Peter Lauer Schonfels Fas 11 Riesling Grosses Gewachs 2018
The 2018 Schonfels Fass 11 (Ayl Schonfels Riesling GG) opens brilliantly clear, fresh and smoky/flinty on the excitingly pure, deep and complex nose that delivers salt and pepper, as Florian Lauer says. The palate is very elegant, fine and even crystalline, with a long, intense and aromatic finish with mineral vitality and lots of grip and of music. A remarkably elegant and straightforward wine. It was bottled nine days before I tasted it on June 21, 2019. Release date: September 2019. Drink Date: 2020-2040.
Nose-wrinkling pungency and bite of white pepper, green tea, zesty lime and sea breeze are joined on a full-bodied, lightly oily midpalate by tart-edged, piquantly seed-tinged but fortunately also juicy apple. The finish is powerfully sustained; here's a case where the approbative buzz word of the moment among German growers and oenophiles, Druck (literally "force" or "pressure"), does indeed seem applicable. A suggestion of lava salt adds to the aforementioned multiplicity, while serving for intrigue and salivary stimulation. The words "refined" and "elegant" crop up in tasting notes from some of my esteemed Germany-based colleagues who have heaped praise on this vintage 2018 Grosses Gewächs (as well as on Lauer's two others), but I just can't see how those adjectives fit a Riesling of 13% alcohol that is this forceful in personality and phenolically intense. My prognosis of age-worthiness may well prove overly conservative, but elevated alcohol has a long history of catching up with dry Rieslings, and I defy anyone to predict whether this particular one will escape that fate. (Prior to Lauer's joining the VDP, he tended to vinify fruit from the Schonfels - a site that plunges dramatically toward the Saar and whose ancient vines he back-breakingly rescued from a generation's worth of scrub and neglect - as a moderately sweet wine.)