Schafer-Frohlich Felsenberg Riesling Trocken 2017
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The Nahe region is one of the smaller German wine areas and has a history of winemaking dating back 2,000 years. It is located in the Nahe River Valley in southern Germany to the west of the Rhine River. With vineyards on both sides of the Nahe River, the landscape is one of vineyards, orchards and meadow interspersed with cliffs and striking rock formations. Known as a sunny valley with low rainfall, the low Hunsrück mountain range protects the Nahe from cold and the climate is characterized by mild temperatures, excellent ventilation and lots of sunshine—perfect circumstances for growing grapes.
In addition to the ideal weather conditions, the steep, often terraced, geologically complex slopes with their sandstone, porphyry, melaphyr and slate soils are second to none for wine production. This soil variation is able to produce a range of grape varieties and styles. White grape varieties make up 76.2% of plantings leaving 23.8% to red grape types. Although only 28% of grape production in the Nahe is Riesling, the majority of the best sites are devoted this variety.
The Schäfer-Frölich winery has been in their family for 200 years. With their six Grossen Lagen vineyards on steep, barren-rock slopes in the middle of the Nahe (including the monopoles of Stromberg and Felseneck), Tim and his family make wines of finesse and elegance that express the character of the location and terroir on their 55-acre property. The property is planted with 85% Riesling. The remaining 15% is a mixture of Pinots. Tim says he “tickles out the facets of a vineyard” and believes that “a wine must encourage me to drink the second and third glass.”
The SF vineyards are planted on Porphyry (a hard igneous rock containing crystals, usually feldspar, in a fine-grained, reddish groundmass), and blue Devonian slate, excellent soil for cultivating grape vines. They practice traditional cultivation but are not content with stagnating. They want to continue to improve and are building a new building to help streamline the process. One of the things they firmly believe in is making wine using spontaneous fermentation, meaning they wait for indigenous yeasts to start the fermentation.
This 2017 Felsenberg Riesling Trocken is a stylistic introduction to the wines of SF. With a VDP.Gutswein designation, it is sourced from young Riesling vines from the SF top sites grown on a mixture of Porphyry and blue Devonian Slate. The wine is dry (Trocken means dry in German), elegant with medium plus body. It is very aromatic with aromas and flavors of lemons, tart oranges, crisp apples, white flowers and a stony minerality. The acidity is rocking and with low alcohol and a nice long finish.