Ziereisen

(A WineWise Selection) The Markgräferland is, together with the Bodensee,  the southernmost part of Baden. The soils here are predominantly limestone, which is immediately suggestive of a kinship with Burgundy, especially as there are remarkable climatic similarities between the two regions.

Hanspeter Ziereisen is a huge personality whom everyone seems to know. He and his endlessly good-humoured wife, Edeltraud, preside over a compact domaine with an influence out of proportion to its size. He makes wines in a resolutely individual way, having long ago given up the notion of conforming to the straitened mind-set of the local wine authorities. Consequently, most of them are not submitted for approval as AO Baden wines, but rather are sold as lowly “regional” wines – albeit the most expensive of them are amongst the dearest wines of Germany. Call this the “Sassicaia Syndrome”.

Without subscribing to the strictest dogmas of “Natural” wine,  Ziereisen’s products can be described as nothing but. All vineyard work is manual, all oak barrels are local, no chemicals are employed in the vineyards, fermentations are spontaneous, no wines are filtered and everything is given time to relax on the lees before bottling and in the bottle before release – even if this runs counter to the cycles of the commercial clock. Each product is given a fanciful name in the local dialect, which is strongly influenced by the strange sonorities spoken across the border in Switzerland. Welcome to the wacky world of Ziereisen.

GZI-XXX Blauer Spatburgunder

Available Wines

Ziereisen 2013 Grauer Burgunder (Baden)

Many producers have cottoned on to the predisposition of Pinot Gris to élevage in oak, but few manage the art as deftly as Hanspeter Ziereisen. There is a tenderness and vivacity to this wine that are simply elusive to most of its practitioners. The faintest hint of residual sweetness (3 grammes) imbues it with a delicious hint of voluptuousness that falls well short of the obvious. It offers us yet another individual expression of this most recalcitrant of grapes, that seems so happy in Baden.

Ziereisen 2013 Grauer Burgunder (Baden)

Many producers have cottoned on to the predisposition of Pinot Gris to élevage in oak, but few manage the art as deftly as Hanspeter Ziereisen. There is a tenderness and vivacity to this wine that are simply elusive to most of its practitioners. The faintest hint of residual sweetness (3 grammes) imbues it with a delicious hint of voluptuousness that falls well short of the obvious. It offers us yet another individual expression of this most recalcitrant of grapes, that seems so happy in Baden.

Ziereisen 2013 Spätburgunder (Baden)

We could not resist Hanspeter’s “basic” Pinot in 2013. It is a poem of sinuous beauty, subtle, salty and long.

Ziereisen 2014 ‘Heugumber’ Gutedel (Baden)

It is characteristic of Ziereisen’s originality that he should hang his hat by the regional specialty grape known locally as Gutedel (but better known as Chasselas in France and Fendant in Switzerland). Indeed, his most expensive (and staggeringly so) product is a version of this grape given the full Montrachet treatment. To our plebeian tastes, however, it is this basic wine that best conveys the irresistible charm of this under-appreciated and simply delicious grape variety.  Stony, lissome and light, with the faintest hint of astringency in the tail, it slides down the throat as easily a hot knife slices through butter.

Ziereisen 2014 Grauer Burgunder (Baden)

Many producers have cottoned on to the predisposition of Pinot Gris to élevage in oak, but few manage the art as deftly as Hanspeter Ziereisen. There is a tenderness and vivacity to this wine that are simply elusive to most of its practitioners. The faintest hint of residual sweetness (3 grammes) imbues it with a delicious hint of voluptuousness that falls well short of the obvious. It offers us yet another individual expression of this most recalcitrant of grapes, that seems so happy in Baden.