Wines from Franconia (Germany) are seldom seen in Australia. Wurzburg itself has two large wineries, Burgerspital and Juliusspital.
The wines in Franconia can also be grown on steep slopes, with the prevalent varieties of Silvaner and Riesling. The traditional bottle-shape – the bocksbeutel is difficult to transport and store, and its shape unfortunately reminds many people of Mateus rose. Some wines are now in “normal” wine bottles, and some are in screwcap. The best of the sweeter wines can last decades.
We visited Schmitt’s Kinder in the town of Randersacker.
Andi Schmitt said there were Riesling fans, and Silvaner fans, with little crossover. Silvaner is less aromatic, but compensates with a fuller-bodied palate. Regardless, Silvaner can look rather plain, until food brings it back into play. Until I gather further experience with the variety, I would be wary of cellaring longer than 10 years (except for very sweet wines). Franken also has other varieties planted such as Bacchus, Scheurebe, and Muller-thurgau- which surprisingly has some character- plus the rustic red Domina, Spatburgunder (pinot Noir), and make wines ranging from sparkling, dry right up to very sweet botrytised wines.
In Franken, 2014 was regarded as ok- 2013 was again very difficult with pickers having to discard clusters of grapes within bunches – even after rotten bunches were culled. 2010 was described as a “strange” year, with excellent ripeness unusually accompanied by high acidity; wines looked awkward at first but are looking very smart now after a few years.
2013 SK Randersacker Marsberg Silvaner trocken “alte reben” 12.5%
Stonefruit, passionfruit, honeysuckle. Clean (to 2020, score 89)
2013 SK Pfulben Silvaner trocken GG 13%
Pfulben is a special site, steep and very close to the river. Land is expensive and seldom changes hands. Orange and apple blossom, plus minerals (to 2020, score 90)
2013 SK “weinberg mendelssohn” Riesling trocken im Pfulben 12.5 %
Delicate, orange blossom on the bouquet, but the palate is quite different, full- bodied – a masculine food-friendly wine. Drink to 2023, score 90
2010 SK Marsberg Weissburgunder Spatlese trocken 13%
Served masked, this showed some colour development, with scents of ripe apricot, honey and light raisins, yet the palate was dry, rounded and fine. Variety was unknown but we correctly selected the vintage. A surprise; Drink now- 2020, score 91
2010 SK Randersacker Sonnenstuhl spatburgunder “tradition” 13%
Obvious quality here. A light ruby colour, the wine had an overlay of smoked meats on a light-framed palate of dark cherry and plums with a lingering finish. Flavour-packed and compelling. Drink to 2020, score 91
2010 SK Randersacker Sonnenstuhl Spatburgunder GG 13%
Similar but with more stuffing, minerality and concentration. Denser, and oozes quality. Will provide drinking pleasure for many years. Drink to 2025, score 94