One wine writer has compared Tim Fröhlich to Roger Federer. We’re not sure about Herr Fröhlich’s tennis skills – although he was a talented footballer in his youth so clearly has some sporting talent – but there’s no doubt he does share the same relentless focus and consistency as the Swiss racquet-wielding maestro.
Winemaking has been in the Fröhlich family since 1800. The name translates as ‘cheerful’ and there’s every reason for them to feel that way given the acclaim their wines receive. Tim became the fifth generation of the family to take on the role of winemaker when he took over in the 1990s. He produced his first vintage in 1995. The family estates are in the Rheinland-Pfalz, where grapes grow on both banks of the River Nahe. The Schäfer-Fröhlich production benefits from low yields, the use of wild yeast in the fermentation process and that perfectionism which is key to his success as a winemaker.
Initially Tim benefited from parental guidance. That undoubtedly helped him refine the process and meant there was less experimenting than would normally be the case for a new producer. He now concentrates on fine tuning the wines to ensure the standard remains high year after year. His attention to detail is evident in all the wine he produces and played a big part in us adding it to our German whites. He also boosted his output by taking over other vineyards and employing a painstaking approach to managing them. His determination to focus on quality rather than quantity was one of the reasons that attracted us to the Schäfer-Fröhlich wines.
The Riesling Trocken has all the standard features of that particular grape variety, together with greater refinement than you will find in many other Rieslings. We love the floral notes as well as the minerality that draws on the slate and volcanic soil in the Schäfer-Fröhlich vineyards.
Riesling also features in the Schiefergestein which comes from the Felseneck vineyard, a location that is a little cooler and where the vines are around 35 years old. Although the harvest takes place in late September into October, the grapes are not overripe and the alcohol levels are relatively low. The overriding flavour is of fruit – apricot, apples and cherries – with honey adding a touch of sweetness. The wine is an ideal match for pork, poultry and shellfish. Fröhlich himself believes the 2017 vintage is even better than that of the previous year because it is so pure and clear.
There’s a slightly spicy flavour to the Gewurztraminer with cinnamon and cloves adding a touch of complexity. Straw yellow in colour, this wine has an alcohol level of 12% - typical for this grape variety.
Tim Fröhlich’s wine output is entirely white. But he has ambitions to branch out into red at some point. When that does eventually happen, stand by for what will surely be another winner.
We’re currently offering a summer discount on Schäfer-Fröhlich wines. Order now to get 10% off (discount applies at checkout).