The Nahe wine region: Schaefer-Froehlich Winery in Bockenau, Nahe

August 1, 2012

A vineyard in Bockenau, Nahe

Every year when we visit Germany in summer, we start our family vacation with a hearty breakfast in Bad Sobernheim, Nahe. We drive to this picturesque little town on the banks of the Nahe river right from Frankfurt airport.

After we have fortified ourselves, we usually pay a visit to one of the wineries in the vicinity. This year’s choice was the family winery of Schaefer-Froehlich in Bockenau, Nahe.

Regular readers of my blog know how fond I am of the Nahe wine region. Family tradition and my own history somehow tie me to this very diverse grape growing region. I nurture these emotional links through the enjoyment of the region’s excellent Riesling wines.

The Schaefer-Froehlich winery is highly decorated and its outstanding wines regularly win awards in national and international wine events. In 2010 Tim Froehlich was selected by Gault Millau as the wine-maker of the year. And Eichelmann awarded it the winery-of-the-year award in 2011.

The entrance to the vintner’s house

I called the winery to make sure that someone was there to receive us. Very often I just go and take my chances. It was good that I called, the voice on the other side told me that they were very busy with the bottling of the last vintage, and that it was not a good time to visit. But I was able to convince the person to welcome us since we came from far away and because we would not stay long.

Bottling in full swing at Schaefer-Froehlich winery

We were received by Nicole Froehlich. She led us to the cosy tasting room up on the first floor, where we started right away with serious business. Wine tasting so early in the morning has its challenges.

Nicole Froehlich introducing the wines

I did not want to waste the host’s time and overstay our welcome. Therefore I restricted the tasting to two wines only, both dry Riesling wines, one grown on volcanic soil, the other one on slate. Both are excellent wines, young and exhilarating with aging potential and great character. This is Riesling as I like it.

The two dry Riesling wines by Schaefer-Froehlich

Interestingly enough the volcanic one appealed to me more than the Riesling grown on slate, despite its greater complexity and finesse. My wife preferred the “slate Riesling”.

I wonder what the grand-cru wines are like when the “ordinary wines” of Schaefer-Froehlich are such delicacies. Guess what” I will tell you after my next visit to this wonderful place.

The wine tasting crew from down under

I highly recommend this winery, it’s wines are outstanding and service is just great. Please call them before you rock up.

Address:
Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich
Schulstraße 6,
55595 Bockenau, Nahe
Tel.: +49 6758 6521
Fax: +49 6758 8794
www.weingut-schaefer-froehlich.de


Wine bars in Trier – “Weinsinnig”

August 14, 2011

That’s how it started

Near my mother’s place in Trier, there was a car parked on the street, which had caught my attention.

It advertised for a wine bar and shop of which I never had heard off before. “Weinsinnig” was the name of the place.

It took me a while until I had the opportunity to check it out myself. I learned that “Weinsinnig” had already opened in 2009. As a creature of habit I patronize the places I know since many years and somehow neglected the search for the new.

The brochure

We had seen the window of the bar in the daytime and knew it was opening only after 17h (Sunday closed). On our last evening in Trier, a warmish Tuesday night, we went to gain a first hand experience of it.

The wine list on the wall

“Weinsinnig” was a very pleasant surprise. Made for the young, with innovative ideas and concepts, it offers with a wine experience of a different kink. It starts with the absence of a wine list. Instead one can “walk the wine list”, which means along the wall the wines on offer by the glass (see photo above) are displayed (a bottle and a short description of the wine/winery). You walk along an select your wine.

A larger shelf displays the wines sold by the bottle either for home consumption or for enjoyment on thew premises.

Food is limited to “Flammkuchen”, the German-Alsatian equivalent to a simple pizza. Once a month a tasting with a wine-maker is scheduled in the form of a quiz, which seems to be a lot of fun.

Since we had sampled a lot of the local wines from the Mosel during the past couple of days, I went for a wine from the Pfalz (Palatinate). My choice was a ‘2007 Kalkmergel Pinot Noir’ by the Knipser winery, in Laumersheim.

The first Knipser wine was ‘credenced’ to me by my old friend Norbert in 1991 when we both worked in Beijing, China.

2007 Knipser Pinot Noir, Pfalz

2011 has been a ripper year for the Knipser family. Three of the most respected wine guides awarded the Knisper Estate the highest recognition level (5 stars/grapes, etc.). It’s white wine collection was awarded by the Eichelmann wie guide “the best collection of the year” for the Knipser Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay wines.

2007 “Kalkmergel” Pint Noir by Knipser, Pfalz

The wine is round and full with aromas of raspberries and cherries. It has fine tannins, a good balance of the acids and a good structure. I liked the long finish.

Trier at night

“Weinsinnig’ was a true find. The service is excellent, the wine prices moderate and if you need blankets or cushions because the temperature outside is a bit on the lower side, they will oblige and help to keep you warm.

If you visit Trier, I recommend you reserve an evening for a wine tasting at this young and modern wine bar.

Address:
Weinsinnig Weinbar und verkauf
Palaststr. 12
D-54290 Trier
Tel.: +49-651-9790156
www.weinsinnig.com

Weingut Knipser
Johannishof
Haupstraße 47
D-76229 Laumersheim/Pfalz
Tel.: +49-6238-742
Fax.: +49-62384-377
www.weingut-knipser.de


Emrich-Schönleber Riesling Sekt, Nahe. Germany

August 31, 2010

One of the best wineries along the Nahe river is Weingut Emrich-Schönleber in the village of Monzingen. The family vineyards (about 33 acres) produce great wines, mostly Riesling.

In 2010 the Gault Millau Wine Guide gave 10 of the 17 wines of the Emrich-Schönleber Estate 90 or more points. The wine writer Jancis Robinson was extremely impressed by the ‘2009 Halenberg Auslese’. 19.5 of 20 points was her verdict which is truly awesome.

Recently we visited the winery. Coming straight from Frankfurt Airport, we drove along the Nahe wine route, passed Bad Kreuznach, and spontaneously dropped in to pick up some bottles of wine.

In the yard, we bumped into Mr. Emrich-Schönleber senior, who was on his way out. In passing he referred us to his wife who was so kind to introduce us to the wines of the estate. Since it was early in the morning, we did not feel like tasting wine (we just came from breakfast in the small town of Sobernheim). Moreover, after many hours of flight, we had just gotten off the plane.

Our selection was quick but firm. I knew some of the ‘grand cru’ locations of Monzingen. After all, I had spent most of my school holidays in the neighbouring village of Martinstein where my maternal grandfather (Hans-Heinrich Schuessler) had introduced me to the amazing world of Nahe wines at a rather tender age.

We chose a nice cross section of Emrich-Schönleber’s wines including two sparkling ones. Ms. Emrich-Schönleber was so kind to add a small bottle of sweet desert wine as a gift. We were flabbergasted.

The bottle of Riesling Sekt (Sekt is German for ‘sparkling’) below did not last long. Only after a couple of hours, when the bottle was sufficiently cold, we opened it to celebrate the start of our holidays in Trier. What an auspicious start to a summer holiday in Europe?

Emrich-Schönleber Riesling Sekt

The Riesling Sekt is produced using the classical method of bottle fermentation. Everything is done by hand. Due to the acidity of the Riesling fruit, the wine displays a beautiful spectrum of fine acids. Moreover, it is dry and fruity with lots of fizz. The magnificent minerality of the wine is another characteristic.

Emrich-Schönleber Riesling Sekt

Nahe wines, especially the Rieslings, are one of the best kept secrets in Germany. You should visit this internationally little known wine region. It’s just about an hours drive west of Frankfurt Airport. I promise you: you will not regret it.

Address:
Weingut Emrich-Schönleber
Soonwaldstraße 10a
D-55569 Monzingen
Tel.: +49-67 51-27 33
Fax: +49-67 51-48 64
www.emrich-schoenleber.de