Christoph Ziegler’s day job consists of running a well-known wine advertising agency in Bad Dürkheim. With the help of his friends (‘Collective Z’), he also tends 1.5 hectares of old vines (planted 25 to 50 years ago) just outside Leistadt in and around the limestone sweet spot of the Berntal valley. It’s a small, secluded corner of the Pfalz, full of forgotten plots arranged in higgledy-piggledy fashion.
This is a rosé made from Dornfelder. Relatively dark in appearance – the wine looks almost like a very light red. On the Collective Z website, Christoph says it’s a ‘herbal bomb’. He’s right: think herbes de Provence on the nose, with rosemary, thyme, tarragon, oregano, etc. Or Ricola eucalyptus. Or – weirdly – squash ball. However, the fruit should not go unmentioned: aromas of ripe, sweet, succulent strawberry, which, come to think of it, remind me of other Pfalz rosés that I have had in my time. The Dornfelder connection.
Savoury notes such as bacon emerge on the second day. The herbal and strawberry duet continues on a medium-bodied, succulent yet dry palate. This wine has plenty of what the Germans call Schmelz – a wine-related term that German-to-English translators love to hate. It’s that ‘glazed’, mellow, almost melted sensation in your mouth. Sometimes it’s as if the wine is coating the palate in a thin, silky film, as is the case here. Sometimes the sensation is chewy. Certainly, the effect is tactile and, at times, even ethereal. Some clever people also think they can smell it.
The finish is long and pure.
Manual harvest followed by wild-yeast fermentation, then aged for 10 months in old French oak barrels. No fining or filtering.