Schäfer Fröhlich

Region: Nahe

The Fröhlich family has been cultivating vines since the 19th-century, but the Schäfer-Fröhlich winery wasn’t founded until the 1970s. At that time, the two families melded forces through marriage, gradually building one of the most renowned wineries in Nahe and the whole of Germany.

The real turning point in terms of quality happened when Tim Fröhlich, who happens to be still in charge today, took over the family business in the mid-’90s—with the reputation of the winery growing ever since. Fröhlich made his first vintage in 1995 at the age of 21. At that point, both Fröhlich and the village of Bockenau, the winery’s location, were relatively unknown.

The wines are among the most sought-after Rieslings in Germany, and the village of Bockenau has become a highly regarded subregion of the Nahe. Much of the success stems from several smart acquisitions made by Fröhlich in some of the best vineyards in the region, nearly doubling the family’s original holdings. Today, Schäfer-Fröhlich farms more than 50 acres (21 hectares) of vineyards, in the slate-based, quartzite-laced sites of Felseneck in Bockenau and Halenberg and Frühlingsplätzchen (which is known for iron-rich red slate) in Monzingen; as well as the porphyry-based vineyards Stromberg in Bockenau and Felsenberg and Kupfergrube in Schlossböckelheim. Some of the vineyards are so steep (up to 70 percent incline) that work by hand is almost a must.

Fröhlich is a perfectionist to the extreme—a true terroir fanatic. He aims for precision and elegance in his winemaking. Even in hot and dry vintages, he manages to preserve acidity, always yielding a lineup of graceful Rieslings typical of the winery’s house style. When young, wines show “sponty” notes, resulting from spontaneous fermentation and reductive winemaking. However, with some age, the wines integrate beautifully and are true gems to cellar long-term.

The winery offers six different Grosses Gewächs (GG) Rieslings, each presenting the (slight) differences in microclimates and soils. While Felseneck GG might be the most popular of Fröhlich’s bottlings, all its peers stand strong next to it, showing the true pedigree of this family-run winery.

The family produces approximately 120,000 bottles a year, with Riesling being 85 percent of their production, while the remainder is different Pinot varieties. Schafer- Fröhlich wines consistently earn outstanding scores from all major wine publications, including recent spotlights in Wine Spectator’s Insider Weekly, as well as Wine Advocate. However, the best achievement in the United States was in 2019, when Fröhlich received the prestigious title of “Best White Wine in the World” from James Suckling.

Estate Profile

Owner

Hans & Karin Fröhlich (mother & father)
Tim Fröhlich (son)

Wine Makers

Tim Fröhlich

History

Tim is the  9th generation

Growing Area

21 hectares

Bottle Production

10,000 cases

Vineyards

Bockenauer Felseneck (7.5ha)
Schlossböckelheimer Felsenberg (2.6ha)
Schlossböckelheimer Kupfergrube (0.4ha)
Monzinger Halenberg (0.4ha)
Monzinger Frühlingsplätzchen (0.4ha)

Soils

Bockenauer Felseneck – Blue Devonian slate, basalt and quartz
Schlossbockelheimer Felsenberg – Weathered volcanic porphyry soils and quartz
Schlossbockelheimer Kupfergrube – Weathered volcanic porphyry soils
Monzinger Halenberg – Blue slate, gravel and quartz
Monzinger Frühlingsplätzchen – Red slate, gravel and quartz

Varietals

85% Riesling
10% Pinot Blanc
5% Pinot Noir

Wines

Schäfer Fröhlich Estate Dry Riesling
Schäfer Fröhlich Estate Pinot Blanc
Schäfer Fröhlich Riesling Vulkangestein
Schäfer Fröhlich Riesling Schiefergestein
Schäfer Fröhlich Riesling Kabinett, Felseneck
Schäfer Fröhlich Riesling Spätlese, Felseneck
Schäfer Fröhlich Riesling GG, Felseneck
Schäfer Fröhlich Riesling GG, Felsenberg
Schäfer Fröhlich Riesling GG, Frühlingsplätzchen
Schäfer Fröhlich Riesling GG, Stromberg
Schäfer Fröhlich Blanc de Noir

Dry vs Sweet

70% Dry
30% Sweet

Cellar

70% Stainless Steel
20% Neutral wood
10% Barrique

Eco-Friendly

Practicing Eco-Friendly

VDP Member

Since 2001

Trade Resources

2018 Schäfer Fröhlich Estate Dry Riesling

2018 Schäfer Fröhlich Estate Pinot Blanc

2018 Schäfer Fröhlich Riesling Vulkangestein

2018 Schäfer Fröhlich Riesling Schiefergestein

2018 Schäfer Fröhlich Riesling Kabinett, Felseneck

2018 Schäfer Fröhlich Riesling Spätlese, Felseneck

2018 Schäfer Fröhlich Riesling GG, Felseneck

2018 Schäfer Fröhlich Riesling GG, Felsenberg

2018 Schäfer Fröhlich Riesling GG, Frühlingsplätzchen

2018 Schäfer Fröhlich Riesling GG, Stromberg

2019 Schäfer Fröhlich Blanc de Noir