2015 was a watershed moment of sorts for German Riesling. The robust, yet vibrant wines throughout the country received wild praise at release. It's hard to come back the next year and argue the 2016's are "better", but in the warmer regions like the Rheinhessen and the Nahe we can certainly make the case that the vintage is profound. And when it comes to the Grosses Gëwachs, the Grand Cru-level top dry wines of the region, there's a sense of clarity, power, and snap that's remarkable. Tasting through the lineup of top bottlings recently showed just how much cut and persistence this vintage holds. In the end there was one wine that, unsurprisingly, left the greatest sense of awe.
There's no producer in Germany who's seen a meteoric rise to stardom like that of the Nahe's Tim Fröhlich. In 2005 he was named Newcomer of the Year by Gault-Millau, and in 2010 their Winemaker of the Year - the youngest ever to receive the honor. The range at Schäfer-Frölich has somehow continued to improve even from the estate's magical vintages produced over the past decade. In 2016 Fröhlich has raised the bar again, and while I won't fill these pages with "wines scores", the clamor over the estate's most prized wine, the Felseneck GG, has reached epic proportions. 

The Felseneck is a prime 7.5 hectare vineyard composed of an unusual mix of blue Devonian slate, basalt, and quartz. Within the range of GG's from Frölich it's the Felseneck that has always been the most uncompromising in its rigor and incisive mineral thread. It's built upon grace not reliant on showy tendencies of forward ripeness, but rather displays its white stone fruit in a velvet glove with a relentless sense of grip. 

The descriptors may give the impression of serious austerity in Felseneck, but all these elements are prerequisites for the intense and driving finish that puts this bottling in a category unto itself. The 2015 saw these similar characteristics, but in 2016 their is an added dimension of weightlessness that's at the core of the critic's unrivaled celebrated reviews.

The competition for adequate quantities of the Felseneck GG is always tight, and in 2016 the only opportunity was committing months in advance. I took everything I could after tasting, and today I'm very happy offer one of the world's greatest white wines, the 2016 Schäfer-Fröhlich Felseneck GG.

2016 Schäfer-Fröhlich Bockenauer Felseneck Riesling GG
$85 per bottle.