2020 Weingut Hans Wirsching, Sylvaner Trocken, Iphofer, Franken, Germany.
The bright, medium bodied and surprisingly complex Wirsching dry Silvaner is more proof that the 2020 vintage in Germany is pretty epic and not just in the usual regions, it also brings a shining light to the quality of the Silvaner grape, which doesn’t get the attention it deserves. In the Franconia or Franken region in southern Germany, Silvaner is the most important grape variety, with about 40% of the region planted to Silvaner and where its best expression seems to come through in the wines. At Wirsching’s estate, they almost exclusively offer what they call “Franconian Dry” Silvaners, like this Iphofer Trocken. While Silvaner leads the way In Franconia, Riesling still has a role here, though limited at around 5% of total plantings and it is only found in the best sites. This Wirsching Iphofer Trocken is pale and looks lighter than what you get on the textured palate with citrus blossom, earthy loam and orchard fruits leading the way along with melon, white peach, lemon/lime and quince fruits, as well as classic herbal notes, mineral and a mouth watering saline. This wine is bone dry and zesty with nice smooth acidity, making it a white wine that goes with many food choices, including fish, chicken and salads. If you have not had Silvaner, there has never been a better time to try it, especially from here in Franken, but also it is found in Alsace and other regions within Germany itself, where it is reaching even greater levels of quality.
The mudstone soils here is a formed from sedimentary rock consisting of clays interspersed with fine and thicker gypsum veins that emerged about 235-231 million years ago, which gives the wines, along with a slightly warmer climate, their terroir character. But maybe the most distinct thing you notice about Franken wines is the bottle shape, called Bocksbeutel, the name of this unique, typical bottle originates from the word “book” because, it was used as a hip flask by monks in the region, it fitted into the pouch in which the monks or pilgrims carried their prayer book. In ancient times these mouth-blown glass bottles were a precious drinking vessels. The winery adds, that later, in the Middle Ages, it was mainly used as a pilgrim’s bottle made of glass or clay, but since the beginning of the 18th century, it has been the trademark bottle of the exceptional wines, and mainly Silvaner, from Franconia. The Hans Wirsching wine estate is one of the most traditional and renowned estates in Franconia is currently run by Andrea Wirsching and Dr. Heinrich Wirsching and farm about 90 hectares in and around Iphofen. They produce mainly dry white wines made from grape varieties including Silvaner of course, as well as Riesling, Scheurebe, along with Pinot varieties, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris, plus some Pinot Noir. The small wine town of Iphofen was first mentioned in a document back in 741 AD and was home to the Franconian royal court, and was an important route from Frankfurt via Würzburg and Fürth to Regensburg, making it a key trade intersection and a great place to sell wine, that continues today.
($15 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive