The Ziereisen family winery is a prime example of many things that I look for at all of my suppliers. First of all, they are farmers first...which was immediately seen in their "wine shop" where far more space was allocated to displaying their extensive array of great looking produce than to displaying their wines. Secondly, the family respects the heritage of their land which also includes an extended family spanning four generations currently being involved in their operations. Thirdly, there is an amazing focus on producing the best wines possible as Hanspeter Ziereisen combines his encyclopedic knowledge of his vineyards with his extremely creative and meticulous winemaking skills to make wonderfully expressive Pinot Noirs, Weissburgunders, Grauburgunders, and Gutedels (Chasselas).
It is a fun place to visit too while tasting wine in the open courtyard of their family home. But Hanspeter then also showed his focus and commitment to what is most important as after graciously and patiently letting me taste a lot of his wines, he then said "well, it is time for me to go back to work" and he got up, walked over to a tractor, and headed back to his very hilly vineyards.
Hand harvesting for only the best clusters
Very lush Pinot Noir clusters from the meticulous farming
Perfectly positioned south facing slope next to Effringen-Kirchen
A side view of the Effringen-Kirchen vineyards
Ziereisen aging cellar (no wine before its time!)
An interesting article on the wall of the "wine shop" (next to the asparagus!). The TTB (and maybe the PTA) might not agree!
Ziereisen barrel cellar (exclusively using local coopers and oak)
There are an interesting variety of aromas including lemony roses, dark plums, blackberries, dark cherries, and dark chocolate. Flavors are also an interesting mix of raspberries, blackberries, dark cherries, and a hint of chocolate. There is an elegant medium body but with a feeling of extra “fullness” along with perfect balance and acidity. Also notable are perfectly balanced tannins on the finish and a refreshing dose of limestone minerality throughout the palate and finish.
The variety of aromas and flavors also result in very extensive and versatile food pairings which would include Filet Mignon, New York Steak, Roast Beef, beef stew, beef stroganoff, veal chops, wild boar, venison, elk, duck, tuna, mussels, clams, shrimp, paella, cassoulet, Coq au Vin, pasta with meat sauces, charcuterie, Indian Tandoori dishes, chili verde, Mexican beef dishes, anything with mushrooms (Risotto, pasta, etc.), and mild cheeses.
Pinot Noir "Talrain" 2015 (OF, NF)
The Talrain is from one of the higher vineyard sites at around 1,500 feet. Soil composition is mainly from limestone but with elements of clay and iron. The minerality creates interesting aromas of rich cherries and forest floor along with flavor hints of cherries and strawberry jam. The medium mouthfeel is an elegant entry but the wine then makes even more of an impression as it fully saturates your entire palate with flavors and refreshing minerality. This wine is perfectly balanced between its flavors, tannins, and acidity.
Food pairings would include Filet Mignon, NY Steak, roast beef, short ribs, veal chops, lamb, grilled salmon and tuna, grilled chicken, Mexican food, Asian Beef dishes, creamy Indian curries, grilled vegetables, potato casseroles, and hard cheeses.
Pinot Noir "Schulen" 2015 (OF, NF)
There are very interesting and lively aromas of plums, rich peaches, and cherry compote. The rich aroma profile then progresses into rich flavors as well of ripe cherries, candied plums, and hints of raspberries. The "weight" of the aromas and flavors are then elegantly complemented by a perfectly balanced medium mouthfeel. Sweet tannins then further complement the flavors and create a very memorable finish. What is also remarkable and interesting about this wine is that it is aged 21 months in new oak barrels. I am not a fan of using much new oak at all and to not have tasted the usual intrusion of new oak into the natural flavors of the wine shows Hanspeter Ziereisen's creativity and artistry at work as well as his astute choice of only using local coopers for all of his barrels.
The richness of the wine also results in some additional food pairings. A full list would include Filet Mignon, NY Steak, Roast Beef, short ribs, veal chops, lamb, duck, venison, grilled sausages, grilled salmon and tuna, grilled chicken, Mexican food, Asian Beef and Pork dishes, mild Indian curries, grilled vegetables, and rich and hard cheeses.
Pinot Noir "Rhini" 2015 (OF, NF)
The Rhini is quite elegant but it is introduced by seemingly simple aromas of very fresh cherries and strawberries. Flavors of rich cherries and dark plums then follow and are perfectly balanced with the wine's medium mouthfeel. What is most remarkable, however, about the Rhini is how all of its components combine into a very refreshing sensation of fully saturating all of your taste buds and back palate with its perfect acidity and minerality. This is another perfectly crafted Ziereisen wine and has been aged 22 months in used oak barrels.
Food pairings would include Filet Mignon, NY Steak, Roast Beef, short ribs, veal chops, roast pork, pork tenderloin, lamb, duck, venison, grilled salmon, roast chicken, Mexican food, Asian Beef and Pork dishes, mild Indian curries, vegetable casseroles, and soft and rich cheeses.
Weissburgunder 2016 (OF, NF)
This Weissburgunder, which is otherwise known as Pinot Blanc, opens with aromas of acacia and wildflowers along with hints of camellia and fresh cut hay. The wine then immediately saturates your entire palate with refreshing flavors of white peaches, honeydew melon, and hints of lemon, cantaloupe, and strawberries. There is a perfectly balanced medium body but which feels fuller with its fully saturated and memorable finish.
Food pairings would include sole, crab, shrimp, scallops, sea bass, halibut, grilled tuna, seafood salads, veal, baked chicken, pasta salads, creamy pasta dishes, creamy curries, chicken and vegetable stir frys, green salads, and light vegetable dishes.
Grauburgunder 2016 (OF, NF)
Grauburgunder is the German name for Pinot Gris and this wine has aromas of pineapple, lychee, kiwi, white flowers, and ripe juicy apples and flavors of honeydew melon, mild pear, along with hints of pineapple, mild lemon, and tangerine. There is a light to medium mouthfeel along with perfect balance, light acidity, and a refreshing saturated finish.
Food pairings would include sole, shrimp, scallops, crab, sea bass, halibut, seafood salads, lobster bisque, fried anchovies, smoked salmon, pork, veal, baked chicken, creamy pasta dishes, Asian noodles, green papaya salad, mild curries, pasta salads, salad nicoise, light green salads, quiche, frittatas, hummus, baba ghanoush, and creamy vegetable dishes.
Gutedel “Heugumber” 2018 (OF, NF)
Hanspeter prefers the local name of Gutedel for this varietal which is better known as Chasselas in neighboring Switzerland. Aromas include white flowers, citrus blossoms, honeydew melon, kiwi, and lime along with a hint of flint and yellow apples. Flavors include green apple, honeydew, pear, and white peach. There is a medium body, good balance and acidity, and a crisp finish.
Food pairings are pretty versatile and would include sole, shrimp, swordfish, tuna, red snapper, crab cakes, fish and shellfish soups, lobster rolls, paella, veal, pork, chicken, creamy Mexican food, creamy curries, Asian vegetable salads, green salads, charcuterie, and mild and soft cheeses.