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Sometimes it takes an outsider to see the inherent beauty of a place with perhaps even greater clarity than the locals. One such outsider who seems to to have a fantastic understanding and love for her new home is the talented young grower Eva Fricke. The child of doctors in Saxony, Eva's journey to the Rheingau ran through Oenology school in Geisenheim, stints working for wineries in South Africa, France, Italy, Spain, and Australia before landing with Johannes Leitz, where she worked for seven years before leaving in 2011. By leasing and purchasing she has accrued 17 hectares, which she farms organically (certified in 2016).
The resulting wines display great precsion, vibrance and generosity. There's an inherent energy that derives from working the steep slopes organically, despite the extra work involved. But as she told us when she visited the store a few years ago, the organic methods show not only in the health of the vines, but in the wines made from their fruit.
In the lauded 2019 vintage, Eva's wines seem to have an extra layer of detail, nuance, energy, and, dare I say charm. Each posesses a vibrant core of striking minerality, caressed by pure fruit with soaring aromatics and great persistence. Though what impresses most is the nascent complexity in each bottling; these have plenty to reveal, though they are already lovely and impeccably balanced. We hope you'll find a place for these wondeful bottles at the table and in your cellar. John McIlwain
A blend from several organically farmed parcels around Kiedrich comprised of varying soils including sand, loam, loess, quartzite, and slate. Fermented with native yeasts in tank with 8 months on the fine lees (per importer). Bottled as a Trocken QbA from the ballyhooed 2019 vintage. The robe is a pale lemon curd yellow. The nose is a touch backwards upon opening, more likely from the screw cap closure, than sponti or excessive sulfur. After 15 minutes in the glass, things right themselves and the nose reveals pretty aromas of apple blossom, lemon peel, white apricot, and wet stone. The palate shows fine concentration and has a beautiful current of ripe, supple fruit rippling over a bed of finely articulated minerality. This is dry, but by no means severe with a racy energy highlighted by the rush of pure orchard fruit flavors framed admirably by a flinty, stony character and brisk, tart, freshness that makes the mouth water and begets another sip. There’s more dimension that the Trocken QbA and I suspect greater aging potential. Cracking with boudin blanc with apples, brown butter cabbage, and potato puree, though I’d love to pair this with crab pasta with green garlic once spring arrives. Really pretty stuff that nails the ratio of brightness to weight (and depth) and shines at the table. Lovely stuff, indeed. John McIlwain
The 2019 Mélange is a blend from various vineyard sites around Kiedrich, Eltville and Hattenheim. The wine boasts a pale yellow gold robe. The nose is more layered and complex than the Trocken QbA with aromas of yellow fruit, orange blossom, bee pollen, and wet stone. There’s more concentration here as well, with ripe stone fruit and lemon curd flavors washing across a profoundly mineral foundation, the the interplay between the two making for compelling drinking. Simultaneously riper and drier than the other QbAs, this still offers excellent balance while one susses out all the effusive aromas and delicious fruit and stone flavors. Compelling now, but 5-8 years and beyond in the cellar should do wonders as the structural notes knit with the exuberant energy of the plush fruit. A fine pairing with pan-roasted hen of the woods mushrooms, kale, and cranberry beans, though there's enough sap here to get along famously with roasted guinea fowl or skate with brown butter and capers. John McIlwain
A fine and joyful QbA Trocken. Pale lemon curd yellow robe. The nose offers an array of white flower and citrus oil aromas—jonquil, lemon blossom, Meyer Lemon, tangerine oil, and such with a subtle, cool herbal note adding a layer of nuance. The palate is dry and sprightly, displaying more charm than austerity, with ripe white peach and apple skin flavors spirited along by a nicely tangy, zangy sense of minerality that seems to expand on the vibrant, lingering finish. While there may be more serious wines of this class, I can’t imagine they are more delightful. A fine pairing with a smoked salmon and cucumber salad with dill and certainly a fine prospect for a plate of Kumamoto oysters or crudo. I’ll admit to finding plenty of Trocken wines wanting, but this has me sold. What a delightful bottle from Eva Fricke! John McIlwain
One of the top wines from Fricke, the 2019 Lorcher Schlossberg comes from organically farmed vines planted between the late 1930s and 1950s in grey slate and chalk with quartzite soils. Fermented with native yeasts in steel tanks followed by seven months of aging on fine lees. This is an off-dry expression of the site combining deep stoniness with gorgeously ripe fruit.