Peter Lauer Stirn Fass 15 Riesling 2022
For me, the Peter Lauer Stirn Fass 15 Riesling is always one of Lauer’s most angelic, soaring wines. Sourced from the top of the Kupp mountain, the vines here are battered by the wind and there is little soil and little water; it is a struggle up here. The wine, however, shows just a soaring tension, an amazing linearity. I love this damn wine.
“Stirn” can be translated, roughly, as “forehead.” While the name might seem vague, Stirn is the highest of the sections: the top third as it were. Thus you can see Stirn is indeed the “forehead” of the hillside.
The location of Stirn shapes absolutely everything about the wine; this is the peak of the hill, exposed to everything. As such, Stirn is a brutal micro-climate. Because of the incline of the site, there is rarely much water here, even in wet years. The vines’ roots must go deep for any water, pushing through the thick bedrock of slate.
All the soil and fine, weathered slate has been washed down the mountain over the ages, thus in this vineyard we have larger shards of slate and little else. There is almost no soil. The lack of water and soil mean that the vines struggle; Florian can harvest this site a week or two weeks later than nearly all the others and the ripeness is often still quite low. As Stirn is literally blasted by the wind whipping down the river valley, there is rarely any botrytis here.
What does this mean for the wine itself? The Peter Lauer Stirn Riesling tends to be one of the most nervous, linear and soaring of all of Lauer’s wines. It rarely ferments much past 30 grams of residual sugar per liter, thus it certainly is an off-dry Riesling. And yet, because of the extraordinarily high acidity (and low pH), the wine never tastes very sweet.
In fact, the razor-sharp grip and density of the wine can make it feel almost dry, at least on the rather gripping finish. For what it’s worth, I believe this is one of Florian’s – and one of the Saar’s – most profound expressions of Riesling.