2018 Weingut Friedrich Becker, Chardonnay, Schweigen Cru, Pfalz, Germany.
The Becker Schweigen Chardonnay is a mind blowing wine of class, mineral intensity and depth with true wow factor personality and seductive charm, it shows a laser focus that rivals Montee de Tonnere, the Chablis Premier Cru (site) that is one of the world’s great Chardonnay terroir driven vineyards! Thank you to Christian Adams, a German wine specialist, who enthusiastically reps Becker here in California and brought this majestic bottle to me, it really impressed me and while I’m a long time fan of Becker, I mostly have had only his remarkable Pinot Noirs from his estate in the Pfalz that actually straddles the border between Germany and France with his vines set in both countries on mix of sandstones with, as Becker says, gently rising vineyards and surrounded by the serene and picturesque Palatinate forest. Interestingly enough, Becker uses most of his Chardonnay grapes for his Sparkling (Sekt) wines and only selects his absolutely best bunches for this single vineyard Schweigen bottling, making it a rare treat, especially this vintage. The Becker Schweigen Chardonnay has a striking nose of crushed stones, white flowers, hazelnut and a flinty note before opening up on the crisply dry/steely medium bodied palate, delivering divine Chard purity with racy acidity, but with well ripened citrus, delicate peach and classic green apple and Bosc pear fruit. This wine is electric in mouth, again remind me of Chablis, and is accented by clove spice, salty wet rock, subtle wood and brioche, gaining a graceful roundness and opulence with air.
The winemaking at Weingut Friedrich Becker is patient and gentle with each vineyard seeing care hand sorting and the grapes see an even more careful selection in the cellar with the musts starting with spontaneous yeast fermentation in steel tanks, after which Becker racks to barrels for aging, with the 2018 Schweigen Chardonnay seeing about a year in French oak, with up to 40% new wood. The winery is run by father and son, Friedrich (Fritz) senior and junior, and as mentioned, this Weingut makes some of the most compelling Pinot Noirs in Germany, they even mentor and collaborate with other Pinot producers in the country, such is the talents they have with this varietal. The Becker wines were introduced to me by Tim Gaiser, one of the most knowledgable sommeliers in America, and is an expert on Germany’s wines, it was at that time before I’d taken my first trip to the German wine regions and I was so moved by Becker’s and Mayer-Nakel’s Spatburgunders (Pinot Noir) I made it a prior to search them out, and now I am just as excited to explore the Chards. The Becker estate has been a sustainable farm for many generations, but it was Friedrich Sr that first realized the potential of grape vines here, and back in 1973, Friedrich Becker Sr. filled his first bottles with the winery’s iconic fox on the label, and the rest, as they, is history. Becker is a proud member of the VDP and his estate (Cru) wines, such as this White Burgundy like Schweigen Chardonnay, are Erste and Grosse Lagen sites, recognized as special sites for exceptional quality. Becker also farms, non estate sites in the area and bottles those as Becker Family Wines and they are outstanding values, in particular, their Pinot Blanc, which I also tasted and review in the near future.
($55 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive