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Weingut Ziereisen, Steingrüble, 2008

Inspired by Simon Jones' Markgräflerland report, I have opened a bottle of this. If you have read it (and if not - why not?), then I don't need to tell you what the Markgräflerland is, nor what Gutedel means, nor who Ziereisen is. With all that competently taken care of, let's dive right in:

The Steingrüble is, like all Ziereisen wines, marketed as "Tafelwein", the lowest designated quality within German wine law. Annoyed by wine bureaucrats who have repeatedly objected to his wines as "regionally atypical" (atypically good, that is), Hanspeter Ziereisen has simply given them up as a bad job, and good riddance too.

Fermented in oak (though not in barriques), this top of the line Gutedel is straw-coloured, smells of ripe apples and pears, a little yeasty, even a little funky flintstone. It has fairly racy acidity as Gutedel goes, which is mild enough from a Riesling perspective, tastes nutty, creamy, with a hint of spicy oak, and a good dose of salty minerality.

The only thing stopping it on its way to Burgundian complexity is the hollowness of the finish, so much so that I was inclined to believe that, in a momentary reversal of the biblical miracle, wine had turned into water. From my very limited experience, this is not a winemaking flaw, but entirely typical for Gutedel wines. Still - and I'm forcing myself to be extra strict with a producer I'm very fond of - this prevents the wine from being truly great. It remains, however, blazingly original and a joy to drink at just 12%. Get hold of a bottle, if you have a chance!

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