Well Worth Opening A Bocksbeutel or Two!

Well Worth Opening A Bocksbeutel or Two!

Racy Riesling. Sexy Silvaner.

First thing you notice with these two whites is the shape of the bottle; it looks a lot like a leather pouch or a cowboy’s water canteen. It is known locally in Franken as a bocksbeutel and is used in this German wine region (also known as Franconia in English) to hold their best wines. And quality is more seriously indicated by the VDP in the neck of the bottle. Würzburg is the area’s capital.

The Burgerspital is a charitable trust, founded in 1316,  and “every bottle that its wine estate sells helps promote the trust”, now taking care of some 750 senior citizens. Not too sure about the present but in 1598 the daily allowance was 1.22 litres! Now, I wonder would any of our craft breweries like to start something similar!

Burgerspital Würzburg, Silvaner trocken 2011, Franken (Germany), 13%, €17.70, Karwig Wines

Silvaner (sometime spelt Sylvaner) is grown primarily in Germany and is a component of Liebfraumilch. Don't worry, they handle it rather differently in Franken. This one has subtle but very pleasant aromas. Colour is a very pale gold and you’ll see more than a few stationary bubbles.

On the palate, it is round and spicy, smooth and well balanced with a fine acidity and this delicious wine also finishes well. Quite liked it and Very Highly Recommended. The makers suggest matching it with fish and white meat.

Burgerspital Würzburg, Riesling trocken 2011, Franken (Germany), 12%, €18.10, Karwig Wines

Racy is not a word I've seen associated with Riesling very often but racy and fruity are the two key words in the winery's shop description of this wine. There is nothing delicate here, indeed it is rather muscular for a Riesling, full bodied, with attractive fruit flavours, complex and long on the finish. Impressive.

It is well made for sure and a worthy occupant of the bocksbeutel, the legally protected distinctive bottle, “allegedly shaped like a ram’s testicles”, also a "goat's scrotum", both according to the Finest Wines of Germany (2012, Aurum Press). Maybe that’s where the racy came from. The bottle's neck, like the Silvaner, is stamped VDP. Very Highly Recommended.

Colour is pale gold with hints of green. Aromas are subtle, some floral and citrus traces (no petrol!) evident. They recommend pairing it with light dishes, salads and pasta. We matched it with monkfish (with tomatoes, crème fraîche  and Vermouth) and noodles and it worked out very well indeed.