Christian Dautel sent me the missing links from his first shipment, the wines that weren’t ready or not yet bottled or just ones he thought I should taste. He sent a “correct” bottle of his estate Pinot Noir, and he sent Pinot Blancs and Chardonnays that…let’s say squared away whatever cavils I may have had.
I’m like the next guy; I have assumptions and prejudices where wine is concerned, and while I can’t entirely banish them, I do try to approach each new wine with a willingness to be pleased. Yet with Dautel I admit I found myself questioning why someone with such superb Rieslings would even bother with other whites, especially something as mundane as I assumed Chardonnay to be.
The answer to that question is in the report itself. Here I just want to stare at my assumptions without blinking. I do assume that, with very few exceptions, Riesling is inherently superior to Chardonnay. I did assume that Dautel had Pinot Blanc as his “other-white” and didn’t need Chardonnay. Not to mention his PBs are excellent, all three of them. The estate is frisky and gluggable, the village-wine (on gipskeuper) is one of the most fascinating PBs I have ever had, and the –S- quality is one of the rare white-Burgundy wannabees that actually succeeds.
But okay, I’m a good sport, so let’s have at the two Chards. I am very glad I did. Both of them are lovely. Neither is imitative in any way I could see. They are less “Burgundian” than the big PB (unless you include the Maconnais) and most important, they work with foods that exclude Riesling.
I can still get fresh wild salmon, coho in this case, and I love salmon and will buy it constantly while it is fresh. But it’s a bitch to find a wine for it, at least among my habitual tipples. Perhaps this is true of oily fish in general, but salmon always seems to hijack the umami of Riesling and create a weird sour fishiness in the mouth. I could maybe fix that by pimping the salmon with spices and glazes and whatnot, but I always cook it plain out of respect to its wild integrity. I never found a perfect partner, not GV, not Champagne – even Rosé Champagne – not still Rosé, not Chablis, not Chenin – not nuthin’ until I tried it with Dautel’s Chardonnays. That match was seamless. It wasn’t quite the 1+1=3 effect, but it was definitely these-things-were-put-on-earth-to-be together effect. Plus the wines were vitally good.
(And yes I do know about light reds with salmon, but I’m not drinking much red during salmon “season,” albeit I’ve seen that the pairing works…)
ALSO NEW are three wines the Ziereisens were good enough to send. As it was just the three, I put them into the original report, which is now (even) more complete. This remains among the most interesting wine producers in Germany, and the wines are significantly vintage dependent, especially the whites. Please have a longer look at the now updated report.