TheWineRambler "A German wine label is one of the things life's too short for" - Kingsley Amis



Christian Reiterer, Engelweingarten Alte Reben, Schilcher, 2011

Posted by Julian 21 Aug 2012

Another Austrian wine on the Wine Rambler? Really? Can our national pride and the expectations of our Germanophile readership sustain this Austrian double whammy? They will have to, because the world needs to know about this, the best rosé I've had for months, no make that years, straight away. The way things are going, lives could be lost to summery languor otherwise.

Ever heard of Schilcher? You have now. Schilcher [1] is a regional speciality of Austria's Steiermark region. Rosés made exclusively from the indigenous Blauer Wildbacher grape, these wines are distinguished by prominent acidity and unusually intensive red and black berry fruit. They are never particularly subtle and they can be rustic to the point of rudeness, but they are rarely bland.

Christian Reiterer's winery has specialised in Schilcher, producing them in different quality levels and in single vineyard bottlings such as this. Strawberry red colour (Mrs. Munich Wine Rambler: "Campari Red"), a nice change from the copper and salmon of most rosés. This I love, but the smell of fresh red and black currants, fields of strawberries and freshly crushed leaves I need. It gets better on the palate, as this wine's acidity grips you and the fruit leaves a coating of cassis all over your mouth. This is incredibly fruity, but, importantly, in no way artificial or candy-like. In fact the fruit is as bone dry, earthy and insanely delicious as freshly picked currants from my grandfather's back garden. A summer wine extraordinary. Am I aware that the rating below is by no means justified by this wine's objective qualities, but rather an expression of the pure enjoyment felt drinking it at an unrepeatable moment in time? Yes I am, and as the German phrase has it: "Eben drum".

I should not end this review without quoting you the claim (blurb? mission statement?) on the bottom of the back label, the most effective of its kind I have yet read:

Ich versuche auf all meinen Gebieten das Beste zu machen. Dies ist mein Wein. Ihr Christian Reiterer

I try to do my best in all areas. This is my wine. Yours truly, Christian Reiterer

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Spoken like a man who knows his own worth as saviour of wine lovers' heat-parched throats. Go Christian.

[1] There is a vaguely similar-sounding kind of rosé, mainly from Württemberg, called "Schiller" or "Schillerwein". Mostly, it consists of an inert mixture (!) of red and white wines. Stay clear.