Schafer-Frohlich Riesling Halbtrocken 2007
Riesling from Germany
The wine shows mineral and pear in the nose. On the palate the wine has superb balance, with pure and bright white peach fruit.
Food Affinity: A wonderfully sculpted wine that will go well with lighter-styled entrees or hors d'oeuvres.
The Wine Advocate - "The Schafer-Frohlich 2007 Riesling halbtrocken (entirely from Bockenau; largely from Felseneck, and reviewed at an earlier stage is issue 178) brims with white peach and honeydew melon accented by pungent herbs, tart berries, wet stone, and sea salt. Glossy in texture, and possessed of refinement, clarity, and length such as one can scarcely expect of a generic estate Riesling, this amazing value will remain a delight for at least 5-6 years, as the 2002 has already demonstrated. Incidentally, half of this fermented spontaneously, and half with cultured yeasts. "
While wine making has been in the family since the 1800's, the winery just recently developed into a rising star over the past few years, adding another estate to the elite in the Nahe region. While father Hans takes care of the vineyards, wife Karin and son Tim are the winemaking team. With a low yield policy (average yield around 50 hl/ha) and the recent acquisition of more great vineyard sites to their holdings, the winery is well on the way to challenge top estates such as Dönnhoff and Schönleber.
The soils in the area consist of Porphyr, Melaphyr, weathered vulcanic rock, and a mixture of red loess, red slate, and blue slate from the devonian age.
While the dry wines are representatives of great quality, the noble sweet wines are among the best of the region. The estate has achieved numerous awards with Gault Millau and other German publications.
The Schäfer-Fröhlich Estate is a member of the VDP Nahe. View all Schafer-Frohlich Wines
About Other GermanOther regions of Germany that are producing and exporting wine to the US are the Pfaltz and Nahe. The Pfaltz region, south of the Rheingau, is making both Riesling and Gewurztraminer. These white wines are generally of excellent value. The fruit character is a bit more zingy and the acidity less sharp than the Mosel & Rheingau wines. So while often not as complex, still very refreshing and usually affordable. The Nahe region is closer to the Mosel and, like the others, produces the best wines from the Riesling grape. Diverse soils here give the wines mineral flavors, but with a broader appeal.
More landwein and tafelwein producers are creating Riesling in the dry, crisp style and exporting it to the US. These are often great values and deilcious for everyday drinking.
White Wine GuruWith some of the steepest and northernmost vineyards in the world, as well as the coolest climate, Germany produces some of the best white wines in the world, mainly Riesling. Delicate, age-worthy, intense and elegant are the typical descriptions for these wines. Note that “sweet” is not a common descriptor because the idea that most German wines are sweet is just not so. In fact, the majority of wines made in Germany are dry and more recently, the country is exporting value wines that are easy to drink, extremely food friendly and, luckily for some, containing labels that are easier to read!
The classification system of Germany is somewhat confusing. Like the rest of the old world, there's some hierarchy to it all. The categories are: Tafelwien (table wine), Landwein (land wine, similar to France's Vin de Pays) and the first “Q” level, QbA. QbA wines are easy-drinking and inexpensive – the only requirement being that the wine must come from one of Germany's thirteen official wine growing regions. The final level is QmP, which is the strictest level of German wines. The qualification consists of 6 levels, based on ripeness level at harvest, though that does not always translate into sweetness level.
Here are a few definitions to help in picking out a German QmP wine:
Kabinett(cab-ee-NET)The driest level, Kabinett is usually light-bodied, low to medium in alcohol, and fairly dry. Great everyday wine and food-friendly.
Spatlese(shpate-LAY-zuh)Grapes are picked a bit later than Kabinett (Spatlese means late harvest) and have a fuller, more intense body. Most wines of this level are dry although some are off-dry.
Auslese(OWSE-lay-zuh)Wines of this level are made from select grapes harvested even later than Spatlese. The grapes are selected in bunches to make sure they are of the perfect ripeness level. One step up in both body and sweetness, Auslese wines are balanced but with a bit more sweetness – perfect with spicy Indian food.
Beerenauslese(bare-ehn-owse-lay-zuh)The longer the words get, the higher up in sweetness level you rise. Like Auslese, the grapes are selected individually, but while Auslese is selected bunches, Beerenauslese are selected berries, and usually berries affected by botrytis, or noble rot, so you have an even more specific wine, which, in turn, increases both its sweetness level and its price.
Trockenbeerenauslese(trok-ehn-bare-ehn-owse-lay-zuh)Okay, so Trocken means dry in German and yet this wine is the sweetest of the German levels. The "trocken" comes into play as the berries picked for this wine are dried, intensifying the sugars. So the wine is made from late-harvest dried berries affected with botrytis - a combination that makes a decadent (and expensive!) bottle of wine. A treat if you are able to ever try one.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.