95 Points, Robert Parker
The dynamic husband-wife team of H. O. Spanier and CarolinSpanier-Gillot is the driving force behind the BattenfeldSpanier Estate. Their “secret sauce” is hidden deep beneath the soil of this outstanding winery located in Rheinhessen, namely layers of lime that add precise, vibrant minerality across the spectrum of their varietals: Riesling, Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir), and Silvaner. Cellarmaster H. O. has combined the perfectionism developed during an early career in sport with the trust in nature that goes hand-in-hand with the finest wine-making. When applied to organic and bio-dynamic vineyard and winery principles this combination of skill and intuition yields wines crafted almost single-handedly by a rich and unique terroir. The result is the estate’s incomparable Silver-label Riesling and vibrant Spätburgunder and Silvaner.
The Frauenberg lies in the southern Wonnegau, north of Hohen-Sülzen heading towards Flörsheim at an elevation of up to 280 meters and up to 40% gradient. The historic site can be traced back through official documents to at least 1290, where it was called the “an frauwenhalten” and was the site of a nunnery. H.O. Spanier rescued the Frauenberg from oblivion and placed it back in the consciousness of wine lovers. While purely south facing, the exposed site on the Frauenberg experiences constant cooling winds, with a broken limestone top layer and a base substrate of solid limestone. The vines dig deep into the hard, mineral-rich soil. This lends them a self-sustaining character and allows for long, healthy vegetative periods, even in extreme years. Wines from the Frauenberg are meticulously hand-selected and harvested, wild fermented and matured in Stück and Doppelstück barrels.
Bright straw-yellow, it has shimmering hues and a silver rim. In its youth, Frauenberg is more of a sketch than a highly shaded and detailed self-portrait. Stony and austere, it is reminiscent of wet gravel while cooling notes of fresh chervil and cucumber peel complement the citrus fruit, apricot stone, and apple skin. Unmistakable dark aromatics and smoky overtones deliberately shape the precise outline. A pulsating pressure builds on the tense palate, even as the nearly orchestral acidity acts like a conductor, guiding extract, phenolics, and minerality to each play their part. Complex and nuanced, it is a wine whose potential requires not only a decanter but also a few years of bottle maturation. Frauenberg is a mineral-driven wine with a tremendous affinity for fine cuisine. Lobster, seafood, sashimi, and dishes that feature soy sauce make for great pairings, while finely-prepared German classics like Königsberger Klopse and Braten in horseradish sauce push it toward the sublime.
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