The first thing that catches your eye about the Hans Wirsching Silvaner 2010 is the playful green bottle that holds the wine.
The flattened, flask-shaped bottle is known as a bocksbeutel, or “buck bag.” It is used in the central German wine region of Franken, as well as in a few villages in northern Baden, to house the best wines.
Fortunately this particular book lives up to its cover. The pale-gold liquid inside the tantalizing bottle is mouthwatering — its lovely acidity and juicy flavors invariably make the drinker utter gurgling-happy sounds.
The white grape in question, Silvaner, is grown mostly in Germany and central Europe. When the Silvaner vines set their roots in clayey limestone soils, as they do in the best sites of Franken, they are capable of producing full-bodied, firm wines with great natural acidity, delicious minerality and pleasing flavors.
Hans Wirsching, one of the largest family-owned wineries in Franken, has been producing wines since 1630. Most of their vineyards benefit from the desirable clayey marl soils that are known to give the Silvaner grape its best expression.
It only takes one sip to understand why.
Hans Wirsching — Iphöfer Kronsberg, Silvaner Trocken 2010
Producer: Hans Wirsching
Grapes: 100% Silvaner
Serving: lightly chilled
When you dip your nose into your glass, the first thing that hits you is the lovely minerality emanating from the wine. Then aromas of citrus, white blossom and pear fill your nostrils. This Silvaner might not be powerfully aromatic, but it’s very pleasing, conjuring up a spring breeze.
On the palate, those subtle aromas expand in the most delicious way, framed by a juicy acidity that makes you salivate. The citrus notes are refreshing and lean towards mellow lemon, while distinct notes of Bosc pear follow. There are some delicate herbal elements of anise and fennel as well.
What’s most enticing about the Wirsching Silvaner is how pleasing the wine feels in the mouth. It’s round, silky-smooth and absolutely succulent. Although highly sippable on its own, the Silvaner would pair marvelously with anything citrus, or with shellfish, sushi or spring vegetables.
I tasted the Wirsching Silvaner 2010 at David Bowler‘s Spring Portfolio Tasting, just a few weeks ago. From the very first sip, I thought about pairing it with this farro with sweet peas, fresh herbs and ricotta, a recipe I’d been working on just the week before. In an instant I knew I had found the right wine to partner it.
When I got a chance to try the pairing, my hunch was confirmed. The flavors of the wine complemented the sweet peas, lemony vinaigrette and fresh herbs effortlessly; its weight stood up to the farro; and its delightful minerality brightened the whole dish.
Here’s to all the marvelous flavors that come with spring – and to Wirsching’s delicious Silvaner!