Kabinett trocken, 2011

Weingut Friedhelm Rinklin, Eichstettener Herrenbuck, Grauburgunder Kabinett trocken, 2011

I was in Freiburg recently for the wonderful occasion of the baptism of my niece. During the church service, the vicar who celebrated it at some point asked the congregation to join him in a prayer of interecession for the responsible production of healthy and sustainable food. Nothing wrong with that (I fervently joined in that prayer), but surely typical of that corner of the country, as it boasts the oldest organic food producers, highest density of organic anything stores and highest level of general relaxed left-liberal getting-it-right-iness in all of Germany. Small wonder that organic winemaking in the Kaiserstuhl sub-region of Baden, just an hour's bicycle ride away from Freiburg, also has deeper roots than elsewhere and is often into its second or even third generation.

Friedhelm Rinklin, a card-carrying founding member of the organic wine movement in Germany, also has basically done this forever. As early as 1955 already, his father had made the switch to biodynamic winemaking. I imagine that his son looks at those who discover organic wine growing just now with nothing but an ever so slightly raised eyebrow. Does his basic-range, very reasonably prices Pinot Gris exude the same wisdom and experience?

It exudes sweetish fruit notes, first of all, pickled pumpkin, honeydew melon, some orange and some nougat. On the palate, more of the sweet, if subdued fruit, with nutty traces, mild acidity, a slight bitterness and also a - to my palate at least - somewhat unfortunate fleeting soapiness on the finish.

I was not blown away by this wine, although there wasn't anything remotely wrong with it, nothing not to like. It was, somewhat underwhelmingly, fine. I just didn't feel it. Maybe it was in an awkward mood that day, maybe I was. Maybe the prayers of Freiburgers had already been answered as far as divinely possible. That is okay, of course.


Submitted by S.M. Saturday, 30/03/2013

Hi Julian

So sorry to hear the wine didn't live up to your expectations, but Baden wine can be like that at times. Especially with Grauburgunder you can get lucky or be rather unlucky depending on the producer and the vintage.

I've found Bischoffinger Enselberg or Der Botzinger are fairly reliable for the most part, they aren't great occasion wines. But for easy drinking, every day wines they are pretty alright.

Always nice to hear about one's hometown, even if the wine bottle in questions doesn't quite make it! :-)


Solomon Mengeu

Submitted by Julian Thursday, 04/04/2013

In reply to by S.M.

Many thanks for your comment, Solomon. I think the world needs these wines as well, just like everybody needs a hometown (Freiburg is my sister's family's, but I think that counts).
Cheers, Julian

Submitted by Alexander Eichener Monday, 01/07/2013

Like many German wine regions, Baden is unduly complex. Even the surroundings of Freiburg show strikingly different styles and characteristics.

What most (no, replace that by "all") foreign observers fail to notice and to assess, is the extremely high quality of many of the cooperatives around here (and not just the Kaiserstuhl cooperatives). Many of them easily attain and surpass VDP level in their top wines, but at a decidedly lower price. Outstanding is the quality and individuality (!) of the wines made in the mega-factory of the Badischer Winzerkeller, Germany's largest cooperative cellar. They work for the number of cooperatives that do not have an own cellar.

Specifically as to Eichstetten, its mini-cooperative makes surprisingly good reds, notably Dornfelder and even Regent (gasp!) of a quality otherwise unheard of in Germany, where both grapes tend to satisfy the cheaper tastes. Another red one from the smaller local Eichstetten wine estate Weishaar was a gift from the police academy (with befitting official label) and was very nice too (Gault-Millau 13,5-14, I would say).