2015 saw some superb dry German Riesling at the hand of leading growers such as Schäfer-Fröhlich: Its Frühlingsplätzchen GG is a roaring success.
We had the change to taste many of the leading 2015 dry German Riesling last year. Generally speaking, while 2015 may not have been a vintage of the century for dry German Riesling, it did yield many outstanding and quite consumer-friendly wines driven by fruit and zest and which offer much immediate appeal.
Our tastings also highlighted the fact that the 2015 vintage just confirmed the relative pecking order among German growers over the last few years, with Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich producing several of the finest wines of the vintage. In particular, its Frühlingsplätzchen GG is a roaring success.
The Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich can look back at a long history as the Schäfer and Fröhlich families have been cultivating vines in the Nahe region since the 1800s (the Schäfer-Fröhlich combination came out about in the 1970s). However, it is only recently that it grew into one of the finest Estates in Germany, thanks, among others, to young and talented Tim Fröhlich who started to work at the Estate in 1995. Only six years later, in 2001, the Estate was already admitted as member of the VDP. It currently owns 21 hectares in and around Bockenau.
Tim Fröhlich is well known for being a hard worker in the vineyards and an ardent adept of very late picking. He usually starts to pick his Riesling grapes when most other Estates have finished their harvest. Despite climate change, it is not unusual for the Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich to carry out its main harvest as late as end of October or even November.
Tim Fröhlich has also developed quite a reputation for fermenting his wines with wild yeasts: “Right from my first vintage in 1995, I decided to rely on spontaneous fermentation as I strongly believe that the yeasts naturally present in the cellar, the vineyards and on the grapes are an essential part of winemaking.”
As a consequence, young wines of Schäfer-Fröhlich are easily recognizable in blind tastings because they all have a little touch of “sponti”, i.e. a little touch of reduction stink à la Prüm. Worry not, this will blow away with extensive airing and the underlying wines express the terroir of each site, especially after having matured for a few years.
The Estate only owns small parcels in the Monzinger Frühlingsplätzchen since the end of the 1990s, which are respectively situated to the west and the east of the village.
The 2015er Frühlingsplätzchen GG comes from the parcel to the west of the village. As Tim Fröhlich explains, “this is where we hold our oldest vines which are now 50-years old. These grew here on a quite steep slope composed of hard red slate and quartzite.”
The 2015er Frühlingsplätzchen was fermented in stainless steel and was made without pre-fermentation maceration: “2015 was a superb vintage, in which we had both good ripeness and good acidity levels. As usual, I harvested late to get full phenolic ripeness of the grapes. The must weights were quite high so I did not go for any pre-fermentation maceration. The Frühlingsplätzchen tends to be a quite powerful wine. It was mainly matured in stainless steel to preserve its freshness.”
The 2015er Frühlingsplätzchen is a roaring success. It manages indeed the square the circle, retaining freshness and harnessing the ripeness of the vintage.
The Estate does not own much in the Frühlingsplätzchen vineyard (less than 0.5 ha) so quantities produced are unfortunately small. No stone should however be left unturned to unearth a bottle of gem. Should it not be available in your part of the world, do worry not: The whole collection of GGs crafted in 2015 by Tim Fröhlich proves hugely successful.
We would like to finish this article with a general remark: Like all great wines, also dry German Riesling gains significantly from aging. This is no different for the GGs of Schäfer-Fröhlich (a wine which ages beautifully well over 10-15 years at least). We would therefore urge readers to leave their bottles alone to give them time to develop their full potential.
The gorgeous collection of 2015 GGs by Schäfer-Fröhlich was reviewed in Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 32 (Oct 2016). You are a subscriber and miss this Issue? Simply send us a request by email and we will be happy to send you a copy. You are not yet a subscriber and wish to get this Issue? Subscribe free of charge by registering yourself here below and ask us for a copy by email.
Monzinger Frühlingsplätzchen Riesling GG
Residual scents of spontaneous fermentation dominate the nose on this wine as minerals, grapefruit and a hint of coconut desperately try to emerge. The wine is hugely racy and spicy on the palate and leaves an endless mineral and herb-infused feel in the finish. This is mightily impressive with great potential if the acidity eventually integrates into the wine. 2023-2035
© Text by Mosel Fine Wines "The Independent Review of Mosel Riesling"
Disclaimer: Mosel Fine Wines is an independent publication and has no commercial relationship with any Estate, association or organization featured in this article.