WorldWine Tasting Report

2010-09-30

Franconia renewed

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Yes, we must confess it: For too long, we have neglected the German wine growing region of Franconia, although some of its wines occasionally showed up in our tastings as you will easily note by searching or wine archives for "Franken", the German name of the region. Too long means exactly since 1999 because that was the year of our last great tasting report on the region. In the eleven years since, the region has lived its biggest market crisis, has seen the quality of its wines going dramatically down with the production of enormous quantities of unmarketable wines. But it has also experienced, immediately after this crisis, a considerable and widely recognized move upwards which has involved the entire region. Time to dedicate a comprehensive tasting report to this region and to confront the growers – and our readers, of course - with the real quality of its wines.


Even wine lovers who do not know the name of the region, Franconia, have most probably already heard of its most famous vineyard, the Würzburger Stein (photos: E. Supp)

No sooner said than done! And we were very happy that the regional growers association accepted our request to organize a blind tasting of Franconia’s most important varieties for us. A blind tasting that assembled, with very few exceptions, the most important and most prestigious names. The most important varieties, to us, did not mean the most widely cultivated ones, but those which open the best opportunities for Franconia on the market outside the area of Würzburg, Schweinfurt and Kitzingen. Obviously Sylvaner was one of these, followed by Riesling, even if Franconian Riesling suffers less ideal conditions than its brothers from Rhine and Mosel. Even Pinot noir, the German Spätburgunder had to be in the tasting, although, once our job done, we had to admit that Franconia seems a bit behind in its development when it comes to the quality of the reds. Some wines which the producers themselves were keen to present, as well as a small number of sweet and noble sweet wines completed the picture. A big surprise was the consistent numer of very good Pinot blanc - a variety that seems to have found its ideal terroir in Franconia.


There's no business like show business! Thist is at least what people seem to believe in the local co-operative of Sommerach.

The result of our tastings were clear and unambiguous: Franconia is back among the elite producers of Germany’s wine growing regions. And this is not only true for the “usual suspects”, such as the members of the VDP, but also for wineries so far unknown to the most, and even for some of the regional co-operatives.

Our complete tastings (comments in German)

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Göbel-Sauer
Sauer-Zehnthof

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ENO WorldWine's 30 top scorers

***** Juliusspital (Würzburg) - Würzburger Stein Silvaner 2008 Großes Gewächs
 
***** Juliusspital (Würzburg) - Würzburger Stein Riesling. 2009 Beerenauslese
 
***** Graf von Schönborn (Volkach) - Hallburger Schlossberg Riesling 2008 Trockenbeerenauslese
 
***** Horst Sauer (Escherndorf) - Escherndorfer Lump Riesling 2008 Spätlese tr.
 
***** Heinz Braun (Volkach) - Sommeracher Rosenberg Traminer 2008 Spätlese tr.
 
***** DIVINO Nordheim eG (Nordheim) - Nordheimer Vögelein Silvaner Franconia 2009 Kabinett tr.
 
***** Meintzinger (Frickenhausen) - Frickenhäuser Kapellenberg Silvaner Novemberlese I 2009 QbA tr.
 
***** Rudolf Fürst (Bürgstadt) - Bürgstadter Centgrafenberg Weißer Burgunder R 2009 QbA tr.
 
***** Fürstlich Castell'sches Domänenamt (Castell) - Casteller Schlossberg Silvaner 2006 Trockenbeerenauslese
 
***** Bickel-Stumpf (Frickenhausen) - Franken twentysix 2009
 
***** Geiger & Söhne e.K. (Thüngersheim) - Franken Riesling MundART 2009
 
***** Ernst Popp KG (Iphofen) - Iphöfer Kalb Silvaner 2009 Spätlese tr.
 
***** Ernst Popp KG (Iphofen) - Iphöfer Julius-Echter-Berg Silvaner 2009 Spätlese tr.
 
***** Meintzinger (Frickenhausen) - Frickenhäuser Kapellenberg Weißburgunder Novemberlese II 2009 QbA tr.
 
***** Helmut Christ (Nordheim / Main) - Nordheimer Vögelein Weißer Burgunder 2009 Spätlese
 
***** Burrlein (Mainstockheim) - Mainstockheimer Hofstück Scheurebe 2009 Kabinett
 
***** Dr. Heigel (Zeil Am Main) - Franken Weißer Burgunder S 2009 Spätlese tr.
 
***** Martin Göbel (Randersacker) - Randersackerer Ewig Leben Spätburgunder Weißherbst. 2009 Eiswein
 
***** Schmitt's Kinder (Randersacker) - Ramsthaler St. Klausen Silvaner. 2009 Eiswein
 
***** Thüngersheim eG (Thüngersheim) - Retzbacher Benediktusberg Silvaner. 2006 Trockenbeerenauslese
 
***** Josef Störrlein (Randersacker) - Randersackerer Sonnenstuhl Spätburgunder 2006 Großes Gewächs
 
***** Zehnthof - Theo Luckert (Sulzfeld) - Sulzfelder Maustal Riesling 2009 Spätlese tr.
 
***** Ewald Neder (Ramsthal) - Trimberger Schlossberg Silvaner 2009 Spätlese tr.
 
***** Brennfleck (Sulzfeld) - Sulzfelder Maustal Silvaner 2009 Spätlese tr.
 
***** Zehnthof - Tobias Weickert (Sommerach) - Sommeracher Katzenkopf Silvaner 2009 Kabinett tr.
 
***** Heilmann (Alzenau) - Michelbacher Apostelgarten Silvaner 2009 Spätlese tr.
 
***** Emmerich (Iphofen) - Seinsheimer Hohenbühl Gewürztraminer 2009 Spätlese tr.
 
***** Heilmann (Alzenau) - Michelbacher Apostelgarten Riesling 2005 Auslese
 
***** Ernst Popp KG (Iphofen) - Iphöfer Kronsberg Silvaner. 2007 Beerenauslese
 
***** Othmar Zang (Sommerach) - Sommeracher Katzenkopf Silvaner handgelesen 2009 Kabinett tr.

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