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23 June 2006

Hirsch-y Kiss

Trinkvergnugen Remember the first time you kissed that special someone and felt the kerwang! of twitterpation?  That's how I feel about Hirsch wines from Austria's Kamptal.

Perhaps I am waxing a bit poetic (what?  me poetic?), however I would describe the Hirsch wine style as "compellingly light & juicy."  There is just enough juicy flavor in these wines to make your palate blush, but the alcohol content is low enough to entice second, third and fourth sips.  These wines all chime in at 13% alcohol or lower.  However, they offer ripe flavors, instead of nearly-ripe flavors often present in light white wine (think a granny smith apple vs. a ripe Gala apple).   These wines are imported in the US by Skurnik.  Two to try:

2005 Riesling 'Gaisberg' - Scents and flavors of juicy, perfectly ripe peach, with crisp minerality on the finish.  This wine is produced through spontaneous (natural) fermentation and matured in large wooden casks.  I also sampled the 2004 version, which seemed to have developed some honey notes - yet it still retains its fresh-n-juicy character.

2005 Riesling 'Heigligenstein' - Probably the most unique wine of Hirsch's collection.  This wine is all about texture with a more subtle, balanced rich & tangy mouthfeel.  This Riesling also possesses flavors of 'sea salt,' which are slowly revealed throughout the long finish.

How does the Hirsch family work their wine magic?  Have a look:

7woodbarrel

Listen to my conversation with Johannes Hirsch.  We talk about the family's exploration of Biodynamic viticulture, its philosophy on lower alcohol wine, and its commitment to Screwcaps in all its wine. (download here - mp3).  PS excuse the painfully awkward phrased first question (my brain doesn't switch between German and English terribly quick)  More photos here.

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