Riesling Fass 4 Feinherb, Lauer
For purists, there is nothing like the Saar. It is arguably one of the greatest, most unique wine-growing regions on earth. The core of greatness in the Saar is intensity without weight, grandiosity without size. Frank Schoonmaker put it best in his 1956 tome The Wines of Germany: “In these great and exceedingly rare wines of the Saar, there is a combination of qualities which I can perhaps best describe as indescribable – austerity coupled with delicacy and extreme finesse, an incomparable bouquet, a clean, very attractive hardness tempered by a wealth of fruit and flavor which is overwhelming.”
Yes, this is the Saar and Florian Lauer is currently one of the greatest winemakers in this sacred place.
Florian’s general style is exactly the opposite of his famous Saar neighbor Egon Müller. At Lauer, the focus is on dry-tasting Rieslings as opposed to the residual sugar wines of the latter. For this style, there are really only two addresses in the Saar (though more come online every year, trying to chase the style): Lauer and Hofgut Falkenstein.
Employing natural-yeast fermentations, Lauer’s wines find their own balance. They tend to be more textural, deeper and more masculine. They have a preternatural sense of balance, an energy that is singular. Yet the hallmarks of the Saar are there: purity, precision, rigor, mineral.
As noted with Fass 25, yet more revelations of climate change, the “1er Cru” Scheidterberg and Sonnenberg hills that curl around the village of Ayl are beginning to turn out wines of real depth and complexity, yet they also still flaunt a bit of their even-more-cool-climate thing. This is only the third vintage of this wine I’ve brought in, and honestly I think it’s here to stay. Think of it as “Barrel X” with more punch and guts.
In 2020 this wine is almost dangerous – 9.8% alcohol, 33 grams residual sugar with nearly 10 grams (!) acid. Holy hell watch out.