2017 Schäfer-Fröhlich "Vulkangestein" Riesling Trocken Nahe (Dry)

SKU #1412484 94 points James Suckling

 The flint and smoke nose could hardly be more minerally. Powerful and racy with stunning, lemon acidity and a big punch of minerality at the long, bold finish. Drink or hold.  (9/2018)

92 points John Gilman

 The 2017 Vulkangestein Trocken was bottled two weeks prior to my visit, but showing wonderfully. The blend this year is more heavily tilted to the Stromberg vineyard than the usually one-third each of Stromberg, Felsenberg and Kupfergrube fruit, as the Stromberg was not frosted and the Schlossböckelheim vineyards were hit a bit by the freeze. As is the case with the 2017 Estate Riesling, the wine has an extra level of depth and complexity this year. The bouquet wafts from the glass in a superb nose of grapefruit, lemon, wild yeasts, citrus peel, a very complex base of volcanic minerality and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is racy, full and very elegant in profile, with a superb core, stunning length and grip and a very complex, vibrant and refined finish. This is a superb bottle of wine by any measure! Drink between 2021-2050.  (6/2018)

92 points Vinous

 From mature stands of vines, largely in the Stromberg, this was harvested around a week ahead of the corresponding Grosses Gewächs. Crushed stone is suggested already on the nose, along with pit-tinged peach and zesty grapefruit. The palpably dense palate displays strong piquancy and palpable stone suffusion to complement its rich, generously-juicy fruit. The bright finish, in typical Schäfer-Fröhlich fashion, really gets a purchase on the salivary glands. (DS)  (4/2018)

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Price: $29.99
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By: Adam Winkel | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/3/2019 | Send Email
My lesser instinct makes me want to call this a dry Riesling for the initiated because of the regal and uncompromising mineral expression and an indelible house style, but I think anyone can get into this. Vulkangestein is a single-village wine in 2017 and it's certainly an excellent value, as it's declassified from only top vineyards. The house style I refer to is the presence of spontaneous fermentation aromas from native yeast (most Germans use cultured yeast) as well as a noticeable matchstick-like dose of sulphur. But Schäfer-Fröhlich is the producer that I've learned to appreciate the most in recent years as my tastes have shifted deep into the trocken spectrum. This wine can be enjoyed at this young stage and it's an excellent gateway to their monumental Grosses Gewachs bottlings.

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- While the rest of the world has often misappropriated the name--Welchriesling, Riesling Italico, Gray Riesling and Emerald Riesling are all names applied to varieties that are NOT Riesling--this exceptional German varietal has managed to maintain its identity. Perhaps its biggest claims to fame are its intoxicating perfume, often described as having honeyed stone fruit, herb, apple and citrus notes, and its incredible longevity - the wines lasting for decades. Aged Rieslings often take on a distinctive and alluring Petrol-like aroma. Within Germany, the grape seems to do best in the warming slate soils of the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer. Other German regions that turn out great Rieslings include Pfalz, Rheingau and Nahe. German Rieslings are made in a range of ripeness levels. The top wines are assigned Prädikat levels to describe their ripeness at harvest. These are: Kabinett, Spätlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Eiswein and Trockenbeerenauslese. Riesling has also achieved acclaim in France's Alsace, the only region in that country where the grape is officially permitted. Alsatian Rieslings are typically dry and wonderfully aromatic. Austrian Riesling is also steadily gaining praise and fine Riesling is also produced in Italy's Alto-Adige and Friuli, in Slovenia and much of Central and Eastern Europe. In the New World its stronghold is Australia, where it does best in the Eden and Clare Valleys. It is also planted in smaller amounts in New Zealand. In the US, winemakers are eschewing the syrupy sweet versions of the 1970s and 1980s, instead making elegant and balanced wines in both California and Washington State.


- Thanks to a recent string of excellent vintages and to the reemergence of Germany onto the international wine writing scene, this is a country that's hot, hot, hot! Germany is divided into 13 wine Region and produces a very wide variety of wine styles, from incredibly high-acid, dry wines to some of the sweetest, most unctuous concoctions on the planet and even a few surprisingly hearty reds. Most of the highest-quality wines are grown on steep banks along the rivers in these Region. Small vineyards are still mostly hand tended and picked, due to the difficult nature of mechanization on these slopes. White wine production accounts for nearly 80% of the total with Riesling being the most important varietal, though Muller-Thurgau is still more widely planted.