Wine style: 100% Riesling. "Classic" or according to Lauer, "TF" (see more on this below)
Region: Saar, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany
Vineyard: A South West facing plot at the tip of Ayler Kupp
Vines age: 45+ years old
Production Volume: Around 8,000 bottles per annum
Grandfather Lauer (Peter Lauer the First, 1906-1991) used make a barrel of Riesling every year for his own enjoyment. He drank one bottle of this riesling every day: in the morning at the vineyards, with lunch, in the afternoon, and of course at dinner and with friends.
The style of the wine is special... as describe by Florian Lauer, the current winemaker: "Trockentrinker gefiel als auch dem Liebhaber von fruchtigen Tropfen Freude machte." (Pleases drinkers of dry (riesling) as well as giving joys to lovers of the fruity drops.)
As a tribute to this famous wine and in the memory of the Grandfather, "Senior" Riesling is made every year in the same style as Peter Lauer likes it.
1) What is "Classic" or "TF"?
TF stands for "Trocken-Feinherb", and this is the term which Florian Lauer describes the style of what is known as "Classic" Riesling.
"Classic" refers to the forgotten range of residual sugar level 10-40 g/l, the residual sugar level of the majority of German Riesling before the 1971 German Wine Classification.
The residual sugar level of "Senior" is 11 g/l, on the very low end of "Classic", which is why it is so versatile satisfying.
(other top "Classic" Riesling producers are Van Volxem and Heymann-Löwenstein).
David Schildknecht, a strong advocate of light, off-dry Rieslings, once said that he loves Rieslings "in that 10-40 gram no man's land which for decades prior to the 1970s, a majority of German Rieslings (even those referred to as "dry") inhabited.
2) Why Classic German Riesling has 10-40 g/l residual sugar in the past?
It is because if you work with natural yeast fermentation, the fermentation will slow down gradually into a dormant state at around this residual sugar level, and in the past, before advances in viniculture and winemaking techniques (and of course improvement in chai hygiene), it was very difficult to ferment beyond this residual sugar content.
*Nowadays, winemakers like Florian will let the wine to continue to ferment for anywhere between 2 to over 6 months in order to be completely dry according to VDP GG regulations (or in Lauer's case, his GG all have residual sugar level of around 6 g/l).
3) Why Saar Riesling is great?
It is no secret that in the advent of global warming, only marginal cool sites with good exposure can make a great dry riesling with finesse and elegance.
The valley of Saar, a Mosel tributary, is such a place.
The combination of
2)great winegrower, and
3)great site selection in a macroclimate which is cooler than Mosel
add up to make this an unique Riesling.
“In these great and exceedingly rare wines of the Saar, there is a combination of qualities which I can perhaps best describe as indescribable – austerity coupled with delicacy and extreme finesse, an incomparable bouquet, a clean, very attractive hardness tempered by a wealth of fruit and flavor which is overwhelming.” (Frank Schoonmaker in The Wines of Germany)
"This small traditional Saar wine producer in Ayl bottles some of the finest, most classic Rieslings in Germany: pure, precise, piquant, racy, mineral, and chiseled,but also ripe, concentrated, compact, and complex.” (Stephan Reinhart talking about Weingut Peter Lauer in The Finest Wines of Germany)
Fruity, mineralic, aromas from natural yeast fermenation.
Mouth watering acidities, sappy lemon/lime fruits.
Finishes with wild flower honey, lime skins salts and rocks. Refreshing.
The best way to enjoy this wine is to open a bottle, put it in the fridge, and drink "as required". It tastes great on its own and pairs well with most cuisine. (Secret: a small glass in the morning is a great hangover cure.)
For food pairing, we specially recommend it with most dishes containing bamboo shoots, and it is heavenly with mild-spicy dishes like "twice cooked pork (回鍋肉) and Japanese curry.