The arrival of my son and family immediately after this dinner at Jean and Dodo Fisch’s place meant that I did not get access to my computer to write up TNs while my memory was still fresh. Jean provided the fascinating experience of being able to taste a number of different Franconian wines which are not readily available here. They are mostly bone dry and excellent food wines. Here are the wines together with Jean’s own useful notes in italics.
2000er Schmitt's Kinder Randersackerer Sonnenstuhl Riesling Spätlese: the first wine with 30 g/l approx (my feeling) of RS. 2000 was a lousy vintage in Germany, except in Franconia, where it proved one of the best of all times (up there with 67 and 93).
This was the only Riesling and the only wine in the line-up with definitive sweetness well balanced by acidity. It also had floral and mineral aromatics which set it apart from the more austere Silvaners which followed. Very good 16.5/20.
2007er Hans Wirsching Iphöfer Julius-Echter-Berg Silvaner Spätlese Trocken S: "S" was, before the GG days, the top of the range of the Estate. The wine was also kept for a while alongside the GG because people like me preferred it systematically to the more internationally styled GG. Julius-Echter-Berg is one of the top 5 vineyards of the region - there is a small layer of slate which gives it a backward style.
This was the most round and tender of the three Silvaners. Very good 16/20.
2010er Rainer Sauer Escherndorfer Lump Silvaner Spätlese Trocken Abte Reben: Escherndorfer Lump = also one of the top 5 sites. Gradiose producer, the star in the region for me. There are other Sauer (Horst Sauer is well known in the UK) which are also good, but do not produce these ethereal wines.
This showed more tension, focus and nerve and at the same time a certain ethereal nature, as Jean says. Excellent 17/20.
2010er Weltner Rödelseer Küchenmeister Silvaner Trocken GG: this one was more discussed - Dodo hated the wine! - Küchenmeister is also among the 5 top vineyards. It is the continuation west-facing of the Julius-Echter-Berg so same smokiness but even more backward (less pure south). This maker makes stunning stuff, but some which really needs time and time. This is completely under-rated and a future star.
I was one of the admirers of this wine. It was completely different from the neighbouring Julius-Echter-Berg showing uncompromising crispness, tension and backbone. I think that it will be grandiose in an austere vein with time. Excellent 17/20.
After these stimulating and unusual whites, we were given the unusual treat of a more than centenarian port provided by Jérôme who had had it in his cellar for more than 20 years and knew little about its origin other than believing it to be a Colheita style wood aged single vineyard wine. The words appearing on the label were (from memory) -
Port Garrafeira 1900 Colour was pale tawny and the bouquet and palate were as close to perfection as I can recall in any port; quite light, beautifully balanced, ethereal and long with a delicate complexity and gentle backbone which has only been approached for me in the past by the best Niepoort colheitas and tawnies. Great 19.5/20.
Just for fun, Jean pulled out from his encyclopaedic cellar a Vintage Port, Warre’s 1977 I think. By comparison it seemed crudely fruity, youthful and tannic though on its own it might have been a star of the evening. Very good 16.5/20.
Once again, many thanks to Jean and Dodo for an excellent dinner, fascinating wines and great company.