Young but Incredibly Promising Riesling From One of Saar’s Great Names

Today’s Story: Weingut Peter Lauer

Weingut Peter Lauer is a very highly regarded producer of German Riesling in the Mosel’s Saar region, and it has been in the Lauer family since 1830. Today the estate is run by fifth generation Florian Lauer who took over in 2006, but his father Peter remains involved in the cellars to this day. The estate consists of 8 hectares (19 acres) of vineyards situated across some of the Saar’s greatest sites, and the Lauer family holdings are planted to 100% Riesling. Many of their vines are very old, with some of them at 100 years of age. Weingut Peter Lauer is known for their dry Rieslings, particularly from the Grosse Lage sites of Kupp, Feils (sometimes referred to as Saarfeilser), and Schonfels, however they do make wines in the off-dry and sweet styles as well when the vintage conditions are perfect for them.

From a winemaking perspective, all viticulture is organic in nature and nearly all of the work is done entirely by hand thanks to the incredibly steep grades of the vineyards. After the fruit is hand-harvested, it arrives at the winery where fermentation is completely spontaneous and free of any non-native yeasts. What’s more, Weingut Peter Lauer maintains the practice of fermenting the same sites in the same barrel (fass/faß) vintage after vintage so that the same native yeasts can ferment the same point of origin (fruit) in a similar style. Each label is then labeled accordingly, such as the Faß 18 (Barrel 18) I am reviewing today. Lauer prefers slow fermentations with extended lees contact and bâtonnage (lees stirring) to add structure, while also eliminating their need for fining. The resulting wines are incredible representations of their terroir, and truly some of the finest being produced in the Saar.

Fun Fact: You can tell quite a bit from the Peter Lauer labels, perhaps in a much more unique manner than what’s typical. For instance, the circle in the center of each label can impart knowledge of quality, as the “village level” wines have a green circle and the Grand Cru wines a gold circle. Of course, the GG (Großes Gewächs) designation on the Grand Cru labels helps as well. You can also tell the sweetness level of the wine in a rather inconspicuous manner compared to how many producers may just put “Trocken” or “Spätlese” on their labels. For instance, the tiny circled “T” in the bottom center of my label today tells me this is a Trocken (dry) style. Peter Lauer will also show TF for Trocken to Feinherb (dry to off-dry) or simply F for Feinherb (off-dry). Any bottling without one of these designations can be presumed “fruity” or noble sweet.

Today’s Wine: 2019 Ayler Kupp Riesling Faß 18 Großes Gewächs

100% Riesling; 12.5% ABV

The 2019 Ayler Kupp Riesling Faß 18 Großes Gewächs is pale gold in color. This takes a few hours to come out of its shell, so I waited two hours for the first glass and drank it over the following two hours. Aromas are of pronounced intensity, with the nose offering up notes of white peach, apricot, green apple skins, lemon candy, honeysuckle, wet slate, and a hint of chopped grass. The flavors are also of pronounced intensity, while the palate showcases notes of lemon, green apple, white peach, chamomile, honeysuckle, slate, and stony mineral. The palate is also pretty herbal overall. This dry Riesling is medium-bodied with high acidity, medium alcohol, and a long finish. Very good quality but needs probably another five years in the bottle.

Price: $60. There’s a solid value play here, but you need to be patient and lay this down. I like opening wines that are too young every once in a while, because they help teach me the progression of the aging process and help guide my decisions in stocking my collection. This Riesling offers great intensity, balance, and length at a young age so it’s one to keep on the radar.

If this wine seems like something you might enjoy, you may find this link helpful in locating it.

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