Paul Fuerst of Franconia, GermanyBy
Without a doubt, winemaker extraordinaire Paul Fuerst is producing some of the finest DRY wines out of Germany. His wines deftly showcase amazing purity, class, terroir, nuance with breathtaking elegance, precision, refinement & balance whether he is working with Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Muller Thurgau or Pinot Noir.
My wife Cheryle & I recently went to visit Paul at his home & winery on the western most edge of Franconia, Germany.
It was an added bonus that they had started harvesting grapes.
with son & heir apparent, Sebastian.
Their label–Rudolf Fuerst is centered in the town of Burgstadt….where they own roughly 20 hectares in the highly revered Centgrafenberg vineyard with its red sandstone soils, which showcase a very unique character in the resulting wines.
We were fortunate to taste the 2010 Hundsrueck “Grosse Gewachs”. It was surprisingly deeper, richer with more viscosity & vinosity than any German Pinot Noir we had previously tasted.
Paul also took us out to see his other spectacular vineyard site (Schlossberg) in the town of Klingenberg where he owns but 1 1/2 hectares of Pinot Noir. It was truly breathtaking.
This vineyard is one of the oldest Pinot Noir sites in all of Germany (over 100 years). It is slightly warmer than Centgrafenberg & is therefore normally harvested 1 week earlier. Because it is so stony, it can also handle hotter years like 2011 better than most others.
Paul produces 2 Pinot Noirs from this very special site–
& the other–Klingenberg Schlossberg Grosse Gewachs (GG)….which is Grand Cru in his mind.
In Centgrafenberg, Fuerst has, in addition to his Pinot Noir plantings, roughly 3 1/2 hectares of Riesling, 2 1/2 hectares of Pinot Blanc, 1 1/2 hectares of Silvaner & but 3/4 of a hectare of Muller Thurgau, (from which he makes a special wine for us, labeled as CF Muller Thurgau “Eurasia” . As the nickname suggests, this wine is really idea for many of the Asian inspired foods we have here in the Islands).
Regarding the Rudolf Fuerst portfolio of wines, the first level of quality wines they typically produce is labeled “Tradition” for Pinot Noir……AND….. “Pur Mineral” for white wines.
Depending on what the vintage gives, then some of the truly standout cuvees are labeled as Burgstadter Centgrafenberg (which for Paul is “Village” quality in a Burgundian model).
When conditions are right they will produce what they feel is equivalent to “Grand Cru” in quality & status. The initials GG (which stands for Grosse Gewachs) can be seen on either the label or bottle, as well as the approved vineyard designate, which for Paul is either Centgrafenberg…..or Schlossberg.
Fuerst also has roughly 1 1/2 hectares of Fruhburgunder, which Paul says is a mutation (not a clone) of Pinot Noir, which he reverently notes was nearly extinct just a short time ago. It is obvious this grape variety is dear to his heart…& he says for the region.
Because it naturally has low yields & ripens much earlier, it creates a fuller, richer red which has more impact on the attack (blueberry, plummy, dark fruit) in comparison to his more ethereal, refined Pinot Noirs.
Without a doubt, this is a true STANDOUT winery, well worth searching out for their wines, especially if you love purity, precision, class, finesse, balance & food friendliness.