Tag Archives: Nahe

Emrich-Schönleber – A reliable producer shining in the 2015 vintage

We met with Frank Schönleber, who is a decisive man, clearly spoken and with strong opinions. He takes great pride in their production and will definitely be a leading influence in the Nahe region for many years to come.

The estate is very focused on Riesling wines and during our visit we only tried Riesling and narrowed in mainly on the dry wines. During the meeting with Frank we both talked about the development in the region and the ways of working at Emrich-Schönleber. The trend both at Emrich-Schönleber and among other producers in the region has been to move from sweet wines towards dry riesling. At the peak for sweet wines their production was approximately 75% sweet Riesling wines, but today it is more or less the opposite about 25%.

We talked some time about the development in Nahe and the surrounding regions. One important change was in the regulations and split of vineyards. Until 1971 the vineyards in the region were split up in much smaller sections but because of difficulties to market the wines a reform where vineyards where grouped together to larger vineyards was implemented. In some cases this has resulted in very large vineyards with many different levels of quality and soil, thereby producing wines of different expression. This is a challenge for the consumer. One unfortunate example is the Frühlingsplätzchen vineyard that today is on both sides of Monzingen, where the section on the east side is more similar to Halenberg (also on the east side). Because of this Emrich-Schönleber produces wines that are a mix of Halenberg and grapes from the east part of Frühlingsplätzchen, but these wines cannot be named after the vineyards.

In the cellar Emrich-Schönleber uses spontaneous fermentation for some of their wines, including the Großes Gewächs (GG) wines, but for the more basic Riesling wines they add yeast. The logic behind the decision is that they want to achieve a more classic Riesling expression on the basic wines, while they allow the GG and single vineyard wines to develop a more personalized and complex character, letting the terroir of the vineyard shine through. For the spontaneous fermentation their experience is that it is better to use wood vats instead of stainless steel vats.

To reach top quality in the fruit they control the yield in the vineyards. The preference is to do this proactively for example by letting grass grow between the rows, instead of using green harvest which is a more reactive action.

One important project at Emrich-Schönleber has been the recultivation of a section of Halenberg. We had the opportunity to try three different vintages of this wine made from rather young vines. This is a wine that, of course,  will continue to develop as the vines get older, but in the 2015 vintage our impression is that the wine took a large step up in quality. We look forward to following the development where eventually these grapes will go into the GG bottling for Halenberg.

The wines we tasted

2015 Emrich-Schönleber Riesling trocken

Slate soil.

Slim fresh nose with some white stone fruit. This is carried over to the palate where we also get a sappy, fresh acidity that drives the wine. Good entry level wine with a slim and precise profile.

85p/100

2015 Emrich-Schönleber Riesling Lenz

Mainly grapes from Frühlingsplätzchen.

Fresh stone fruit and hints of white flower on this charming and seductive nose. Acidity is precise and pure and there is a slight sweetness in the background.

The wine has a fresh citric lime finish. A generous wine that is easy to enjoy.

87p/100

2015 Emrich-Schönleber Riesling “Mineral” trocken

From soil with stony quartz slate.

The nose is very slim and slightly citric. Not much generosity here. On the palate it is all about the acidity and the strong mineral bite. We also find lemon, lime and some careful stone fruit.

Energetic but very slim and citric driven.

87p/100

2015 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Riesling “Fruhtau” Trocken

From 20-25 year old vines.

Apricot, young pineapples and some lime notes. On the palate we find a fresh mineral bite and some fresh lemon notes.

The wine has a fresh finish. In total an elegant but careful and tight wine.

88p/100

2015 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Halgans Trocken2015 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Halgans Trocken

To a large extent from the vines on the steep part of Halenberg that was recently recultivated.

Initially some flint notes but then also tropical fruit, mainly stone fruit and some fresh minerals. Pure and precise nose. Zappy lemon acidity with a nice mouthwatering juiciness that stays with us in the finish. Dense and fresh tropical fruit on the palate.

This is a great Riesling wine with both energy and character.

92p/100

We tried this wine a second time in the eventing and it developed fantastically during the hours it was open.

2014 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Halgans Trocken

The wine has some residual sugar (5,7).

The nose shows petroleum and ripe, but still rather careful, fruit notes dominated by pineapple. Juicy but slightly broad acidity combined with apples and tropical fruit on a generous and enjoyable palate.

Long and juicy finish.

88p/100

2011 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Halenberg Riesling trocken

The wine that in later vintages is called “Halgans”.2011 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Halenberg Riesling trocken From a warm year with low acidity.

Rather open and warm nose with ripe tropical fruit and some petroleum notes. Same style is carried over to the palate where we also find some French nougat notes and hints of sweetness. The acidity is rather broad and juicy.

A wine with a more ripe and warm character.

87p/100

2015 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Frühlingsplätzchen Riesling Großes Gewächs2015 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Frühlingsplätzchen Riesling Großes Gewächs

Red slate, gravel and red loam. Age of vines are between 15 and 60 years.

Beautiful nose with apricot and other stone fruit, some apples and a hint of herbs. A both elegant and complex nose with great freshness.

Same notes are found on the palate where we also have a pure and precise acidity with both lime and lemon. The wine is energetic and mouthwatering and should age very well.

94-95p/100

2015 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Großes Gewächs

2015 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Großes GewächsStony blue slate and quartzite soil, producing small and concentrated grapes.

Dense and complex nose with layers of fruit where pineapple, apricot, lime and lemon are most apparent.

The acidity is rather racy and has lots of lime and lemon notes. This will probably calm down with time.

The wine is already well balanced but has a slightly more austere impression than the Frühlingsplätzchen GG at this time.

There is an amazing potential in this very complex wine, but you will have to be patient.

95-96p/100

2013 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Frühlingsplätzchen Riesling Spätlese2013 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Frühlingsplätzchen Riesling Spätlese

Rather open and ripe nose with saffron, tropical fruit and some sweet notes. Fresh but rather careful lime acidity and some white flowers on the palate.

Pleasant wine with good personality, but it lacks some precision.

88p/100

2013 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Spätlese

Slim and precise nose with some light tropical fruit and apples. Precise and fresh lime acidity combined with fresh fruit.

This is a pure and fresh Spätlese in a classical style.

91p/100

2013 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Frühlingsplätzchen Riesling Auslese

2013 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Frühlingsplätzchen Riesling AusleseNotes of honeysuckle, white flowers and some melon. Careful tingling acidity which is just enough to carry the sweetness. On the palate we also find saffron and lime together with some floral notes.

This is rather slim Auslese that manages to stay fresh even with low levels of acidity.

93p/100

Summary:

The wines of Emrich-Schönleber are defined very much by their precise acidity and the pure and fresh fruit. We would consider them to be school book examples of top level German Riesling with a very classical style.

In a year where some producers get very high levels of fruitiness Emrich-Schönleber has managed to keep a very tight profile but still with fantastic fruit notes. We where very impressed by the wines and would recommend them to anyone looking for Riesling wines that can develop well with age.

German Riesling 2015 Grosses Gewächs – Initial impressions and recommendations

During July we had the pleasure of visiting some of the top producers in Nahe, Rheinhessen and Mosel. We mainly focused on Riesling wines and we had the opportunity to taste a rather large selection of Grosses Gewächs wines from 2015.

Since many of the producers are releasing their 2015 Grosses Gewächs shortly we will in this post give you our impressions of the vintage and list our top pics from the Grosses Gewächs wines we tasted.

Later we will also publish separate posts per producer.

The producers we visited were:

  • Weingut Wittmann – Rheinhessen
  • Weingut Hermann Dönnhoff – Nahe
  • Weingut Emrich-Schönleber – Nahe
  • Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich – Nahe

We also met with Heymann-Löwenstein and Clemens Busch in the Mosel region but we did not taste their 2015 Grosses Gewächs wines since they where not ready.

About the 2015 vintage for German Riesling

After a few demanding vintages for the producers, 2015 has been a great vintage for the region. The producers we met with gave rather consistent descriptions of the vintage. Their collective view is that the grapes reached good ripeness rendering a dense and generous wine, but not fat or heavy, and still with a precise and pure acidity.

Our impressions are in line with the descriptions provided by the producers. It seems like the vintage produces fantastic wines balancing generosity and precision well. We did not experience much over ripe fruit and petroleum notes but still the wines had good generous fruit on the palate. For me the acidity is extremely important in Riesling wines and the 2015 vintage is not a disappointment, showing good precision and energy.

I will definitely stock up on German Riesling wines from 2015.

Top 3 Grosses Gewächs Rieslings of 2015

For me two producers stood out in the 2015 vintage, both for Grosses Gewächs and Ortswein, and these are Wittmann and Emrich-Schönleber. The wines from Wittmann have amazing peaks, great energy and good transparency, while Emrich-Schönleber produces perfect “by the book” Riesling wines with amazing precision and complexity.

My top three pics of the vintage are:

  • 2015 Wittmann Westhofener Morstein Riesling Großes Gewächs
  • 2015 Wittmann Westhofener Kirchspiel Riesling Großes Gewächs
  • 2015 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Großes Gewächs

Still it must be said that the vintage produced a very high average level and we tasted amazing wines from all producers.

Tasting notes from the 2015 German Grosses Gewächs wines we tasted

2015 Wittmann Westhofener Aulerde Riesling Großes Gewächs

The soil in Aulerde has less limestone than Kirchspiel and Morstein.
Rather broad and open nose showing tropical fruits like apricot and lychee. The acidity is juicy and stays for a long time in the finish.
This wine has a very generous expression but also a good structure.
91p/100

2015 Wittmann Westhofener Kirchspiel Riesling Großes Gewächs

Compared with Morstein the Kirchspiel wines are usually more open and ready to drink early and is often showing notes of grapefruit. The soil is similar to Morstein.

Very fresh nose with white stone fruit, lots of lychee and some young apricot and pears.
The acidity is amazing with a very energetic and firm expression and an abundance of minerals. Some fresh fruit notes balance the acidity well.
At the moment the wine is slightly dominated by the acidity but it should develop fantastically with time. A great wine with fantastic potential.
95p/100

2015 Wittmann Westhofener Morstein Riesling Großes Gewächs

The wines from Morstein usually has a lot of citrus and acidity. The soil has clayish marl and limestone on the upper layer and more limestone in the subsoil.

There are multiple layers of fruit on this dense and concentrated nose, but it never gets overly dominant. We also find some very slight flint and yeast notes and white flowers.
Juicy and mouthwatering acidity with a grippy expression showing both lime fruit and lemon. Again the fruit is dense and complemented by some herbal notes.
The wine already has a good balance between the acidity and the fruit and it manages to combine generosity with elegance. A truly fantastic wine.
96p/100

2015 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Frühlingsplätzchen Riesling Großes Gewächs

Red slate, gravel and red loam. Age of vines are between 15 and 60 years.

Beautiful nose with apricot and other stone fruits, some apples and a hint of herbs. A both elegant and complex nose with great freshness.
Same notes are found on the palate where we also have a pure and precise acidity with both lime fruit and lemon. The wine is energetic and mouthwatering and should age very well.
94-95p/100

2015 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Großes Gewächs

Stony blue slate and quartzite soil, producing small and concentrated grapes.

Dense and complex nose with layers of fruit where pineapple, apricot, lime fruit and lemon are most apparent.
The acidity is rather racy and has lots of lime and lemon notes. This will probably calm down with time.
The wine is already well balanced but has a slightly more austere impression than the Frühlingsplätzchen GG at this time.
There is an amazing potential in this very complex wine, but you will have to be patient.
95-96p/100

 

2015 Schäfer-Fröhlich Schloßböckelheimer Felsenberg Riesling Großes Gewächs

From approximately 60 year old vines.

Rather open and generous nose with a ripe tone to the fruit, mainly tropical, but also with clear notes of yeast and flint, that hopefully will reduce with time.
On the palate the wine is very juicy with an abundance of stone fruit, pineapple and floral notes. The acidity is precise, grippy and well needed for such an opulent wine.
92p/100

2015 Schäfer-Fröhlich Bockenauer Felseneck Riesling Großes Gewächs

From approximately 60 year old vines.

Slim and precise nose with white stone fruit, green apples and wet stone.
Precise and almost electric acidity adding energy to the wine. Careful on the fruit, but still with fresh stone fruit and green apples on the nose, but here combined with some herbal notes.
This wine has great precision and energy and will have a long life ahead.
94p/100

2015 Dönnhoff Felsenberg Riesling Großes Gewächs

Volcanic soil and vines older than 50 years.

Bright fresh stone fruit, soft tropical fruit and some mineralic elements. Beautiful and well balanced nose.
On the palate the wine gets a very fruity and juicy expression. The acidity is rather careful but manages to balance the juicy expression on the palate. In the finish we get more grape fruit in the acidity.
92p/100

2015 Dönnhoff Norheimer Dellchen Riesling Großes Gewächs

A vineyard that usually produces wines that are accessible early in their life and has a fruity and floral expression.

The nose is fresh and pure with both fruit, mainly tropical, and floral notes. Very generous and opulent.
The palate continues with the same style but the fruit is complemented by a lively acidity.
A forward and open wine.
91p/100

2015 Dönnhoff Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Riesling Großes Gewächs

A nose that starts rather carefully but then develop an intensity with fresh tropical fruit, green apples, lime and some floral notes.
The palate has great balance with a fresh and grippy acidity combined with the intense fruit also found on the nose.
This is a wine that manages to combine a restrained expression with intensity. Should have a very long life.
94p/100

2015 Dönnhoff Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Grosses Gewächs Versteigerung

This is the first dry Grosses Gewächs wine produced in 30 years in Brücke.

The wine is very expressive with an abundance of dense and layered fruit notes. We mainly find apricot and apples.
Initially the palate is rather heavy but then an energetic acidity lifts the wine. Again there is an abundance of apricot but also some stone fruit and other tropical fruit.
This is a very generous wine with a strong personality.
92p/100