Schueller Slyvaner

Joe Gilmour Thoughts

This pandemic has felt at times like running the latter stages of a marathon. In particular the feeling when someone says “not far to go now!” and you run on for another 5 miles and then some other perky guy says exactly the same thing. You want to stop, catch your breath and say – someone said that five fucking miles earlier!

Thankfully, wine has been a constant source of solace through some of the bleaker evenings of the past year.

A nice American emailed a while back suggesting that drinking a bottle of Schueller was a thrill-ride.  

In my opinion, it’s more like a joy-ride where he’s eyeballing you, about to pour petrol onto the rear-seats as he screams he needs to go faster. Something known as ‘Hot-Seating’ when I was growing up. He gives, in the words of a young person, zero-fucks.

It’s not that the wines can’t reach peaks of excellence, they really can – but they are so unpredictable. I blush now to recall recommending his 2016 Slyvaner to a customer who wanted an easy drinking natural wine for a party. Sheesh, it was such hard-work, bitter, herby, nervy – with so little padding that I forgot all about my last few bottles until a few weeks ago when I popped one open just for some excitement and got something really much improved. Still a wine that speaks more of Schueller then of Slyvaner, but none the worse for it.

Bruno is an interesting cat. He has views and is quite dismissive of much of what is held up as the pinnacle of Alsaction winemaking – don’t bring a bottle of Clos St Hune round to his house unless you want to start an argument. I think a sense of injustice is perhaps engendered by the perception that the Trimbach’s farm in a relatively industrial way, yet enjoy an outsize reputation – which when you’re slogging your guts out as a one-man artisanal band like Bruno, can put ones nose a bit out of joint. IDK, there are some great Trimbach wines, but plenty of stinkers as well, and wines old way before their time.

As a side note, when I was cycling through Alsace with a mate, we thought we’d check out the Clos St Hune vineyard in the Grand Cru Rosacker. We found the church, we found the Rue St Hune, did we see any clos? No we did not, a sign would be nice guys. Sort it out please Jean Trimbach!

A wine that was very much in contrast with the Sylvaner was a bottle of Weinbachs’s 2018 Gewurztraminer drunk the next week, which was so much more civilised, which ticked every box of competence, but I don’t know – left one missing some of the excitement served up by the ilk of Schueller, Frick and their contemporaries, who you do rather end up rooting for despite, or perhaps because of, some of the mis-steps and quirks.

Joe GilmourSchueller Slyvaner