2012 Weingut Schafer-Frohlich, Riesling Auslese, Felseneck, Nahe Germany.
The stunning Schafer-Frohlich Bockenauer Felseneck Riesling Auslese, from the 2012 vintage and tasted in half bottle, is wonderfully balanced and shows fine minerallity to go with the dense and sweet fruit and comes from a Grand Cru vineyard site in the Nahe region. The Felseneck site is set on typically steep sloops with a unique combination of mostly Blue Devonian slate and porphyry soils, which includes some volcanic, basalt, quartz and mineral rich by nature and the eastern exposures here allow for fabulous ripe flavors with a touch of exotic elements, smoky flint and spice that thrills the palate, which this lovely 2012 Felseneck Auslese does with a degree of elegance that makes this sweet wine so exciting to the senses without feeling cloying or heavy. Weingut Schafer-Flohlich, which is an estate that has really come to fame in the last 10 years under the incredibly talented Tim Frohlich grows and makes mostly dry Riesling Rieslings with a vineyard holdings of about 80% Riesling, 10% Pinot Blanc, a grape that deserves more attention in the Nahe, especially Tim Frohlich’s version, 7% Pinot Noir and 3% other grape varieties, plus they hand craft a limited Sekt (sparkling wines) as well I understand, of which I’d love to try at some point. This impressive winery, run by Tim Frohlich, the ninth generation to do so, has many fine bottlings to explore and produces around 10, 000 cases annually, focused on crisp steely wines, but also continues to do traditional fruity styles too including this Auslese and even in some years an Eiswein!
While the Felseneck GG is probably one of the finest dry Rieslings produced in Germany according to many critics, and I love the dry wines from this estate, which join the region’s most succulent offerings like those of Donnhoff, Schlossgut Diel, Gut Hermannsberg, Kruger-Rumpf, Hexamer and others, but this Auslese should not be overlooked either with its gorgeous details and brilliant length. Schafer-Frohlich, a VDP member since 2001, uses 100% wild yeast fermentations, uniquely so and sometimes difficult with sweet wines and uses about 70% stainless steel along with 20% neutral cask and some barrique for the Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir, I believe, plus Tim farms with eco friendly methods to get the best of his grapes. The 2012 Auslese is deeply floral and with a touch of tropical essences along with faint smokiness, Asian spice and see breezes before opening up on the round palate that is already starting to lose its baby fat and overt sweetness and showing extraordinary complexity, with layers of apricot, tangerine, pineapple, key lime and apple fruits along with wet shale, minty herb, saline and baking spices. This wine will be joyous for decades and will be bliss with hot spiced dishes, especially Thai and racier cuisines, this is outstanding and a wine that will help over come the fear of residual sugar!
($55 Est. & $28 Est. 375ml) 94 Points, grapelive