The Fröhlich family has been cultivating vines since the 19th century, but the Schäfer-Fröhlich winery wasn’t founded until the 1970s. Tim Fröhlich (pictured) took over the family business in the mid-’90s, and the winery’s reputation has been growing ever since.
Fröhlich made his first vintage at age 21, in 1995. At the time, both Fröhlich and the village of Bockenau, where the winery is located, were relatively unknown. Today, his wines are among Germany’s most sought-after Rieslings, and the village of Bockenau has become a highly regarded subregion of the Nahe region. Schäfer-Fröhlich farms more than 50 acres of vineyards, and the wines consistently earn outstanding scores.
Fröhlich aims for elegance in his winemaking. The 2018 vintage was hot and dry, but he nevertheless managed to preserve acidity, yielding a lineup of graceful Rieslings typical of the winery’s house style. This selection is a testament to his hard work and perfectionist ideology.
Riesling Auslese Gold Cap Nahe Felseneck 2018
95 points | $95 / 375ml | 20 cases made | White
On the lighter side, this auslese is very pure, packed with concentrated orchard and citrus fruit flavors, showing terrific delineation and complexity on an elegant profile. Powerful acidity cuts through, while an exotic mix of jellied citrus, candied ginger and spice emerges. The finish lasts for minutes. Best from 2024 through 2040.
Riesling Nahe Felsenberg GG 2018
95 points | $80 | 28 cases imported | White
Impressive balance and complexity show the pedigree of this dry Riesling, while its elegance, silky texture and complexity lure you in. This is still a bit young and tightly coiled, but notes of jasmine, bergamot, white raspberry and nectarine are pure and mingle nicely already. Very focused, with laserlike acidity and mineral backbone that will keep this going for a long time. Best from 2022 through 2035.
Riesling Nahe Frühlungsplâtzchen GG 2018
95 points | $80 | 14 cases imported | White
This enticing dry Riesling shows an exotic tropical fruit cast to its apricot and passion fruit flavors, which are accented by floral and mineral notes. Mineral and acidity together give this an elegance to counter the expressive palate, all supported by the supple texture. Harmonious and impressively long on the finish. Best from 2022 through 2035.
Riesling Auslese Nahe Felseneck 2018
94 points | $80 / 375ml | 42 cases made | White
Elegant and enticing, showing beautiful purity and focus thanks to the brisk backbone of acidity and incredible minerality that set off the rich palate of apricot, jasmine and lime candy flavors. Rather light, but with great intensity and complexity extending from start to finish. An aftertaste of vanilla spice lures you back for more. Best from 2022 through 2037.
Riesling Spätlese Gold Cap Nahe Felseneck 2018
94 points | $65 | 150 cases made | White
Profoundly rich and complex, with concentrated flavors of yellow apple, pear, lemon curd and spice that are lush yet refined. Offers powerful acidity, which is integrated finely, while vibrant minerality adds another dimension. Plenty of jellied citrus notes lengthen out on the inviting finish. Patience will be rewarded. Best from 2023 through 2036.
Riesling Nahe Stromberg GG 2018
93 points | $100 | 28 cases imported | White
Enticing, with hoppy aromas and flavors up front, followed by an exotic cast of tropical fruit and floral notes, accented by grapefruit and wet stone elements. Glossy in texture, with a soft minerally crunch that adds to the complexity. Shows great depth and length, without sacrificing approachability. Best from 2021 through 2032.
Riesling Spätlese Nahe Felseneck 2018
93 points | $50 | 28 cases imported | White
Powerful, showing concentrated flavors of roasted peach, dried pear and glazed pineapple. Intense acidic backbone keeps this focused and balanced, while mineral undertones offer plenty of savory accents, with a long, crunchy finish. Best from 2023 through 2035.
Article by Aleks Zecevic
Wine Spectator Insider Weekly