Monday, November 7, 2016
Vinyard Tour, Cellar Tour and Tasting at Weingut Horst Sauer in Eschendorf, Franken, with Horst Sauer – Germany-East Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours
We spent a couple of hours with Horst Sauer, the charismatic winemaker from Eschendorf in Franken. We toured with him the vineyards and the new production facility, before sitting down with him for tasting of his bone-dry as well as noble-sweet wines. We also met the next generation, Horst‘s daughter Sandra Sauer, a graduate of the prestigious Geisenheim University, who is managing Weingut Horst Sauer jointly with her father and who is now in the lead in the cellar.
Just across the street of Weingut Horst Sauer is Weingut Rainer Sauer, also a leading winemaker in Franken. But there is no relation between the two.
Franken, located in the northern part of Bavaria, is boasting a long tradition and some fine terroirs (mostly shell limestone and Keuper, a kind of marl). Its two leading grape varieties are Riesling and Silvaner. Typically, Franken wine comes in the distinctive, dumpily-rounded Franken “Bocksbeutel” wine bottle. The bottle’s unusual shape dates back to at least the 16th century. The Bocksbeutel may only be used for Franken wines. In Germany, it is a sign of excellence, while in the US, many consumers link this kind of bottle shape to lower quality wine.
Weingut Horst Sauer
Weingut Horst Sauer is in Escherndorf in the Main Triangle area in Franken. Horst Sauer made his first wine in 1977, the birth year of his daughter. Since then he has become one of Germany’s truly exceptional winemakers.
Today, the vineyard area totals 20.5 hectares. They are planted with the white grape varieties Silvaner, Müller-Thurgau, Riesling, Bacchus, Pinot Blanc and Scheurebe, as well as with the red varieties Pinot Noir and Domination. The output of Weingut Horst Sauer doubled in the past 10 years.
The wines are made in a newly built four-story winery, where the grapes and wines are moved on the shortest possible routes entirely by gravity. This gentle treatment in conjunction with a slow, restrained fermentation yields very delicate, clean, pure wine.
Fantastic dry wines are produced at this estate mainly from Silvaner, but also from Riesling, Müller-Thurgau, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir. Besides dry wines Horst Sauer is known for lusciously sweet specialities.
To get a glimpse into his philosophy of winemaking I will quote him here: “The start of a great wine lies in the winemaker’s imagination. I use to keep close watch on nature. Each year is different. The experiences we made in the past change our view and our range of options. You have to consider carefully when to influence, to control, to improve, and to enhance. And you have to find out at which point control becomes manipulation. Each wine has only one spring, one summer, one autumn, and one ripening season. Once you become aware of this fact, you know what it means to be patient. Only those who have a vision will find the way to their goal.”
20 percent of the production is accounted for by exports. This is a rather high export share by Franconian standards. Asia and Scandinavia are the main export destinations. Nothing comes to the US. 50% of the production is sold at the winery.
Der Feinschmecker on Horst Sauer
Der Feinschmecker: Horst Sauer is an unusual phenomenon in Franconia, which is famous for its dry wines: The committed and also internationally highly honoured winemaker dedicates himself with particular devotion to the production of noble sweet top wines. From the steep sloped vineyard of Escherndorfer Lump, Sauer collects Silvaner and Riesling grapes: With his experienced eye he checks immediately whether they are suitable for his varied range. It is important to harvest the grapes at the time of the correct grade of ripeness. As few other winemakers do, Sauer understands to select the healthy grapes for his dry wines and to choose the exact amount of botrytis – the grapes and parts which give the wine the respective desired degree of creaminess and delicate spices – for his Beerenauslese (select berry harvest) and Trockenbeerenauslese (select dry berry harvest).
Sauer’s dry wines also have format, they show the saltiness of the shell limestone soil with great poignancy. In the vineyard with its modern architecture – the new building was inaugurated in 2006 – Sauer works side by side with his daughter Sandra, who accompanies the winemaking with her sensory assessment and in addition takes care of the marketing.
The Gutswein category are „good from the ground up“ and form the basis of the VDP‘s quality pyramid, which is based on the terroir principle. These are wines made from grapes grown on any vineyard of the estate.
2015 Weingut Horst Sauer Just Silvaner trocken
The grapes of the Weingut Horst Sauer Ortswein category are grown on any vineyard of the estate in the village of Eschendorf. The wines come from younger vines and the edges of the Erste Lage vineyard.
2014 Weingut Horst Sauer Eschendorfer Silvaner trocken
2015 Weingut Horst Sauer Eschendorfer Silvaner trocken
2015 Weingut Horst Sauer Eschendorfer Riesling trocken
Erste Lage - Trocken
Dry wines from a Erste Lage are labelled Qualitätswein S. Our lifeblood is to be found in these wines.
2015 Weingut Horst Sauer Eschendorfer Fürstenberg Müller-Thurgau S. trocken
2015 Weingut Horst Sauer Eschendorfer Fürstenberg Silvaner S. trocken
2015 Weingut Horst Sauer Eschendorfer Lump Silvaner S. trocken
2015 Weingut Horst Sauer Eschendorfer Lump Riesling S. Trocken
The Grosse Lage classification distinguishes the very best German vineyards.
2014 Weingut Horst Sauer Eschendorfer Am Lumpen 1655 Silvaner GG trocken
2014 Weingut Horst Sauer Eschendorfer Am Lumpen 1655 Riesling GG trocken
This is a wine made jointly with the head sommelier of the world renowned restaurant Tim Raue in Berlin.
2013 Weingut Horst Sauer ES IST WIE ES IST Die Dritte Cuvee mit Andre Macionga
Erste Lage – Edelsüss
2013 Weingut Horst Sauer Eschendorfer Lump Silvaner Trockenbeerenauslese
Postings: Germany-East Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours: Wine, Art, Culture and History (Published and Forthcoming Postings)
Germany-East Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours: Wine, Art, Culture and History
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Vinyard Tour, Cellar Tour and Tasting at Weingut Horst Sauer in Eschendorf, Franken, with Horst Sauer
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