Heinrich’s 2018 vintage is the first where his orange wines (the ever-expanding Freyheit line) were fermented and aged entirely in amphorae. They were frankly wonderful before. Now they are extraordinary. Moving to clay rather than large format oak has enhanced the fruit purity, softened the texture and made everything feel more focused and bright.
Despite its name, this is only 80% Muscat Ottonel, with the remainder shored up with Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay. The nose is subtle, with coriander seed and passion fruit aromas. At first, the palate seems almost simplistic, but with more air, it unfolds to such gorgeous harmony amd depth. Nothing about this wine is tannic, there are no rough edges. Yet the depth of flavour and the mouth-filling texture just couldn’t come from a white wine. This is skin fermentation (14 days) taken to another level, where the understanding of the technique merges it seamlessly with the wine – just as the French are able to do with oak elevage, in Bordeaux and Burgundy.
There are little hints of crème patisserie, of lemon peel, of tarragon. But overall, it’s the feeling of fruit purity, of nothing clouding the lens which is so wonderful. Exceptional wine making.
And… don’t even get me started on the fact that there is no added sulphur here. Why can’t everyone manage this level of stability and cleanliness then?