Bocksbeutel Mania – Rare Hans Wirsching Back Vintages!

7/22/2008 -

Franconia is one of the most beautiful wine regions in all of Germany, if not all of the world. The main grape varieties are Sylvaner, Riesling, Schuerebe and sometimes oddities like Huxelrebe and even Chardonnay. The traditional bottle of the region is called the Bocksbeutel which has a very unique shape. It is shaped almost like a large fancy perfume bottle and through the stubbornness of the Franconian wine growers they will not use the regular 750 ml bottle. Although some forward-thinking importers do import some Franconian wines in a traditional 750 ml bottle. I am all for this stubborness as I believe upholding ancient traditions is a good thing. Most of these wines are sold locally anyway and the people who complain about tem are usually in certain export markets.

Franconia is a region that specializes in dry wines and Hans Wirsching is one of the top two or three estates. Their Silvaners are recognized as the best in Franconia while their Rieslings and Scheurebe's are not far behind. Visiting the estate and touring the cellars I have had a number of old bottles and they age magnificently. An '83 Julius Echter Berg Silvaner Spatlese and a '67 Julius Echter Berg Schuerebe Auslese were some of the greatest wines I have ever had. One thing I have not had the opportunity to taste is some of the drier wines from vintages of the recent past. I was given an opportunity to buy a parcel of old Wircshing, and I will confess I was unfamiliar with early 90's vintages in Franconia. So in my excitement I called up Brent Wiest, Rudi Wiest, the importer's son and he guided me on what vintages to take. I thank him tremendously or this incredible offer would not have been possible today. I don't think a parcel of Wirsching this big had ever been offered. Oh yeah . . .the prices are extremely fair and competitive. I would say they are the lowest prices in the country but no one else has these wines so I would be telling the truth but lying in a way.

Wirsching has two main vineyard sites. The Iphofer Kronsberg and the Julius Echter Berg. The Julius Echter Berg is Wirsching's greatest vineyard and one of Germany's greatest. It is protected at the top by a forest line. The vineyard consists of gypsum, marl and sandstone. This eclectic mix of soils gives the wines layered and complex flavors off fruit, spice, minerality and stone. Both of these vineyards are also classified as Great Growths (Grosses Gewachs) which is the equivalent of a Grand Cru in Burgundy. The Rieslings and Sylvaners from the Julius-Echter-Berg have unmistakeable character of site and varietal. With around 10-15 years if age on the ones we are offering they should be very well on their way into secondary and tertiary land. The Iphofer Konsberg does not give wines with as much power as the Julius-Echter-Berg but man they are pretty wines. Much more floral and graceful with a wonderful crunchy minerality these are also wines not to be missed.

I am so excited about this offer as something like this has never been offered before especially for prices this low. This is a pre-arrival offering and the wines will be here in the next two or three months.

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