Under the label Junges Schwaben, the five winegrowers Hans Hengerer, Jürgen Zipf, Rainer Wachtstetter, Jochen Beurer and Sven Ellwanger have been publishing a wine every year since 2002 that meets their ideal of wine particularly well. Each wine must be approved by all five members before it can be sold as a Junges Schwaben wine. Today we drink a bottle made by Sven Ellwanger from the Bernhard Ellwanger winery: a Sauvignon Blanc from 2011, so pretty much from the middle of the time line from the beginning of the Junges Schwaben wines until today. The winery, like so many other wineries in recent weeks, also cultivates its vines in the Rems valley.
One thinks more of dessert at an asian restaurant than of wine at the first moment, so much lychee is reaching your nose. Accompanied by very ripe, yellow gooseberries, almost gooseberry jam mixed with elderflower syrup. Something sweet, clearly ripe and in the background a bit of violet. In the mouth first creamy, then on the middle of the tongue lots of spice and herbs, hardly any fruit. What remains are green peppers and then a few gooseberries. The nose changes with the first sips. The lychee fades away, intensive honey is added. A lot happens, both on the tongue and in the nose. The wine is enormously dense, herbaceous, yellow-fruity, complex, long and never simple.
As the evening progresses, the wine becomes butterier and more delicate. The fruit leaves more room for the green notes on the nose, while the spice dominates on the palate. A little tannin and gooseberry are added. In between, the lychee can be seen again and it seems as if someone has left nail polish remover open somewhere in the corner. This is where the years on the bottle show. I think that the wine, as it is now, should be at its peak.
A night in the fridge doesn’t change that, it only shifts the spotlight discreetly. More elderflower syrup, some vanilla, a little smoke and more honey. Spice on the tongue. A lot of spice on the tongue. Wow! Normally I like to avoid Sauvignon Blanc. If tons of passionfruit are thrown around your ears or alternatively you have the feeling of stuffing a handful of meadow into your mouth, I understand why that can be fascinating, but for me it’s not. This also regularly leads to everyone having a wine for themselves at the dining table, which is not the worst thing. It’s good for me and bad for the better half, when the balance has been struck perfectly, as in this bottle, since she has to share more. The complexity coming from age fulfills its part as well. I’d like to drink more Sauvignon like this.