2010 Lauer: The Incredible Lightness of (Saar) Riesling

Posted by CrushWine

The Incredible Lightness of Riesling
2010 Weingut Peter Lauer

We introduced the Rieslings of Weingut Peter Lauer to the United States nearly two years ago with the following (subtle) headline:
THE German Discovery of the Year!

The reputation of these wines has since exploded. A friend and I were talking a few weeks ago and he said something to me which I think is totally right: "Lauer has gone cult."

It's true - in the short year and a half since our introduction, Weingut Lauer has gone from virtually unknown to among the most coveted Rieslings in the shop. (It's worth noting that ours was really more of a "re-introduction;" David Schildknecht was the original fan, importing small quantities of the wines into the U.S. in the late 1980s.)

Lauer Hill Climbing
Click here for more photos.

The style at Lauer is uncompromising. This is Saar Riesling in its most glorious form, which is to say bright, transparent, nimble, finessed and filigreed. Lauer's wines are INTENSE, yet compact with detail and precision.

For anyone interested in mineral wines with that razor's edge cut, these wines are not to be overlooked - the Lauer Riesling "Senior" is one of the most eye-opening white wines out there, if you want to try just one bottle.

Yet, as juicy and approachable as the "Senior" is, Florian Lauer wants to make serious Rieslings. He has a great phrase: He wants to make "Rieslings for Advanced Learners." These are uncompromising terroir-driven whites that completely ignore the traditional Kabinett-Spatlese-Auslese heirarchy - they are fermented naturally until they find their own balance. Most often, while they may have some residual sugar, they are "dry tasting."

If it's at all relevant, I am personally going long on Lauer in 2010. I have loved every vintage I've tried, from 2007 on and I have no reason to doubt what I've heard about the 2010ers - which is that they are beautiful.

Today we present the 2010 collection and they are as intense as they are rare. And let's not even discuss "value" - that almost belittles the reality of 80- to 90-year-old vines (many ungrafted), working steep vineyards by hand, making 4, 5 or more passes through each vineyard, natural fermentations and inspired winemaking.

2010 is an extreme vintage (my 2010 German vintage report is available here), with serious acidities married to serious ripeness levels. Those who appreciate force and delineation, concentration and finesse should love the 2010 Lauers.

The 2010 collection at Lauer is concentrated and powerful - in this sense more in line with 2007 and 2009. Yet they are also very detailed and etched, the masculine acidity pushing the fine layers of fruit into sharp, delineated forms.

Complete tasting notes are available below - please do read them because in the Saar the soils/vineyards seem to speak with a larger vocabulary. Saar Rieslings are about articulation.

At this point the phrase "traditional winemaking" is a cliché with almost no meaning - so with Lauer and the Saar let me be very specific. At Lauer, as mentioned above, the wines find their own balance. Fermentations are allowed to run their course with little intervention, only natural yeasts are used. The wines are barrel selections sourced from the famous Ayler Kupp, one of the Saar's great vineyards. Yet instead of labeling them as such and grabbing the easy name-recognition, the Lauers choose to designate the wines according to the pre-1971 subparcels of this famous site - thus the "Unterstenbersch" and "Kern,"  etc.

Lauer's philosophies and style are from a time before wine marketing and "fashion" - a time when bigger wasn't automatically assumed to be better and when small parcels were meaningful because the clientele was local and more intimate with the lay of the land.

This is a vintage to love your winemaker, because they worked for these wines. In September a leaf-picking regimen sought to raise temperatures and thereby reduce malic acids in the berries. To pick only the perfect grapes with the appropriate ripenesses, Florian orchestrated multiple passes (we're talking, 3, 4, 5) through the vineyard. Skin contact during pressing allowed some acidity to settle out while battonage was used to help the wines naturally integrate.

The results are compelling, to say the least.

Quantities are quite limited, so to order, please give us your maximum request and we'll do our best. All orders subject to confirmation.

To order, please email us at offers@crushwineco.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Stephen Bitterolf
Wine Director
Crush Wine & Spirits

2010 Weingut Peter Lauer

2010 Lauer "Senior" Fass 6

TN: So named because it is made in the style--aromatically alluring, dry-tasting, powerful but finely balanced--Florian's grandfather liked to drink. (Each year he would head to the cellar and select a barrel for his own personal consumption. Yes, the slopes are steep, but there are perks.) The 2010 is simply more of everything Florian's grandfather liked: juicier, denser, the acidity bolder, its core of fruit sturdy and generous. Too early to speak of classic, pure 2010, but..

2010 Lauer "Unterstenbersch" Fass 12

TN: Exhibit A in Florian's case that the minerals absorbed by the vines--like the 60-year-old ones that grow in the mineral soup of finely-weathered slate at the base of Ayler Kupp--buffer and balance out the vintage's higher acidity. Always a wine of salty, slatey drive, this year it is tense, compact, and stuffed with rocks, as long as any wine in the collection, its impression more trocken than feinherb. But it's the citrusy fruit and silken texture that complete the picture. A riveting example of this always great wine.

2010 Lauer "Stirn" Fass 15

TN: From high up the hillside, due south, above Unterstenbersch, where the vines have to dig deep to give the small-berried old vines all that they need, Stirn is never bashful about fruit. And while for now the acidity is somewhat reserved, a cool, lively mineral drive is lurking behind, holding it all in check.

2010 Lauer "Kern" Fass 9

TN: Gorgeous and lovely and harmonious, and especially when tasted next to Stirn, seemingly ready to go right now.  Kern's vines are 70 years old, and the wines they produce are typically lush and luscious, subtly sweet, with lovely filigree and fine minerality.  And--though you might not notice at first, so delicious and distracting is the first sip--the 2010 is long. In fact, it pulls you right into the next sip, and then the next, and...it's what the Germans call Lust auf mehr, a craving for more. Fresh, clean, cool, and pure, this is beautiful Kern.

2010 Lauer is pre-arrival
NET | No further discount