Schafer-Frohlich Gold Capsule: Lightning Strikes Again

Posted by CrushWine

Schafer-Frohlich Strikes Gold in 2008
2008 Bockenauer Felseneck Gold Capsule

A Collectible Treasure of 2008 for under $50

"Tim Frohlich's 2008s are near-perfect. This is one of the only estates where I might say the 2008s are even better than the 2007s - and the 2007s were scary-good."

Are the 2008 Schäfer-Fröhlichs better than the 2007s?

They just might be. For those of you who thrill to Rieslings of mineral, clarity and ferocious precision, Tim's 2008 collection will absolutely haunt you. In my two weeks in Germany, I don't know that I tasted a more complete, more powerful and chiseled collection.

So today we launch our 2008 German Campaign with a wine that we were responsible for first bringing to the U.S. and a wine that is, year and year out, one of the greatest Spätlesen to come out of Germany.

The Schäfer-Fröhlich Bockenauer Felseneck Spätlese Gold Capsule is a ferocious bottle of wine - even more mineral, more cut and aromatically complex than the 2007. If it does not have the tactile depth of fruit that the 2007 has, it gains more agility and detail. Is one better than the other? Impossible to say at this stage, though it's more a question of personal preference, of style. While there's no denying the monumental near-divine stature of the 2007, there is something thrilling about the razor-sharp 2008. For purists, the 2008 has taken a scalpel to slate and the detail and clarity of the wine is incredible.

It's also probably worth mentioning that with the world collectively tightening its belt, we were able to negotiate strongly for this bottle and can offer the 08 GK today as low as $46 - roughly a 20% savings versus the 2007 and $7 less than the next lowest price that we can find. The fact that a wine of this quality, rarity and ageability can be sold at under $50 is an absolute joke. (The growing legion of Riesling devotees are laughing all the way to the cellar.)

I can cut and paste this paragraph from our email on the 2007 and it still holds true: If you take Rieslings at all seriously, this is not a bottle to miss.

Clearly, you should cellar as much as you possibly can - we've provided special 4-pack pricing below: 1 bottle to drink now and 3 to cellar for the next 10+ years.

If there is a sweet spot in 2008, it's in Germany's southern regions and the Nahe might just edge out the Rheinhessen and the Pfalz as the best-of-the-best. (The 2008s of Keller and Rebholz make strong counter-arguments, but that's a topic for another email.) The Nahe gave its vines enough of everything to pack them full of concentration and extract, without losing at all the purity and electricity of the vintage. This balance...this is the magic in 2008. For more on the vintage in Germany, click here for our 2008 German Vintage Report.

This is one of those magical bottles, a wine that we first brought to the U.S. market two years ago. Since then, we've been able to increase our allocation every year. Still, some context should be provided because our initial allocation (for the 2006 vintage) only came about because a restaurant in Denmark passed on the wine, and so we scored a few cases. This year, as last year, we hope to be able to honor all reasonable customer requests, though please let us know how many bottles you are interested in and we will allocate accordingly.

To order, call the store at (212) 980-9463 or click below.

What Does the Gold Capsule Mean?

German wine is confusing, what can we say. Let's see if we can simplify.

A Gold Capsule for a wine is sort of like getting a "gold star" back in grade school.

German winemakers often make a number of different wines from the same vineyard. While the only way to legally differentiate two wines from the same vineyard is by the AP number - this is like the social security number every wine gets. This is why, for example, you'll see a Graacher Domprobst Spätlese #12 and a Graacher Domprobst Spätlese #5 from a producer like Willi Schaefer. The #12 and #5 are taken from the AP number.

Now, if a producer feels that a certain bottling is special, they can also give the wine a "Gold Capsule" - literally. In German the word is "Kapsul," so you'll often see this phrase abbreviated to "GK." Gold Capsule wines usually have higher levels of ripeness and are both more expensive, and much rarer, than their normal counterparts.