I don’t know if its use is common outside the UK and Ireland, but the phrase “that’s the dog’s bollocks” is for some reason very high praise – as opposed to “that’s bollocks” which means that something is nonsense or useless. So, when doing a bit of research into the Bocksbeutel of Franconia (Franken) I found that one of the purported origins of the name is due to the bottle’s resemblance to a ram’s scrotum (read more here) – who’d have thought it? The bottle shape is protected under EU regulations, though is probably better known in these parts for Portuguese rosé.
Anyway, onto the wines – a pair of aromatic whites from Horst Sauer
disclosure: samples were kindly provided for review, opinions are my own
Horst Sauer Esherndorfer Lump Riesling Trocken 2016 (12.0%, RRP €23.60 at Karwig Wines, Carrigaline and karwigwines.ie)
Even though Franken is better known for its Silvaner (it’s the best region in Germany for Silvaner) of course there’s great Riesling grown here as well. Classed as a Trocken, this is definitely dry, though far from austere – I’m pretty sure there are a few grams of residual sugar balancing the fresh acidity. There’s plenty of ripe fruit and minerality; it’s a well balanced and delicious wine with all its elements in perfect tension.
Horst Sauer Esherndorfer Silvaner Trocken 2016 (11.5%, RRP €20.90 at Karwig Wines, Carrigaline and karwigwines.ie)
So here we have Silvaner (with an “i”) rather than Sylvaner (with a “y”) as in Alsace, but it’s just the same grape. I have previously described the grape as having characteristics in between Pinot Blanc and Riesling, but the additional minerality of this Horst Sauer Silvaner also brought to mind some aspects of Burgundy’s white grapes:
Of course this is my personal interpretation but I’d be interested to hear other people’s take. It’s a fairly subtle wine but it really grows on you. With clean, fresh notes it makes a great aperitif or as a match for salads, fish and shellfish.
So which is the better wine? I really enjoyed both, but, although the Silvaner is one of the best I’ve tried, I narrowly preferred the extra intensity of the Riesling. Try them both and see which you prefer!