Next time you’re sailing down the Mosel, turn right at Koblenz when it hits the Rhine….carry on through Mittelrhein and you will come to the German wine producing region of the Nahe. The wines of Nahe don’t seem to get as much airtime as the ones from….say the Mosel, Pfalz or Rheingau….but there are some terrific producers in the region and one that is hitting all the right buttons is Schafer-Frohlich.
The region itself has been around since Roman times and the village of Monzingen was mentioned in print as a “wine village” in the year 778. It wasn’t until the German wine laws were passed in 1971 that the region was officially defined and before that point its wines were sold generically as “Rhine Wine”. With around 4,200 ha it is one of the smaller German wine regions and there is a great diversity of site & soil to be found within its boundaries.
In the lower Nahe its mainly slate & quartzite, in the middle stretches there’s more weathered sandstone, loess, and loam and in the upper Nahe you’ll find quartzite, slate & sandstone. Stylistically ….and painting with a fairly broad brush…..you’ll find that the wines of the Nahe sit somewhere between the Mosel & the Rhine. While not as filigreed and focused as the Mosel they have spice, fruit weight, richness and opulence, coupled with a minerally acid line that balances out those richer characters beautifully.
While many consider the wines of Dönnhoff to be the pinnacle in the region…..Tim Frohlich is certainly the bolter in the Nahe. Tim didn’t take the same route as most wine-makers in Germany…..that is study at Geisenheim, do a few vintages, score a winemaking gig, etc…..at age of 21 after only a few years as an intern, he put his hand up to take over the family estate and away he went…..he seems to be a very intuitive winemaker.
Tim excels not only in wines with residual sugar, but also dry wines…..all are made in a very assured style with plenty of cut & thrust, plenty of detail and more than enough minerally drive to keep the grumpiest of rock-hounds happy. The estate utilises natural yeasts for all their wines.
Pale straw gold in colour with rich aromas of white peach and apple with dashes of citrus fruits……grapefruit & limes. There are hints of honeysuckle. green papaya and mango with soft spice, toast, cut hay and vivid, mineral and wet stone facets.
Super stony, mineral-laden entry onto the palate with plenty of rich ripe peach and grapefruit characters along with hints of lemon curd and green mango. There’s dabs of light spice, nougat and toast also with a pleasing weight and texture across the palate. Nice tension with rich fruit balanced nicely by the tangy, sherbet-like acid line. Lovely drinking it finishes dry….not exactly bone-dry and there is some nice phenolic grip on the finish which lingers nicely with ripe juicy peach, stone and just a herbal twist. Great density and balance.
Price: $60 – Closure: Cork – Alcohol: 13% – Source: Sample – Importer: Eurocentric Wine