You've had to wait unusually long since the last review, so we owe you something nice. How does a bottle of Germany's most underestimated grape variety sound? Silvaner, and our more regular readers are rolling their eyes heavenward at this point, is Germany's second great signature grape and it deserves to be more widely known as King Riesling's earthier, less capricious brother. Needless to say, we love it. As opposed to Riesling, Silvaner is almost always dry, and it comes in two broad stylistic types: Lighter, crisper, Kabinett-style bottlings, tasting of fresh green apples and summer lawns, and then the richer, creamier, earthier style from riper grapes that give you yellow apples, deep minerality and plush weight such as dry Riesling seldom has.
This offering by the Störrlein winery, consistently good among Franken's producers, falls into the second type:
Despite the surprisingly light colour, a deep smell of freshly cut vegetables (celery, parsnips) with apple sauce poured over them, and sweet pumpkin preserves. Sounds strangely enticing? Welcome to Silvaner world. Very rich and ripe on the palate, with typically low acidity, pear-like fruit that builds up elegant, creamy intensity, edged around with nutmeg spiciness. There is something of a vegetal, mineral bite, too, that gives the wine back some of the liveliness that is lost by not having more acidic presence. Finally, a chalky finish that would be reminiscent of a chlorine sting if it were more prominent, and not cushioned so well by the rich pear fruit.
Among the unsung glories of high-end Silvaner is its amazing ageing potential (see our report on a bottle from 1985 that was more than up to scratch), and this one, too, has ripened and rounded out without any recognisably mature aromatics.
An autumnal style of white, we had it with mushrooms, which complimented its earthiness wonderfully well, but I think it would also make a great companion for a curried pumpkin soup, that slot having been filled by Dr. Heyden's old vines Silvaner for several years now chez Mr. Munich Wine Rambler. This wine's season is clearly from September to November, but with all of its ageing potential still left in the bottle, it doesn't have to be September to November of this year.
A wine to drink while waiting for Oktoberfest to go by. That being said, I'm inclined to view Oktoberfest more fair-mindedly this year: I could do without the contents of Australians' stomachs on public transport, but friends went and brought us a blue gingerbread heart, so Oktoberfest and me are even for this year. What kind of cynical, beer-festival-hating misanthropist doesn't like a blue gingerbread heart?