2016 Schäfer-Fröhlich Felseneck Riesling Grosses Gewächs


James Suckling: 99/100
Wine Advocate: 98/100
Vinous: 97/100
Wine Spectator: 93/100

This is pure magic”



Professional reviews:

James Suckling: “If you don’t already know the wines of the Nahe be prepared to be blown away by this astonishing dry riesling. Super-ripe yet cool, mineral and herbal it has enormous depth, yet remains totally vibrant. The acidity pushes you right off a cliff and you free fall through the minerals for a very long time at the truly spectacular finish. Drink now or hold.””This still proves hugely backward and primary as residues of spontaneous fermentation dominate the aromatics. The wine only gradually reveals notes of spices, lily flowers, smoke, plum and tar. It is feather light on the palate yet packed with intense slate-infused and smoky flavors. The finish is also light, airy and very delicately flowery. The freshness, elegance and lightness of this wine are quite breathtaking. This is a great Felseneck in the making. 2024-2036” 99/100 pts

Wine Advocate: “The 2016 Nahe Riesling Felseneck “GG” is super pure, precise, crystalline and flinty on the nose and palate, a great expression of the slatey terroir. There is a fascinating blueberry and floral expression like that of the Halenberg but even more fragrant and intertwined with notes of crushed slate. Harvested at the very end of October, this is a highly elegant, finessed and balanced Felseneck with perfectly ripe, juicy fruit. The wine is dry but perfectly balanced, while the finish is long, piquant and salty, full of crushed stones, fine tannins and lingering fruit intensity. The 2016 is a great dry Riesling and probably the best I have tasted here so far. 

Since I’ve known Tim Fröhlich, he has always been at least enthusiastic about the new vintage. In fact, he seems to be a true vineyard warrior who doesn’t accept any given situation as fateful. Tim always seems to have ideas and instruments to come up against the challenges of mother nature. So what did he tell me on this terribly gray and rainy December day about the 2016 vintage that gave incredibly fine and elegant wines here? “2016 has been a sensationally good year for us—one of the most relaxing ones of the past decade. Well, the early summer was the most labor-intensive we have ever had, but with August, a terrific late summer started. September and October were also perfect, so that shortfall of ripeness was equalized. Luckily, the ripening fell into the cool period, which causes this magnificent depth of flavors in the 2016s. With the harvest beginning in late September, we picked all our plots at the very best moment, even picking the grand crus until early November to get the full depth of aromas. Even the grapes for our estate Riesling were unbelievably good. For the Auslesen, we had 50% golden-yellow grapes and 50% only slightly botrytized ones. The gold-capsuled Eiswein from the Felseneck was picked in December.” Tim also gave his outlook on the 2017 vintage: “2017 will give absolutely great wines, including noble sweet wines, such as different BAs and TBAs, which are already highly delicate,” he said. Tim aims for finessed and elegant yet edgy Rieslings that are neither too round nor too charming. He has reduced the maceration times down to 2-4 hours in 2017. The fermentation took place in stainless steel and oak, or if it was just stainless steel, the wines went into a barrel for two months after the fermentation had finished. Tim’s 2016 series is just fabulous! Did you ever taste a better Pinot Blanc from Germany than Tim’s mind-blowing, precise 2016 Weisser Burgunder R? I am not sure one exists. I also adore the elegance and balance of the crystalline Pinot Noir, but it’s a pretty rare wine. As for his Rieslings, even the dry village/terroir wines are gorgeous here and have more expression than many German GG Rieslings. The Felseneck GG is probably one of the finest dry Rieslings produced in Germany so far. I can hardly think of more precision, finesse and elegance in dry Nahe Rieslings. More than this, the sweet predicate wines from this steep, dark slate site are also great wines that deserve all your attention. More and more, Tim’s Felseneck is becoming a glorious single-vineyard site that offers the finest Nahe Rieslings along with the Hermannshöhle and the Halenberg, the latter of which is always more compact and powerful but less filigreed compared to the other two aristocrats. You can also find notes for ten vintages of the Felseneck GG, ranging from 2013 back to the 2004 vintage. These notes (from February 2015) are a bit matured already. But Riesling develops only very slowly and can age for decades, so I decided to go ahead and publish them. And at least, they are my most-recent notes on one of Germany’s finest Grosses Gewächs Rieslings.98/100 pts

Vinous: Cooling mint and high-toned evocations of bittersweet floral perfume (iris, gentian) mingle with struck flint, sea breeze, wet stone and other anticipations of the remarkable diversity of mineral nuances that characterize the polished, vibrant midpalate. Nor is there any lack of luscious primary fruit in the familiar but not for that reason any less alluring guise of white peach and lime. The striking interaction of fruity, floral, and stony, smoky, crystalline, nearly ineffable mineral elements on the finish takes on kaleidoscopic dynamic and complexity, while a strong upwelling of maritime salinity serves to milk the salivary glands. The sense of sheer energy and penetration here goes beyond even that of the old-vines-dominated Stromberg, leaving one’s gullet reverberating like the swelling of an overtone-rich organ pipe.(DS) ” 97/100 pts

Wine Spectator: “Aromatic and juicy, this floral, medium-bodied white offers notes of hops and almond skin framing the core of bergamot, ripe pear and persimmon. Very pure, with an underlying creaminess to the saline details, accented by white pepper hints. The spicy finish is lush and persistent. Best from 2019 through 2029. ” 93/100 pts

Jancis Robinson: “Very pale greenish straw. Pungent and intriguing. Transparent, ‘cool’ and with notable freshness. Acidity is notable; probably best to wait a little. But this is so juicy and dangerously thirst-quenching. Only Germany could produce a wine like this. (JR) “

Stuart Pigott (Frankfurter Allgemeine 4-9-2017): “Spieglein, Spieglein an der Wand, wer ist das schönste GG im ganzen Nahe-Land? Ein heißer Kandidat für diesen Titel ist der 2016er Felseneck GG von Schäfer-Fröhlich in Bockenau: Der Wein schmeckt nicht nur atemberaubend reif und frisch, sondern verfügt auch über ungebändigte Eigenart. Ein perfekter Wein? Das ist ein fachliches Urteil, aber es hat auch eine persönliche Dimension.”

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Grosses Gewächs