Wine of the Year #1: Joe's Pick
2016 Lauer Schonfels GG

Posted by Joe Salamone

In any vintage, Schonfels is wine of the year quality. However, in 2016, it’s simply so successful that it was the obvious choice for me.

The 2016 Schonfels is an opportunity to witness one of Germany's great vineyards in all of its glory.

When Florian Lauer took over his family’s estate in 2005, he set out on a brutal undertaking: to bring the Schonfels vineyard back. It was a painstaking process of nursing vines back to health and clearing the vineyard.

Florian had tasted old wines from this site composed of 100-year-old ungrafted vines and knew that it was special.

The vineyard is one of the steepest in the Saar. For Florian’s father, Schonfels’ low-yielding old vines and the backbreaking labor involved were completely impractical. By the time that Florian took over in 2005, the vineyard had been abandoned for decades.

In rejuvenating Schonfels, Lauer introduced one of the Saar’s greatest, most mineral and most complicated wines. The first vintage was 2008 and the wine has been among the best of Lauer’s very strong line-up ever since. In any vintage, it’s an epic wine, but the 2016 is special.

Lauer’s 2016s have a beautiful harmony and are crystal clear in their expression. As is usually the case, Schonfels Grosses Gewächs dramatizes all of this. The old vines produce tiny grapes, thus the juice-to-skin ratio is quite low, and it concentrates everything.

In 2016, there’s extreme depth, grip and lift to the wine. The 2016 Schonfels GG has incredible delineation and finesse. The wine pulls off delivering density and walk on tip-toe lightness in an amazing way.

It’s really exciting to see Schonfels in top form. With everyone so focused on the 2015 Germans, there’s risk of under-buying or outright missing the most successful 2016s, like the collections from Schaefer, Keller and Lauer. This would be a mistake. The 2016 Schonfels is simply too brilliant a wine not to have a moment in the spotlight.

We have only a few cases to offer. To order, please reply to or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone

Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits