Schäfer-Fröhlich, Riesling Trocken Bockenauer "Scheifergestein"
Schäfer-Fröhlich, Riesling Trocken Bockenauer "Scheifergestein"

Schäfer-Fröhlich, Riesling Trocken Bockenauer "Scheifergestein"

Nahe, Germany 2021 (750mL)
Regular price$56.00

Schäfer-Fröhlich, Riesling Trocken Bockenauer "Scheifergestein"

With accolades like “Best Winemaker in Germany” and “Best White Wine in the World,” Schäfer-Fröhlich has become a premier Nahe address in a quarter-century’s time; it’s all thanks to Tim Fröhlich. His singular obsession with showcasing the distinct terroir of each of his vineyards results in wines that are almost achingly transparent and precise, stripped down to their essence and yet layered with endless complexity. Today’s discovery, the “Schiefergestein,” focuses solely on his parcels planted to slate, specifically Blue Devon slate. If you can imagine squeezing liquid white gold from crushed rocks, then you’ll have a tiny sense of what this ethereal beauty offers. For Riesling lovers, this wine is a no-brainer: buy as much as you can. For Riesling skeptics, which we hope are few these days, this is the wine that will convert you!

Like most producers in the Nahe (which is surrounded by Rheinhessen, Rheingau, and the Mosel), the bulk of Tim’s production is Riesling. But his wines are standard-bearers in this region—lithe, powerful Rieslings that are unabashedly jam-packed with flavor. Perhaps only his neighbor and peer, Cornelius Dönnhoff, is on the same level. And Cornelius hasn’t yet made the “Best White Wine in the World!” A veritable soil savant, Tim is able to coax the most out of his vines with a meticulous touch, no matter the vintage. The Nahe, unlike The Mosel, has very diverse geology that shifts dramatically from parcel to parcel, and this allows for wonderful diversity of terroir. The Frölich vineyards are generally dominated by two soil types, volcanic and blue slate, with small amounts of quartzite and clay as well. As such, Tim has been producing two distinct bottlings from each of his principle soils for many vintages. They’re labeled simply “Vulkangestein” (volcanic rock) and “Scheifergestein” (slate rock). The former is all about savory, smoky power; the latter is pure precision, and drenched in crushed-rock minerality.

Though Tim is a ninth-generation grape grower, the modern winery wasn’t founded until 1970, when the Frölich and Schäfer properties merged by marriage. But it was Tim, who took the helm in 1995 at the ripe old age of 21, who really put this estate on the map. He was able to add some prized parcels, including sole ownership of two top Grosses Gewachs, “Stromberg” and “Felseneck.” Farming these steep slopes is exceedingly difficult, and is key to providing Tim with the pristine fruit he demands. In the cellar he is meticulously clean, but also insists on using only spontaneous fermentation and long lees aging in order to best showcase his precocious geology. Again, terroir transparency is his singular obsession.

The 2021 “Scheifergestein” is sourced from several parcels dominated by blue slate, including declassified fruit from Schäfer-Frölich’s most famous monopole GG, Felseneck. As mentioned, Tim has the preternatural ability to coax precision and structure from even the hottest vintages, but in 2021 he was gifted a once-in-a-generation opportunity to craft true masterpieces. A throwback classic, ’21 is already considered one of the best German vintages in the past 50 years. As such, the always structured “Scheifergestein” has the potential to improve in the cellar for at least 20 years, and probably much longer. But if you crack one early you are still in for a marvelous, mineral laden treat. Decant briefly to aerate the “sponty” notes and serve at around 50 degrees in all-purpose stem. Immediately you’ll notice waves of orchard fruit, green apples, peach skin, and key lime before more savory notes of mint, white flowers, flint, and of course crushed rocks appear on a core of super precise, saline acidity. Serve with a classic, Central European fish preparation and prepare to be floored!

Schäfer-Fröhlich, Riesling Trocken Bockenauer "Scheifergestein"

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