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

Wein- und Sektgut Harteneck, Weißer Burgunder "Geigenmantel", 2008

Posted by Julian 26 May 2012

Pinot Blanc. Currently 50th grape variety in the order of acreage planted worldwide. Often seen as Chardonnays less expressive brother. And one of Germany's most reliably satisfying grapes. Most British wine lovers, and indeed most of them around the world, primarily associate this grape with Alsace, a connection that won't be easily challenged (we have tried before). To prove that Germany can indeed do outstanding Pinot Blanc could seem an uphill battle, therefore, but in fact it's the easiest task in the world, as we can let wonderful German Pinot Blancs prove it for us (and get to drink them into the bargain).

With the Harteneck winery of Baden's Markgräflerland subregion, this task is also in very steady hands:

Their single-vineyard Pinot Blanc brings a fairly dark, rich straw colour, almost bordering on gold, to the glass. Nice. The smell is simply wonderful, reminiscent of ripe mirabelles (both fresh and baked on a cake), flowers, ripe honeydew melons, with hints of honey and petroleum ripeness. Rich without being obnoxious.
On the palate, wonderfully ripe fruit, still elegant and lively, with pleasant acidity and minerality that gets more intensive over time and with more air, to the point where it became so rich that I found myself overpowered, having liked it better fresh out of the bottle. A touch of almonds and biscuit dough to round it up, but not without some zesty and spicy components as well.

This must be one of the most naturally beautiful Pinot Blancs I've ever had, balanced and quietly intense. I would love to set this up against the very best Alsace can come up with, not out of some stupid patriotism, but to see where it really stands. For the time being and until proven wrong, my bet would be on it. In the end, it proved almost a little too complex for the white asparagus we had it with, but we can't very well hold that against it.