Knipser, Gelber Orleans trocken, 2008

Knipser, Gelber Orleans trocken, 2008

Oh no, the Wine Rambler does yet-another-of-those-obscure-German-grape-varieties, I hear you say? And the answer is, you bet! This one is very obscure indeed - now that is. In the 19th century "Orleans" was reasonably popular in Germany (where its history goes back to the 12th century), but eventually this very late ripening variety was superseded by Riesling and pretty much forgotten. So much so, that it had to be recultivated in the 1980s and there are only a few producers who grow Orleans now, and in tiny quantities.

The leader of the pack appears to be the Knipser family from the Pfalz who produce both substantial Orleans in (dry) Auslese quality and lighter ones like this one. I opened the "trocken" (dry) Orleans for wine-loving English friends who had not even heard of Orleans before.

The colour is relatively intense, especially for what you might expect from a German white wine with 11% ABV. The nose is a little more reserved and took a while to unleash its aromas. Orleans can age very well, in fact some of the last surviving bottles of the 1920 and 1921 vintage were still found to be drinkable 70 years later - so this wine may be a candidate for a couple of years in the cellar or at least a date with our friend, Mr Decanter. With a little time, the Orleans reveals a cool and deep bouquet of peach, pineapple, pear, melon and lime, enhanced with a hint of coconut and flowery aromas, almost like rose water. Don't imagine this as an exuberant fruit explosion; it is still a cool, very fresh and a little reserved wine, but scented with lovely fruit aromas.

On the tongue the Orleans has a good balance between a light freshness and some substance - a slightly oily texture and lots of fresh acidity come together quite nicely with juicy moments (stone fruit), fresh lemon and lime, a hint of exotic fruit and memories of camomile tea. All ends in in mineral finish with a sharp edge.

An unusual white with a definitive Teutonic touch, but also much fresh fruit, I can only recommend Orleans to all wine lovers. It comes at a reasonable price too - IF you can find one...


Submitted by Alex Friday, 26/08/2011

I will look out for this one since I never had the grape. Sounds quite intriguing. Teutonic touch as well sounds intriguing. :P

Submitted by torsten Friday, 26/08/2011

In reply to by Alex

Oh, it can be outright fantastic. I had an Orleans Auslese. from Knipser a while ago and was blown away by how good it was. Next I need to try Orleans from other producers. Oh, and should you happen to be in London, I have 2003, 2005 and 2009 Orleans from Knipser here...