Color/Style: White, Light Bodied
The upper part of the Nahe, where the three grand vineyards of Emrich-Schönleber are, is a world of slate, both blue-gray and red. The Halenberg and tiny Auf der Lay is largely the former, with blue-gray slate that shapes a wine of rigor, density and power. This is perhaps the more mineral, more ageworthy of the two Grand Crus. The Frühlingsplätzchen has veins of red slate and always seems more expansive, diffuse, lighter and finessed. It is a wine with a stunning florality and vivid aromatics; it is more expressive in youth.
And while the three Grand Cru GGs are simply among the greatest dry Rieslings made in Germany, period, the focused portfolio of Emrich-Schönleber is worth exploration. (You may be forgiven if you only recognize the Halenberg and Frühlingsplätzschen, the Auf der Lay is only sold at auction and only bottled in magnum and 3.0L format – it is as rare and as great as it gets.)
However, in surveying the entire portfolio, the basic estate wine is one of those “calling card” wines of force and impression. Up the ladder the “Mineral” is the obvious revelation: a blend of younger vines from both of the Grand Cru sites, this is Emrich-Schönleber’s version of Keller’s “von der Fels.” As with the “von der Fels,” this represents maybe the greatest value at the estate: 80% of the Grand Cru wine for 50% the price. It is a profound value that drinks well over its price point. The young-vine, vineyard-specific bottlings called “Halgans” (Halenberg) and “Frühtau” (Frühlingsplätzchen) offer a very concise articulation of these amazing vineyards. Finally, the “1er Cru” Niederberg bottling is the only single-vineyard bottling of this site, and one of those wines I think we’ll hear more and more about.