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Blank slate

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Burgenland 2014, Weisser Schiefer, Winebau Uwe Schiefer ($24.35, 13349543)
A former sommelier turned winemaker, Uwe Schiefer, whose last name means slate in German, has earned the reputation of a bad boy of Austrian wine. Located in southern Burgenland, his eponymous estate focuses on Austrian varieties, in particular Blaufränkisch. As of a few years ago, it was said to be organic converting to biodynamic though I’ve not found any recent information about that. The grapes for this “white slate” blend of Welschriesling (90%), Grüner Veltliner (5%) and Pinot Blanc (5%) came from vineyards in the Eisenberg, Hannersdorf and Kohfidisch DACs. Fermented with indigenous yeasts in large wood vats. Malolactic fermentation and maturation on the lees in neutral barrels lasted 11 months. Unfiltered. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: Tocade.

A faint reductive note blows off, leaving a distant, elusive nose that has the assembled tasters grasping for descriptors: “yogurty stuff,” “wet fur,” “sour grape,” “quince.” Shows a similar lack of presence in the mouth, the texture watery (“lacks glycerol” notes one taster), the acidity incognito and the flavours bland, a final hint of marzipan being the only exception. Chewing reveals minerals, pith, stone fruit and a little more dimensionality. Tasted the next day, the tail end had lost whatever mojo it once had. Something of a wallflower, then. Passing through a phase? Proof that, on its own, Welschriesling is, as some claim, best suited for sweet, botrytized wines? In any case, only two of us were intrigued enough to say we’d buy another bottle. In the past, the group has been impressed by Schiefer’s reds (April 2016, February 2012) but this didn’t generate anywhere near the same excitement. (Buy again? Maybe. Or maybe wait for the next vintage.)

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Written by carswell

September 12, 2017 at 11:28

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