Donnhoff, Weisser Burgunder (Pinot Blanc) QBA, Trocken, 2004

I have an ongoing debate with a friend about German non-Riesling varietals. His stance is, basically, why bother? Personally, I liked the few samples of Scheurebe I've tasted quite a lot, each in its own different way, as well the Muller-Catoir Rieslaner and I concur with Terry Theise's recommendation that a healthy diet include Scheurebe as a minority partner to Riesling (go here, download one of Germany catalogs and read the chapter "Why Scheurebe?"). But my friend's firm opinion is that no matter how much you like them, you've only got so much money in your budget and any money you spend on Scheurebe and Rieslaner is going to cut into the money you spend on Riesling, which is a sin since Riesling is intrinsically finer than the other varietals. To which I would reply that I like them enough to expand the Germany budget but that turns the debate circular as his obvious reply is "buy more Rieslings then!"*

So what to make of this wine, which is not only a QBA, it's a Pinot Blanc and Donnhoff probably only plants it in lesser sites not fit for outstanding Rieslings?

The first time I had it, there something beguilingly Alsatian about it yet it was still Germanic in its core. I had it a couple of weeks ago and the flinty nose was very much Cote d'Or but there was enough residual sugar on the palate to nail it as a German wine. A different bottle, a couple of weeks later, and it's very dry and just screams Chablis. Borderline Premier Cru Chablis at that. Chalk, hints of flint, apples and peaches intermingled, fine acidity, a long and saline finish, its possibly mudane origins showing as a certain lack of dimension. At its peak, I suppose, but you know what? I liked it better in its simpler, more German incarnation.

Imported by Giaconda, listed at 130 NIS.

* To play the Devil's Advocate to my own aguments for a sec, Scheurebe as a cross was supposed to thrive on soil less suitable for Riesling only it turns out it prefers the same soil as Riesling so more quality Scheurebe would mean less Riesling. Also, in 2006, some growers did not produce any Scheurebe because the harvest conditions forced them to place all their efforts in Riesling which just goes to show what their priorities are. I read about it in Thiese's 2007 catalog, so if you're curious, just follow the link above, download the catalog and read about the 2006 vintage.


Anonymous said…
From my limited experience with a host of Germanic varietal crosses, I agree with your friend (and a friend's friend is a friend, no?), although there are exceptions.

If you are looking for excuses to expand your cellar (and the varietal diversity/white proportion in it), Austrian Gruner V is the way to go, I think.


2GrandCru said…
I've still got my money and Scheurebe.