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Ziereisen, Heugumber 2010

Christmas lies behind us, the new year hasn't quite started yet - it is the supposedly quiet time "zwischen den Jahren", or between the years as the Germans say. It is the time when memories and hangovers of heavy Christmas food and wine are still close enough to feel physical, and yet New Year's eve calls with classy Champagne and another set of booze-heavy parties.

In short, it is a good time to leave the heavy, deep, expensive, mindblowing wines behind and think about lighter alternatives that don't lack the enjoyment factor. Enter Hanspeter Ziereisen's Heugumber.

Ziereisens are not only lovely, down-to-earth people, they also make a range of very interesting wines at different price points. Heugumber is made from the local grape variety Gutedel (literally "good noble"), which is internationally better known as Chasselas. It is mostly grown in Switzerland and bordering regions in France and Germany, in particular the Markgräflerland in the German south west where Ziereisens are based. As is typical for Gutedel the Ziereisen wine is made in a dry style, in 30% stainless steel and 70% big wooden barrels; it also spent six month on lees.

There is indeed a touch of yeast on the nose, but the overall impression is more fresh than substanial - cool stone fruit, hay, flowers, citrus and a touch of mineral. The citrus freshness with a pronounced but pleasantly integrated acidity also features on the tongue, but despite the crisp lightness the wine feels round and is very pleasant to drink. There is a nice touch of nut aromas and texture here and a hint of green vegetable - think spinach with a good amount of iron minerality.
In short, it is a perhaps not overly complex but very likeable wine with a good balance between round and fresh and at a very attractive price point. Just about the right thing to freshen up between Christmas and New Year's eve, or for starting 2013 in a lighter way.

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