Heinrich Graue Freyheit 2017

Otherwise known as the bottle that nobody can bear to throw away.

This wine was purchased as an interesting gift for a visit with a winemaker...a visit that never transpired. So perhaps the theme of this post should be be ‘lessons I’ve learned’. Lesson 1: don’t leave the boys in your life to arrange anything. Lesson 2: stick to one notebook so that you don’t lose your tasting notes. So from my dodgy memory:

The Wine:

The most inspiring coppery orange. Who knows what the intensity or acidity was like. But it was all the teas - herbal rooibos, weak black tea, green tea...steeped with slices of oranges, naartjies, melons and apricots...stirred with a teaspoon of honey...and garnished with nutmeg and sprigs of fresh herbs. I think I wrote down sherbert because of the metallic battery feel.

There was probably more to this...the texture (they suggest shaking before consuming), the possible light tea tannins, and I’m super curious about the length. It wasn’t cheap, so I doubt I’ll replace the bottle for better notes. But it was an experience, albeit not the fabulous shared gift...and for this experience, I hope to always have this beautiful earthenware vase.

Vini + Viti:

Having converted to biodynamics in 2006, all of the Heinrich wines are fermented spontaneously and  usually left on their skins for several weeks. This blend of Grauburgunder from crystalline schist and quartz schist on the Joiser Hackelsberg in the Neusiedlersee area), and Weissburgunder and Chardonnay from limestone and schist from Leithaberg was spent 15 days wild fermenting on skins. It was then matured in amphora and used barrels in contact with its lees for 14 months. The wine was bottled unfiltered, unfined, and without added sulfur dioxide. The label actually instructs you to shake before serving.

Final Thoughts:

Neusiedlersee and Österreich are some of my favourite words to randomly say to myself. Just because they're fun to roll off of my South African tongue. The organic and biodynamic processes, and skin contact  are music to my ears. The Pinot Gris is perfectly charming. The ß in Weißburgunder terrifies my brain...and the Chard is more than acceptable in this context. Needless to say, I am in full agreement with all the other wine nerds that this wine was everything you could wish for - captivating, intriguing, thought provoking, and bloody delicious. I mean...how often do you come across a wine that instructs you to shake before serving!

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