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The One Wine You Need this Summer: Lauer Barrel X!

Posted by Mark Grimaldi on May 29th 2020

Over the past few years, Florian Lauer has come to be recognized as one of the best producers in all of Germany. If you don't know the wines, it's probably because they didn't really hit the limelight until they were imported by Vom Boden, a small and very highly regarded Germany-focused importer out of NYC who sells his small portfolio of top estates to every Michelin-starred restaurant in NY.

The estate has always focused most of its energy on producing dry or dry-tasting Riesling. The Lauers are in the Saar, a tributary of the Mosel River with a long tradition of producing lithe, mineral, dry-tasting Riesling. The cool climate and steep slate slopes the Mosel is known for are at their most extreme in the Saar, producing Rieslings with even more of that chiseled cut we love. If the rest of the Mosel is the Cote d'Or, the Saar is Chablis. Florian took over the family estate from his father in 2005 and since then, the wines have gotten better and better with each vintage. These wines are now spoken of in the same breath as other masters of dry Riesling, like Schafer-Frohlich, Von Winning, and, yes, even Keller.

Florian's reputation rests on his stunning single-vineyard bottlings, but he also happens to make two of the best value Rieslings in all of Germany. The Lauer "Barrel X" is Florian's platonic ideal of what Saar Riesling should be. It's a regional wine coming from three villages in the Saar; continuing the Burgundy analogy, this would be his Bourgogne Blanc bottling. It's just off-dry, with about 20g/l of residual sugar, beautifully balanced by classic, piercing Saar acidity. It's complex, yes, but also just plain old delicious, the sort of wine that disappears way faster than you expect it to.

Florian's "Senior" is one of the best values in white wine, period: a wine from 70-year-old vines in the legendary Ayler Küpp vineyard. Drier than the Barrel X, this is chiseled and focused; it's refreshing and easy-drinking but there's also the unmistakable imprint of Saar slate. "Senior" harkens back to the most traditional style of Saar Riesling, which is to say spontaneously fermented, dry-tasting, and pure mineral refreshment. Traditional Saar Riesling has more in common with things like Chablis, Champagne, or Chenin Blanc than with the more robust and fruit-driven Rieslings from warmer climes. "Senior" is the perfect introduction to these utterly unique beauties. This is a Grand Cru wine in everything but name, and an absolute steal at less than $30.

Despite their value pricing, Barrel X and Senior are highly sought after. Supplies are limited. Summer will be here before we know it; don't get stuck without some of these!

To order, please click here. Wines arrive Wednesday of next week. Shipping and curbside pickup available as usual!

1) Peter Lauer Riesling Feinherb "Barrel X" 2019 750ml
Sale Price: $22.99/btl!! BUY NOW
3-Pack Price: $21.99/btl!!
6-Pack Price: $19.99/btl!!

Importer Stephen Bitterolf: "From four different villages with maybe 10-30% purchased grapes, depending on the vintage. Keep in mind the "sourcing" is all from friends, small farmers that the Lauer's have known for decades (centuries?), so this is not buying grapes at the coop market level. It's also worth noting that a few of Lauer's sites that he uses (including Rauerberg and Schiedterberg) in Barrel X are cool, cool sites and in the age of climate change, they are becoming VERY serious sites. I had a bottle of this the other night - holy f***. It's killer. This is nearly all in stainless steel."

2) Peter Lauer Riesling "Senior" 2019 750ml
Sale Price: $29.99/btl!! BUY NOW
3-Pack Price: $27.99/btl!!
6-Pack Price: $26.99/btl!!

Importer Stephen Bitterolf: "'Senior' is so-named because this is the wine Florian Lauer's grandfather would normally always take for his own drinking, after having gone through the cellars and tasted all the barrels. The name "Senior" also, however, refers to what was most likely THE most important style of Saar wine through most of the 19th and 20th century - in other words, naturally fermented wines that would just fine their own balance, tasting basically dry while having a little bit of RS (has about 12 grams) to balance the fierce Saar acidity. While Lauer sells this as a "village-level" wine, it is 100% Grand Cru, and the secret behind this wine is basically that the parcel it comes from, the western-most part of the Grand Cru Kupp (check out map here - it's the site to the left of "Kern" It's a large parcel and a wine Lauer makes a good amount of, relatively speaking, and so he sells what is no-question a Grand Cru wine as a village-level... just to have a wine at the middle-price range. This parcel is full of ungrafted vines up to and beyond 70 years old. It is LEGIT. For me, this along with Keller's Von der Fels are the two STEALS of German wine. 100% Grand Cru that is priced reasonably. Senior is most often fermented in plexiglass big vats, as Lauer has found they do well in helping the wine just ferment naturally to this middle-zone, though keep in mind, they use EVERYTHING depending on vintage, from Fuder to glass, plexi and stainless steel."