Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tasting and Tour with the Pinot Noir Legend Paul Fürst, Weingut Rudolf Fürst in Bürgstadt, Franken – Germany-East Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

Picture: Paul Fürst, Annette Schiller, Sebastian Fürst and Christian Schiller

Our last, but not least, stop in Franken on the Germany-East Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015) was at Weingut Rudolf Fürst. We were hosted by one of Germany’s red wine giants, Paul Fürst. His son, Sebastian Fürst, who joined his father in leading the estate in 2007, joined us for part of the tasting.

Paul Fürst was Gault-Millau winemaker of the Year in 2003; he is also known as the Red Wine – Fürst. Weingut Rudolf Fürst belongs to the red wine elite in Germany.

Pictures: Welcome at Weingut Rudolf Fürst

Jancis Robinson, The Financial Times, November 2011: Rudolf Fürst is an acknowledged Pinot magician in Germany, not just with Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) but also the earlier-ripening Frühburgunder.

Hugh Johnson, Wineguide 2012: 18 ha estate in Bürgstadt where some of the best Franconian wines are produce, especially the burgundy style Spätburgunders (rightly regarded as the finest in Germany).


Franken, located in the northern part of Bavaria, is boasting a long tradition and some fine terroirs (mostly shell limestone and Keuper, a kind of marl). Its two leading grape varieties are Riesling and Silvaner. Typically, Franken wine comes in the distinctive, dumpily-rounded Franken “Bocksbeutel” wine bottle. The bottle’s unusual shape dates back to at least the 16th century. The Bocksbeutel may only be used for Franken wines. In Germany, it is a sign of excellence, while in the US, many consumers link this kind of bottle shape to lower quality wine.

Pictures: In Würzburg in the Evening

Weingut Rudolf Fürst

The Miltenberg basin in the western tip of Franken between the forested hills of the Odenwald and the Spessart, where Bürgstadt is located, provides ideal climatic conditions for first-class viticulture. The weathered colored sandstone of the Centgrafenberg vineyard in Bürgstadt and the extremely steep slopes of the Schlossberg vineyard in Klingenberg are home to the most extraordinary Frühburgunder and Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir Précos and Pinot Noir) produced by Paul Fürst and his son Sebastian.

Pictures: White Wine Tasting

Frühburgunder (also known as Pinot Madeleine) is an old variety, autochthonous to this region, which yields full bodied wines and has attracted more and more attention over the last years. Roughly 60% of the wine produced is red.

In addition to the reds, brilliant white wines, such as Riesling, Weissburgunder and Franken’s signature wine, Silvaner, are also produced here.

The Fürst family has been producing wine in this area since 1638. In 1979 Paul and Monika Fürst built the new estate amidst the vineyards and in 2007 they were joined by their son Sebastian.

Pictures: Paul Fürst

The Vineyards

For the Fürsts and their viticulturist Sebastian Schür the vineyards are the biggest asset in the production of high qualitiy wines. Whether it's the high density of planting, best rootstocks and scions, low trellises, optimal humus content, plant protection and selective picking, all aspects are regarded as equally essential and from pruning to picking all the most important work in the vineyards is done by hand. Altogether Weingut Fürst has 20 hectares of vines, with 13 hectares of the Centgrafenberg vineyard the biggest block.


Bürgstadt, 11 ha. As a result of the practice of gavelkind over centuries, the vineyards are split into 20 plots, creating a broad spectrum of soil composition. The higher the content of fertile loam, the better the soils are suited for growing white wines, whereas the more stony plots are perfect for the reds.


Bürgstadt, 2.5 ha, partially terraced, Großes Gewächs since 2003, primary rock covered by 0.5-2m of warm, well drained and aerated surface soil The ideal vineyard soil, though quite unforgiving when it comes to mistakes in husbandry. Each year the Hundsrück makes for the most powerful and spicy Pinot in our portfolio.

Pictures: In the Vineyards


Klingenberg, 1.3 ha, steep terraces, red sandstone, one of Germany's famous historical pinot sites, In 2004 Paul and Sebastian bought 3 plots on this impressive slope, including the one between the wing walls of Clingenburg castle . Between 2004 and 2006 they were planted with the best Pinot vines and hundreds of yards of dry stone wall were restored.


Volkach, shell limestone, Chardonnay ,Pinot Blanc, Silvaner, named for the adjacent charterhouse of Astheim.

Pictures: Red Wine Tasting

The Cellar Philosophy

Paul Fürst: Our cellar philosophy is simple, just sustain what comes in from the vineyards.

After fermentation on the skins in open vats, the red varieties are left in french oak barrels for 12 to 20 months to mature and settle. All red wines are bottled unfiltered. White wines are pressed gently, fermented and aged in both barrels and stainless steel tanks for 6 - 12 months. Lowtech vinification assures each wine gets the necessary time to develop.

Pictures: In the Cellar

The Wines Paul Fürst Poured

2014 Weingut Rudolf Fürst Bürgstadter Riesling

2014 Weingut Rudolf Fürst Centgrafenberg Riesling

2014 Weingut Rudolf Fürst Centgrafenberg Grosses Gewächs Riesling

The best plots of the Centgrafenberg are planted with Riesling and Silvaner vines. The wines express the minerality of the stony and meagre soils and are full flavored, yet refined and spicy. Carefully aged in 2400 liter barrels, these wines can be enjoyed for a long time.

2014 Weingut Rudolf Fürst Centgrafenberg Weisser Burgunder

Pinot Blanc thrives in the easternmost part of the Centgrafenberg. The high lime content and the sheltered location have a share in that. Vinification is carried out in the traditional burgundian way with low yield and high quality.

2013 Weingut Rudolf Fürst Bürgstädter Spätburgunder

The Bürgstädter Spätburgunder is aged in 80 % used oak and untoasted 2,400 L barrels.

2013 Weingut Rudolf Fürst Centgrafenberg Spätburgunder

2013 Weingut Rudolf Fürst Klingenberger Spätburgunder

The Klingenberger Spätburgunder is aged in 40 % new french oak.

2013 Weingut Rudolf Fürst Centgrafenberg Grosses Gewächs Spätburgunder

Paul Fürst: We are trying to have silkiness, not strong tannins, and nice acidity, not sourness in the wine.

2013 Weingut Rudolf Fürst Schlossberg Grosses Gewächs Spätburgunder

Paul Fürst: Pinot Noir and Riesling are both varieties that have to dance on the tongue.

2014 Weingut Rudolf Fürst Centgrafenberg Frühburgunder

2011 Weingut Rudolf Fürst Hundsrück Grosses Gewächs Spätburgunder

Paul Fürst: I hate too much opulence in the wine. I like a crystalline elegant style. The Hundsrück used to be part of the rest of the Centgrafenberg but achieved VDP.Grosse Lage status in 2003. The vines here are around 40 years old.The Weingut Rudolf Fürst Hundsrück is one of the most expensive German red wines. See here: Germany’s Most Expensive Dry White and Red Wines

Pictures: Sebastian Fürst Joining

Stuart Pigott on German Red Wine

Stuart Pigott: Sophisticated German red wine? Really? Internationally, there’s still a lot of resistance to the idea that red wines from Germany can be better than moderately good and even this would be an exception to the rule. Amongst experts and Somms around the world the standard view is still of Germany as the prototypic cool climate wine producing nation, that therefore the white wines will always work better than reds, and even these will tend to be light in body and high in acidity. Many of those experts and somms are convinced that German red wines are hopelessly over-oaked, if necessary in defiance of evidence to the contrary. The truth is that a combination of climate change and greatly increased ambition in red winemaking already began altering this significantly during the early 1990s.


Thanks Paul for a wonderful tasting, including the stunning Hundsrück.

Pictures: Bye-bye

Postings: Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015) (Published and Forthcoming)

Preview: Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

The Art Marketer: OMBIASY PR & WINE TOURS - Germany-East

Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

Tasting at Weingut Lützkendorf with Uwe Lützkendorf – Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

Weingut Pawis (Saale Unstrut): Estate Tour and Wine Tasting with Markus Pawis – Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

Weingut Thürkind in Gröst, Saale-Unstrut: Tour, Tasting and Lunch – Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

Schiller's Favorite Winemakers in the Saale Unstrut Region, Germany

Weingut Schloss Proschwitz, Prinz zur Lippe, in Zadel, Sachsen: Tour and Tasting with Prinz zur Lippe – Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

Dining with Prinz zur Lippe, Owner of Weingut Schloss Proschwitz, at the Lippe’sches Gutshaus - Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

Weingut Karl Friedrich Aust in Radebeul, Sachsen: Tour and Lunch with Tasting – Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

Visit of Weingut Klaus Zimmerling: The Wines of Klaus Zimmerling and the Art of his Wife Malgorzata Chodakoska - Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

Schiller's Favorite Winemakers in Sachsen (Saxony), Germany

Tour and Tasting at Weingut Wirsching in Iphofen in Franken with General Manager Uwe Matheus – Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

Visit and Tasting at Weingut Am Stein Ludwig Knoll in Würzburg, Franken - Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

Cellar Tour and Tasting with Star Winemaker Paul Fürst at Weingut Fürst in Franken

Würzburg and its 2 Historic Wine Taverns: Juliusspital and Bürgerspital 

Cellar Tour and Tasting at Weingut Graf Neipperg in Schwaigern, Württemberg

Tasting at Weingut Dautel in Württemberg with Christian Dautel

Wine Pairing Dinner at Restaurant Friedrich von Schiller in Bietigheim-Bissingen in Württemberg

Cellar Tour and Tasting at Weingut Herzog von Württemberg at Schloss Monrepos with Owner F.R.H. Carl Duke of Württemberg

Vineyard Tour, Cellar Tour and Tasting with Rainer Schnaitmann at Weingut Rainer Schnaitmann in Fellbach, Württemberg

Wine Tasting at Weingut Simon-Bürkle in Zwingenberg, Hessische Bergstrasse

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