Thursday, February 9, 2017
Tasting at Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich in Bockenau, Nahe - Germany-North Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours
In the Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland 2017, Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich was promoted, with 3 others, to the 5/5 grapes category. There are now 13 producers in this top category. We went through a massive tasting, including both bone-dry and sweet-style wines. All were Riesling.
Mats Genheimer, the partner of Heike Peter (sister of Tim Fröhlich and ex-wife of Karsten Peter, Managing Director and Winemaker at Gut Herrmansberg), was our host.
The Fröhlich family has been cultivating vines since 1800. Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich was founded in the 19702 through marriage. In the early 1990s Tim took over the family estate and created his own first vintage in 1995. Since then he has been awarded lots of titles by various German wine competitions, such as winemaker of the year by Gault-Millau, number one at the Berlin Riesling Cup, etc.
The outstanding steep vineyard sites are the foundation for unmistakable, authentic wines. In conjunction with these great sites, low yields, painstaking vineyard management, a strong feeling for wild yeast fermentation, perfectionism in the cellar, and a lust for minerality are the hallmark of the Schäfer-Fröhlich wines.
Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich totals 21 hectares today, of which 18 hectares is accounted for by Riesling. 82% of the production is dry.
Bockenauer Felseneck - Blue Devonian slate, basalt and quartz
Schlossbockelheimer Felsenberg - Weathered volcanic porphyry soils and quartz
Schlossbockelheimer Kupfergrube - Weathered volcanic porphyry soils
Monzinger Halenberg - Blue slate, gravel and quartz
Monzinger Frulingsplatchen - Red slate, gravel and quartz
10% Pinot Blanc
7% Pinot Noir
Tim‘s father is managing the vineyards and Tim‘s wife is also involved in winemaking. Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich was accepted to the VDP, the association of about 200 elite winemakers, in 2001.
2016 VDP Trade Fair Weinbörse - Vintage 2015 - in Mainz: Schiller’s Report
Rudi Wiest: Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich
Rudi Wiest is Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich‘s US importer.
The Gault-Millau/German Wine Guide in 2005 chose Tim Fröhlich as newcomer of the year and just a few years later in 2010 as the youngest winemaker of the year ever. In 1998 he stepped into a virtually unknown estate and shaped it into one of the top Nahe estates in a very short period of time.
The estate has ownership in the slate based, quartzite laced sites of Felseneck in Bockenau and Halenberg and Frühlingsplätzchen (red slate here) in Monzingen and the porphyr based vineyards Stromberg in Bockenau and Felsenberg and Kupfergrube in Schlossböckelheim.
Tim is a “master” of indigenous yeast fermentation. His Grosses Gewächs wines continuously garner some of the highest scores in Germany and his noble sweets and Eisweins are some of the finest produced anywhere. Schäfer-Fröhlich is a member of the VDP.
John Gilman, A View From the Cellar, Issue #62:
Tim Fröhlich was in an extremely good mood as he pulled back the curtain on his stunning range of 2015ers... The first Riesling grapes for the dry wines were brought in on the 10th of October this year and parcels were collected as they reached optimum ripeness over the course of the next thirty days, with the very last selections for the Grosses Gewächs bottlings being brought in over the course of the first ten days in November. Contrast this with the harvest of 2014, when everything had be to be brought in between the 29th of September and the 19th of October, due to inclement weather and the pressure of rot and it is easy to imagine how much more relaxed the picking was here in 2015. Given fully six weeks to harvest in leisurely and precise fashion, it is not surprising that each and every Schäfer-Fröhlich 2015er that I tasted was showing beautifully and this seems likely to be one of the greatest vintages in the career (thus far) of Tim Fröhlich.
Where it was the case that some of the dry wines in other cellars seemed a bit forced stylistically, this is emphatically not the case at Schäfer-Fröhlich in 2015, and the dry bottlings were every bit as fine as the Prädikat wines that I sampled during my visit, and certainly Tim Fröhlich will have (once again) produced some of the most beautiful Grosses Gewächs bottlings in the vintage. But, one should also pay attention to the other Trocken Riesling bottlings here in 2015, which are really of exceptional quality and the gap between them and the GGs this year is smaller than in less gifted vintages and they will represent some of the best values to be found in 2015 dry Riesling. As far as the Grosses Gewächs bottlings go in 2015, the distance out of the blocks in quality between this set and the really strong 2014ers here is not immense, as Tim Fröhlich really made stunning examples of the 2014 vintage, but there is an effortless beauty to the 2015 GGs that is really magical and augurs so very, very well for their future development in the cellar. Perhaps, ten years down the road, the 2015ers will have opened up a bit more distance between themselves and the superb 2014 GGs here, but out of the blocks, the two vintages’ GGs are really fairly close in quality. Beyond the range of 2015 Prädikat wines that I sampled on my visit, there are gold kap and some dessert wines also in the cellars here from this great vintage, but they were either not ready to show or still gently bubbling away in fermentation. A great range of 2015ers!
Der Feinschmecker: Tim Fröhlich
In his youth Tim Fröhlich counts as a great footballing talent; it even seems possible that he will pursue a career as a professional footballer. When an injury sets him back, the time is right for winemaking. In 1995 Tim Fröhlich takes over the running of the family owned vineyard, which had not been granted really great merits until that point.
Soon after the generational transfer – which Tim’s father Hans Fröhlich accompanies energetically in taking care of the business outside the vineyard, Tim Fröhlich strives to become one of the top Riesling producers in the area. At the first class vineyards of the business, such as Halenberg in Monzing and Felseneck in Bockenau, Fröhlich rigorously limits the yield in order to harvest ripe and healthy grapes for his dry wines. The amount of work in the vineyard had trebled since his entry into the vineyard, says Fröhlich in 2010.
The efforts are rewarded. Fröhlich wins the “German Riesling prize” for the first time with his 2003 “Großes Gewächs” (great growth) from the Halenberg in 2004. At that time the FEINSCHMECKER editorial staff presents the “German Riesling Prize” together with the “Krautkrämer” hotel in Münster. A success which the likeable young winemaker can repeat a few years later: With the vintage 2009, Fröhlich wins the FEINSCHMECKER “German Riesling Cup” (now with a new name), this time with a “Großes Gewächs” (great growth) from the Felseneck vineyard. Tim Fröhlich who is just 29 years old at the time, does not only have an understanding of dry wines. This is proven by his brilliant Beerenauslese (select berry harvest) and Trockenbeerenauslese (select dry berry harvest) as well as by his Eiswein (ice wine) with almost breathtaking density.
Mats Genheimer took us through an impressive selection of wines, covering both Tim Fröhlich's dry and sweet-ytyle wines. .
2015 Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich, Nahe Fröhlich trocken Gutswein
2015 Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich, Vulkangestein, Riesling trocken Ortswein
2014 Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich, Vulkangestein, Riesling trocken Ortswein
2015 Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich, Schiefergestein, Bockenauer Riesling trocken Ortswein
2014 Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich, Schiefergestein, Bockenauer Riesling trocken Ortswein
2015 Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich, Felsenberg, Riesling trocken GG
2015 Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich, Felseneck, Riesling trocken GG
2015 Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich, Felseneck, Riesling Kabinett
2015 Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich, Felseneck, Riesling Spätlese
2015 Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich, Felseneck, Riesling Spätlese Goldkapsel
2013 Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich, Felseneck, Riesling Spätlese
2013 Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich, Felseneck, Riesling Auslese
Postings: Germany-North Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours: Quintessential German Riesling and the Northernmost Pinot Noir (Posted and Forthcoming)
Germany-North Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours: Quintessential German Riesling and the Northernmost Pinot Noir
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