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“There are no easygoing wines produced by Frank Schönleber, because even the so-called estate wines are expressive and complex and stylistically as well as qualitatively as important as a Brut Reserve is for a champagne house.”-Stephan Rheinhardt, Robert Parker Wine Advocate
This quotation from Stephan Rheinhardt captures an essential quality of the wines from this highly esteemed yet still relatively unknown estate in the Nahe. Unlike the much larger Mosel, with its dozen of excellent estates, the much smaller Nahe has three first rate producers: Donnhoff, Schafer-Frohlich and Emrich-Schonleber. In fact, the Nahe was not classified separately as a wine growing region until 1971. I am not alone in thinking that the average quality here is higher than anywhere else in Germany.
The Emrich-Schonleber estate has 3 Grand Crus in the town of Monzinger. The soil structure, exposure and water retention are so different among the three that one might believe that they were from sites miles away from each other. Two of the three—Halenberg and the all but unpronounceable, Fruhlingsplatzchen, are the source of almost all the wines commercialized by the estate. Two of the wines offered below are made from the younger vines of these two distinguished vineyards. The basic Riesling Trocken and the powerful Mineral are blends from the two grand crus. The Halenberg stresses the vines every year partly due to deep drainage which forces the roots to hunt for water. The wines from this site have a noble grandeur which allows for great aging. The Fruhlingsplatzchen makes wine which smile and delight the taster. It is always about location!
If you have not experienced the Emrich-Schonleber wines before be prepared for a workout. Once you adapt to the wines, you will want to drink them again and again. There are no reviews yet for the 2020s. I am including published reviews for the 2018s, which like 2020 featured a long picking period allowing growers to make a variety of wines. There are 4 dry Rieslings and two Spatlese. There were fewer Spatlese and Auslese than in 2018. These are all dry Rieslings, the norm now in the Nahe.
Given the high quality at Emrich-Schonleber these wines are very attractively priced. Of course, no German offer would be complete without at least one review from the loquacious David Schildknect! The Fruthau is made from the younger vines at the Fruhslinsplatzchen and the Halgans from the Halenberg vineyard. They are as delightfully different as is night from day.
A breathtaking wine that has all the mineral depth and concentration you associate with a Grand Cru but also a wide spectrum of very fine citrus and berry aromas. Then it splash lands in an explosion of fresh-herb aromas. Drink or hold. Stuart Pigott
"Crystalline and pure on the palate, this is a bone-dry, refined, enormously salty and piquant Riesling from partly red slate, loam and quartzite plots. The finish is pure, fresh and precise, very long and expressive. Tasted from a bottle that was opened three days earlier, it is much more charming and open on the nose, showing an intense and complex bouquet of crushed stones, lemons and white fruits. The palate is round and elegant, much lusher and long, but it still has long-lasting salinity on the finish."-Stephan Rheinhardt