Weingut Salwey, Oberrotweiler Eichberg, Grauburgunder GG, 2008
This is a story of failure and sloppiness. My failure and sloppiness, I hasten to add - no such crime was committed by the Salweys. In fact the Baden winemaking family have done everything right. Not only did they make a substantial, interesting Grauburgunder (internationally better known as Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio), they also shipped a bottle of it in the most timely manner when a few years ago I put an order in with them. Since then it waited for a special occasion.
And when the occasion came I failed it - by accidentally deleting the photo I had taken before I did my backup, and then only realising this when the bottle was on the way to the recycling plant. So blame me, but please do read on.
Earlier this year I visited my friends Mike and Anna in the Netherlands and traditionally I bring some German wine along. As we had covered Riesling I felt something more unusual was due and German Pinot Gris/Grigio is less well known, especially the more robust and complex style you find in regions like Baden. The Salwey family are very good with these wines (and Pinot Blanc too!), so their Grauburgunder from the Oberrotweiler Eichberg seemed like a good choice.
The colour was relatively dark for a white wine, almost amber, which concerned me a little as previously several Salwey wines died prematurely because of cork issues. The Eichberg was fine though, just a little oxidised - it smelled of ripe fruit, honeydew melon, pear, nut - almost nut oil - and also vanilla and spicy wood. Oxidised flavours, melon and spicy wood also featured on the tongue, together with a touch of cough liquid. Drinking it was an interesting experience as it started off relatively creamy, oxidised; suddenly felt very fresh and finished with an almost sweet touch. I also enjoyed the faint echo of minerality in the background. The Grauburgunder still had a good presence; from the amount of freshness that was still in there I would conclude that had been stored better (2.5 years in my wardrobe) it would probably have been better still, but I certainly liked the more mature, oxidised character.