I’ve always tended to be slightly indifferent when it comes to Silvaner. Aside from the fact that those traditionally shaped Bocksbeutel bottles from the grape’s heartland of Franconia are as visually alluring to me as a bottle of cheap Lambrusco, I’ve found it hard in the past to ‘immerse’ myself in a grape that, at least on first impression, lacked the thrill of Riesling or other varietals for that matter. Besides – and this might be controversial – down here in Basel/Markgräflerland we already have the perfect and, in my mind, superior ersatz in Gutedel.
Be that as it may, this particular bottle (non-Bocksbeutel, but Burgundy in shape) recently caught my eye.
Brennfleck, Silvaner -S- ‘JHB’ trocken 2012, Franken
‘JHB’ stands for Johann Hugo Brennfleck. The ‘S’ might mean Spätlese or Selektion.
Light yellow in appearance and quite expressive on the nose to begin with. According to the label, this wine only saw stainless steel during the fermentation process. Yet, I can swear I can sniff out something woody. Succulent pear with a distinctly earthy whiff. Overall, there’s a fair amount of opulence on the nose, although the palate reflects this only to a certain extent. Sure, the finish is a touch creamy, but this Silvaner is actually no more than medium-weight. Juicy yellow fruit (notes of quince or apricot) in addition to pear. There is even a hint of lemon on the finish. Indeed, the level of freshness is surprising. With more air, the wine loses its ‘fruit and fat’ and becomes firmer, drier, more athletic and more minerally (chalkier, to be precise).
Overall, this is a very good wine by anyone’s standards. Amid competition from Riesling, Grauburgunder, Grüner Veltliner, etc., Silvaner still has its work cut out in attracting my attention. Nevertheless, I may be tempted to overcome my scepticism and grab a Bocksbeutel before too long.