2019 is an epic vintage at the top ... as Weingut Reinhold Franzen underlines with one of the finest values of the year.
We already wrote this in our sneak preview to our readers in the January Issue. Our tastings published in Part I of our detailed vintage report amply confirmed it: 2019 is an epic vintage at the top, and this thanks to not excessive Oechsle degrees, bright and ripe flavors, and impeccable sweetness-acidity balance.
One of the finest values of the vintage is undoubtedly the superb Riesling Der Sommer war sehr Gross by Weingut Reinhold Franzen.
Do you know Weingut Reinhold Franzen? Chances are that this small family Estate in Bremm is not yet as present in the eyes of Riesling lovers as some other more famous Estates, despite the fact that it has been producing some of the finest Riesling since several years now.
In order to understand this Estate, one needs unfortunately to start with a tragic flashback: In 2010, Reinhold Franzen dies in a horrible vineyard accident. His son Kilian was still at winemaking school and had to rush home to take over the Estate together with his then girlfriend and now wife Angelina.
They completely transformed the style of the Estate to one of classic elegance and finesse. As Kilian Franzen explains: “We keep a hugely careful eye that the sugar levels do not shoot through the roof, as we want to make elegant wines which are not driven by alcohol, always a risk in our warm part of the Mosel.” The result is wines which rarely have more than 12.5% alcohol.
Its wines see some pre-fermentation cold soak and also undergo a partial malolactic fermentation, which occurs in parallel to the alcoholic fermentation with ambient yeasts. This yields subtly zesty and creamy wines packed with flavors.
In recent years, the Estate went further: “We have essentially stopped to defoliate the vines during the summer in order to provide the grapes with some shade and avoid these ripe and sometimes pungent flavors of tea.”
This approach paid off handsomely in 2019. Simply put, the collection is stunning, and this from its Estate wines right up to some modern-classics from the Neefer Frauenberg (see the Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 53 – Aug 2020 for a detailed account).
Luckily for astute wine lovers, the Estate’s incredible quality level - on par with that of the best of the region - has not yet translated into its prices. The wines, including its Estate wine “Der Sommer war sehr Gross”, are still very fairly priced.
Immediately after Kilian and Angelina Franzen had to take over the Estate, they felt the need to launch a new Estate wine: “We wanted to develop our collection and started at the bottom of the scale, with a special Estate wine made from the different terroir which we tend around Bremm, i.e. from the Ellerer Kapplay, a vineyard a bit higher up which adds freshness, the Bremmer Abtei Stuben for some depth, and a large part from younger vines from our two flagship Grand Cru vineyards, the Bremmer Calmont and the Neefer Frauenberg, for terroir complexity.”
The wine took its name (literally meaning “the summer was really great”) from a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke, as Kilian Franzen explained: “We had to learn this poem in school and this sentence, as well as the poem as a whole, rang a chord with what we wanted to achieve.” The full text of the poem can be found here (in German) for those interested!
The resulting wine proves simply stunning in 2019. Legally dry, it offers the freshness and precision associated with the great dry Mosel wines and delivers this with the intensity and finesse of top dry Riesling. As we wrote in the tasting note, this wine will give many “GGs” a run for their money: It is that good!
Overall, we were hugely impressed by the quality of the Estate’s 2019 collection, one of the finest in the region this year. So get yourself a bit of summer and discover the other great wines that Weingut Reinhold Franzen crafted in 2019!
The stunning 2019 collection by Reinhold Franzen
was reviewed in the Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 53 (Aug 2020).
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Riesling Der Sommer war sehr Gross
The 2019er Riesling Der Sommer war sehr gross (literally translated into “The summer was really great”) was made from up to 60-year-old vines in the Bremmer Abtei Kloster Stuben, Ellerer Höll, Bremmer Calmont, and Neefer Frauenberg, and was fermented down to legally dry levels of residual sugar (8 g/l). It offers a remarkably fresh and engaging nose made of vineyard peach, apple, elderflower, smoke, blue berried fruits, and a hint of cream. A superb kick of acidity makes for a gorgeously playful feel on the barely off-dry tasting palate. The finish is all about bright fruits, subtle floral elements, a hint of cream, and some smoke, all framed by a ripe and lively acidity. The aftertaste is light-footed, airy, and makes one magically go for more: This gorgeous effort completely transcends the normal standards of Estate wines and will give many “GGs” a run for their money: It is THAT impressive! Now-2029
© Text by Mosel Fine Wines "The Independent Review of Mosel Riesling ... and beyond!"
Disclaimer: Mosel Fine Wines is an independent publication and has no commercial relationship with any Estate, association or organization featured in this article.