• Saar's Most Radical Symphony:   2016 Lauer Ayler Kupp Riesling

    Saar's Most Radical Symphony: 2016 Lauer Ayler Kupp Riesling "Senior"

    The wines of Germany's Saar region are best defined by expressions from its greatest heroes, Egon Müller and Hanno Zilliken. For over 2,000 years Riesling from steep slopes above the Saar tributary has been known for delicacy, finesse, and sharp clarity. These two renowned ambassadors over the last century have relied on ample residual sugar for their snap-shop of vineyard and vintage. The young Florian Lauer has a very different perspective on the Saar, and he's not been shy about it.

    Today, I'm happy to offer one of my favorite wines released in 2018, and as I see it, the single greatest value in German Riesling, The 2016 Peter Lauer Ayler Kupp "Senior" for $30 per bottle, and down to $27.95 on orders of 3 bottles or more!


    Lauer's departure from the Müller and Zilliken mold can be found in two areas that stand out the most at first glance. His wines focus on a dry-tasting style, and the Saar's conventional "lightness of being" is traded for an unapologetic, deep textural symphony. One with a saturating grip that calls to mind Metallica more so than Mozart. THIS is Florian Lauer's Saar today. And it is awesome.

    I've given up trying to count the number of times a Lauer wine has been poured for a drinker not particular fond or familiar with Riesling only to have them change their tune immediately. Florian's wines have a way of flipping preconceived notions upside down in a flash. They are radical, yet engage us all with their purity, detail, and site specificity.

    Increasingly warmer temperatures in the Saar now allow for this dry-tasting style to excel - it's one that would've been teeth-chattering just a couple decades ago. The magic of Lauer, and his home village of Ayl. comes from old, un-grafted vines worked entirely by hand. Within an exceptional range of wines all worth our attention, it's his Ayler Kupp Fass 6 "Senior" that stands as the proverbial whisper within the world of collectible German Riesling.

    Kupp is the greatest vineyard of Ayl, and here 70-yr-old un-grafted vines are tapped for a wine whose name comes from a special portion of the vineyard that Florian's grandfather was enamored with. This western-most parcel would regularly end up in the Fass 6, a specific fuder that the patriarch would write "Senior" on to mark it strictly for personal consumption. Thankfully, today Florian is more into sharing.

    $30 per bottle puts Senior on my short list of the great values in the entire world of wine. Truth be told, I promise to cellar this wine each vintage, and each year I fail miserably in this pledge. Last year at our annual champagne and fried chicken party in San Diego it was a magnum of Lauer's Senior that emptied before any 750ml bottle -the truest testament to a wine's greatness

    2016 is a vintage truly defined by its perfect, exquisite balance. Everything is in its right place. There's no shortcoming on ripeness. There's no element of acidity that stands out. Each component melds perfectly with its partners. If you're fond of Riesling or maybe been hesitant due to levels of sweetness, this is the perfect bottle to display the noble variety's prowess in the best hands from the best site.
    Posted by Alexander Rosen
  • Catching the Nahe at its Highpoint:  2017 & 2016 Schäfer-Fröhlich Felseneck GG

    Catching the Nahe at its Highpoint: 2017 & 2016 Schäfer-Fröhlich Felseneck GG

    "The 2017 Felseneck Grosses Gewächs is yet another utterly brilliant young wine...with a rock solid core, laser-like focus and great cut and grip on the complex, long and utterly seamless finish. This is pure magic."

    - John Gilman of View from the Cellar 


    To nobody's surprise, Tim Frölich has yet again set the bar for dry Riesling in 2017 with his Felseneck GG. Today I'm happy to offer both the 2017 and 2016 vintages with special pricing on mixed 4-packs.

    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 Fröhlich 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, instead displaying its white stone fruit in a velvet glove and 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. 

    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-Fröhlich has somehow continued to improve even from the estate's magical vintages produced over the past decade. 

    Posted by Alexander Rosen