Two Bottles Jülg

We're drinking from the southern region of the Pfalz, from the Jülg winery, one bottle each of Schweigen Chardonnay 2022 and Spätburgunder 2021.

While silence may be golden, when it comes to these two bottles from Schweigen, which not only bears the name of a village but also means silence, remaining silent isn’t an option that makes too much sense when writing a blog. And after last week’s anniversary, it’s also a good opportunity to calibrate one’s own sense of time a bit. With wineries whose wine, or in this case sparkling wine, I’ve tasted here before, I always wonder if it’s too early to put their wine back on the table. And then I check and realize that it’s been over four years in this case. And a lot has happened in these four years. A pandemic, for example. But there have also been changes for the Jülg winery. From the neck of the bottle, you’re now greeted by the VDP eagle, as the winery was admitted to the VDP.Pfalz in 2021. Accordingly, both the Chardonnay from 2022 and the Pinot Noir from 2021 are classified as Schweigen Ortswein. Fortunately, what hasn’t changed is the fact that Schweigen-Rechtenbach is located so far south in the Pfalz region that some of the vineyards around the village are already on the French side of the border or the border even runs right through the vineyard. The vines here grow on limestone soils and the grapes are hand-harvested. The Chardonnay is partly aged in used small oak barrels and partly in new large wooden casks. The Pinot Noir is completely aged in small oak barrels. That also reminds me immediately that I really wanted to go there. Because I’ve already heard nothing but good things about the winery’s own wine tavern from several directions.

The Chardonnay smells a bit like umami, a bit of smoke, some earth, and a slight reduction. Swirling reveals yellow fruit and grapes that aren’t quite ripe yet. In the first moments after uncorking, you have to search for the fruit more than it would assert itself. The acidity has tension, there’s slight creaminess and a fine structure. On the one hand, this is still extremely young and at the same time somehow noticeably fresher than you would expect in a warm year like 2022. However, this isn’t the first wine from this vintage that has struck me this way.

The umami-smoky aspect disappears on the second evening. And I have to say that I miss it a bit because I found it quite exciting. Now there’s orchard fruit, quince, pear, yellow apple. The acidity still has tension, it first grabs the middle of the tongue and then the lips. I really like how fresh the wine is, how fruity the acidity, how easy it is to drink. If only a bit of smoke from the first evening had been saved overnight, that would make the wine even better. However, it doesn’t come back even with more air. But after swirling, the reduction returns, and actually, it gives the wine a little push forward.

The Pinot Noir has more fruit right after opening. It really smells beautiful and is one of those feel-good noses. This first sip on this first evening, however, comes from the Gabriel glass. The evenings before, there were guests in the house, and the dishwasher hasn’t caught up yet to make the usual glasses shine again. Or at least clean them. There’s cherry, there are berries, and a lump of dirt. With each swirl of the wine in the glass, the cherry becomes more cherry-like, along with the stones and stems. The first sip is soft and deceives you about how slowly the structure and tannins build up on the tongue and develop more and more pressure.

New day, regular glass. Not much has changed in the wine, honestly, almost nothing. But since it was already so complete on the first evening, we’re not particularly bothered by that. I like how the wine feels, it’s somehow homely, you want to eat hearty food with it and look into the distance. As far as you can from the window at the dining table, that is. There’s depth and complexity, and at the same time, it’s incredibly uncomplicated. The content in the glass disappears almost faster than with the Chardonnay. The fruit, the slight dirt, the ethereal quality, and the tension are just great. This is a wine for food, a wine for sitting on the couch, and if you want, it’s also a wine to talk about. Schweigen isn’t always golden. But it’s a really good place to make wine.

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