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from the cellar of Emrich-Schönleber

{ five plus years of perfect cellar development }
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There are basically two ways to taste top dry German Rieslings with a bit of age on them.

First, buy the wines on release and try not to drink them for 5-10+ years.

Second, fly to Germany, visit a winemaker and hope that she or he pulls a bottle from the cellar. Then, hope the estate happens to have a few cases of this wine sitting around which were on hold for a customer but then lost in the cellar for half a decade. Finally, convince them to sell you the few remaining cases.

Unlikely as it may be, the latter is exactly what happened when we were in Germany in August of 2021 visiting Frank Schönleber.

So, with this offer we were thrilled to reveal a magical third path to perfectly-aged top dry Riesling: Buy a wine that the estate sorta lost, cellared perfectly for five years, then found and offered to us. To be clear: This never happens.

Emrich-Schönleber, long considered one of the masters of dry Riesling in Germany, is finally getting the recognition they deserve. The price on their top wine - sold only at auction - went up nearly 68% from vintage 2019 to 2020 and the "Grand Cru" GGs have never been in higher demand.

And while German wine dorks know the Nahe absolutely triumphed in the complex 2016 vintage (see more from Schildknecht below on this), Schönleber's 2016 "Halgans" is about as pristine and perfect a 2016er as I've ever had.

For those of you not familiar, Schönleber's "Halgans" is a declassified Grand Cru sourced completely from the Halenberg vineyard - normally the harvest is simply a week or more before the final "GG" harvest. As such, this is the lighter and leaner of the two wines and the 2016er is entering its golden zone a bit earlier - this wine is singing NOW. That said, with the wine's obvious energy and structure, there is no doubt this wine will develop positively for another decade plus.

The balance, the poise - the complex, crystalline and detailed mid-palate - all of these things are in just perfect form... now.

As Schildknecht wrote about 2016 in the Nahe: "Those Nahe Riesling collections that characteristically reward cellaring are likely to do so in spades this year, not because the 2016s are extremely high in must weight, acidity or dry extract, nor even more intensely flavored than Nahe Rieslings of other justly celebrated vintages, but because they are already so finely balanced in their youth and so refined - often downright intricate in flavor."

2016 Emrich-Schönleber Riesling "Halgans" Trocken 
"This bottling from the Halenberg is radically different from its “Frühtau” (Frühlingsplätzchen) counterpart – but not, as conventional wisdom would have it, on account of being somehow more mineral. Wet stone, moss, and smoky-sweet hints of machine oil on the nose dominate over white peach and lime, but the latter emerge more prominently and with animating juiciness on a polished palate. Walnut and peach kernel piquancy adds invigorating counterpoint en route to a finish of exceptional clarity, lift (even at 12% alcohol) and length." David Schildknecht, Vinous

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