High, high up in the beautiful Grauburgunder heaven hovers Salwey. Super dry wines light as the most slender summer clouds. Unfortunately they rise almost out of reach for us Swedish consumers, but everyone who fancy a trip to Baden (and who doesn’t?) can fill the boot with Grauburgunder from the winery in Oberrotweil.
With origin in the slopes of Kaiserstuhl, Konrad Salwey’s vines can almost look across the river Rhen to Alsace where their relatives carry the name Pinot Gris. Those are the ones we see as the lower clouds in this grape heaven. Not that we don’t like Alsace Pinot Gris. We are happy to let well chosen wines refresh our palates. But as they often are heavy of residual sugar, it is not that strange that they descend to lower height. It is another World. In Sweden, the monopoly feeds us with a range of wines that, although marketed as dry, normally have around 10 grams/litre.
Weingut Salwey is one of the bigger producers around Kaiserstuhl. Big, but also a member of VDP with Grand Cru-plots in the vineyard portfolio. Renowed for his Grauburgunder that comes in three qualities. The entry level, “gutswein”, is the bestseller with around 40.000 bottles per year. Uncomplicated, lightly perfumed and of course dry. Salwey is known to make the driest wines in the area around the old vulcano Kaiserstuhl. Needing to be careful with the car boot space for the road back home, we however prefered to raise the level of quality for our purchase. RS, Reserve Salwey, gets our liking. A QbA wine that gets a dose of grapes from the very best plots.
“2013 is perhaps our very best vintage ever,” said Philipp Hettich about the Grauburgunder RS when we visited Salwey earlier this spring. Delicious of very good quality we thought already back then, but Philipp emphasized that some more months in bottle should be beneficial. Thus we uncork now and cannot resist to pour the top quality in glass number two. We enjoy to compare them again already now, even if Salwey considers the wines to have a beautiful life ahead up till 2025-2030.
The grapes for Salwey Grauburgunder RS 2013 come from clones giving small grapes. Philipp underlines this, they strive for small grapes. 80% comes from loess soils in Käsleberg. The remaining 20% has the origin in the grand cru plots in Henkenberg and Eichberg where the roots bury themselves in old vulcanic soil.
The grapes get 24 hours maceration before pressing and fermentation, without sedimentation. Then raised on its lees in large 1200 liters barrels made of oak from Kaiserstuhl. The malo is also made in the barrels. Regular battonage increase the body of this slender, very dry wine. Bottled without filtration. Residual sugar stops at low 1,5 grams/litre.
The RS is slim, aiming for elegance. Beautiful golden yellow hue with hints of well polished coppar. Very smokey, champignons, forest and barque. It is dry, so dry, the fine acidity almost attacks. Fruity towards butter-pear and a slice of apricot. Gentle floral notes and light minerality. Spreads in the palate and stays so long.
Easy drinking delicious, a bit straight forward. That is the sum up of the RS. More dimensions are offered by the grand cru quality. Grosses Gewächs Henkenberg is even drier and is showing itself in layer upon layer.
The vineyard in Henkenberg, on the road from Oberrotweil to Burkheim, is Salwey’s most important for Grauburgunder. The vulcanic soil dominates but is complemented with loess and calcareous clay on the top. The vinification is almost the same as for RS, but added stems during maceration give more texture and even a touch of tannin. This is even drier than RS.
Salwey Henkenberg Grauburgunder 2012 Grosses Gewächs is a bit more shy today and wants to aerate its copper golden body to release the aromas of smoke and apricot. Enjoyable fine sandpaper texture on the palate. Dry, dry, dry and at the same time rich palate filling fruitiness against a backdrop of smokeyness, champignon cream and minerality. The complexity is revealed in the glass, layer by layer, as time goes. The aftertaste is long and fruity with a vaxy feeling in the end. Complex, integrated, strict and soft at the same time. Delicious, so, so lovely.
Complex, light and fresh, that is what we find among the upper white clouds in the Grauburgunder/Pinot Gris heaven.
Link to home page: Weingut Salwey