TRIAS IN A GLASS
On the 25th of June in Kleinheubach (Franconia), in the fantastic location of the Fürst Löwenstein winery, I had the great pleasure to take part in a wine tasting managed by the wineries that are associated under the name of TRIAS.
But what’s the TRIAS association? What are its goals? What about its guidelines?
About 230 million years ago, during the Triassic period, the geological start of the soils occupied today by the vineyards of TRIAS wineries took place.
The Triassic is a geologic period and system which spans 50.6 million years.
The global climate during the Triassic was mostly hot and dry with deserts spanning much of Pangaea’s interior. However, the climate shifted and became more humid as Pangaea began to drift apart. The end of the period was marked by yet another major mass extinction, the Triassic – Jurassic extinction event, that wiped out many groups and allowed dinosaurs to assume dominance in the Jurassic.
The name “Triassic” was coined in 1834 by the German paleontologist and stratigraph Frederick von Alberti.
Alberti studied the fossil fauna of the Alps, especially in Germany where three rock sequences characterized by a different fossiliferous content are easily distinguished (Buntsandstein – the oldest, Muschelkalk, Keuper – the youngest).
The Triassic name therefore wanted to represent the tripartition of this temporal sequence in the outcropping rocks in Germany and in large part of Central Europe.
The international English name for this era is Triassic, sometimes informally abbreviated to TRIAS.
The Triassic soils in some regions, typically in Germany, have the character of the deposits of closed lagoon or even continental basins; in other regions, typically in the Alps, they have the character of open sea deposits. There are therefore two types of Triassic, with “Germanic facies” and with “Alpine facies”. The Germanic Triassic, which interests us in this case, is located in the region that extends from the Black Forest to the region of Hanover, Thuringia, Franconia and Swabia.
The Triassic era is subdivided into three subperiods: Lower Triassic or Buntsandstein, characterized by sandstones, very variable in grain and colors, poor in fossils, sometimes associated with marls, clays, dolomites, chalks and rock salt; Middle Triassic or Muschelkalk, generally of marine facies, characterized by shellbearing limestone; Upper Triassic or Keuper, with partly lagoon and partly continental facies, comprising clays and variegated marls alternating with chalk, rock salt and dolomites. At the bottom there are coal beds. During the Keuper layers were also rich in fish, coproliths, bone fragments (bonebeds) were deposited. The bonebed is important for the history of the animal world because it contains the first remains of small mammals and also because it contains many marine species that are widespread in the Alpine Triassic.
The philosophy of TRIAS association aims to consider the vineyard, its position and its natural characteristics as the only criterion for assessing the quality of a wine.
The five wineries that are part of TRIAS are located along the Main river, in Franconia, in areas previously occupied by the sea, with particular geological characteristics, marked by the presence of red sandstones near Miltenberg, of limestone deposits of marine origin in the Maindreieck, of clays and marls with the presence of plants, reptiles, fish in the Steigerwald.
The vineyards of TRIAS wineries, thanks to unique geological and climatic conditions, represent terroir of extraordinary quality, common heritage of TRIAS association.
The aim is to produce wines of great quality and structure, dry, representation of a shared oenological creed, result of lands and soils that have a common geological history but which, at the same time, are distinguished from each other giving life to wines having different sensory profiles.
The wineries that are part of TRIASassociation are:
Weingut Johann Ruck www.ruckwein.de
Weingut Rudolf Fürst www.weingut-rudolf-fuerst.de
Weingut Schmitt´s Kinder www.schmitts-kinder.de
Weingut J. Störrlein & Krenig www.stoerrlein.de
Weingut Fürst Löwenstein www.loewenstein.de
TRIAS wineries are part of VDP, the Association of German Prädikat Wine Estates, that is an elite group of some 200 quality – oriented German vintners who are committed toterroir – driven viticulture at the highest level.
The VDP.CLASSIFICATION is not part of the official German wine law but rather an in – house statute of Gemany’s Prädikat wine estates in which the quality of a wine is defined according to “terroir”.
Although the classification is only binding for VDP member estates, represents an absolute reference point for quality – oriented German viticulture.
The goal of the VDP.CLASSIFICATION is to evaluate the quality potential of Germany’s best vineyard sites securing the future of Germany’s unique viticultural landscape, to emphasize the absolute value of Germany’s outstanding dry wines and to underscore the original nature of the Prädikats as attributes reserved for wines with natural sweetness.
Brief notes about the wines I tasted during TRIAS wine presentation at Fürst Löwenstein winery are given below.
2017 CF SILVANER GUTSWEIN – FÜRST LÖWENSTEIN:
Buntsandstein and Muschelkalk soil. The soil structure is loamy iron-rich with some limestone content. Light nose, clear, slight floral and fruity notes. A Silvaner still too young. It needs more time to express itself better.
2017 SILVANER VOM MUSCHELKALK VDP.GUTSWEIN – STÖRRLEIN KRENIG:
Wine already expressive despite its young age. Interesting floral and tropical fruit notes. A fresh and persistent wine.
2017 GRAUBURGUBDER VDP.GUTSWEIN – JOHANN RUCK:
Interesting olfactory notes of pear and powder. I would have liked to find more persistence in the mouth.
2017 “BLANC DE BLANCS” TROCKEN – SCHMITT’S KINDER:
Linear, clean, clear wine both in the nose and in the mouth.
2016 HOMBURGER KALLMUTH RIESLING CORONILLA GG – FÜRST LÖWENSTEIN:
Very interesting wine. It shows deep and intense olfactory lines even if young. In the mouth it extends in a sublime way showing richness of extract, great structure and persistence.
2016 PFÜLBEN RIESLING GG – SCHMITT’S KINDER:
Intense and deep wine. It already shows tertiary initial olfactory notes of hydrocarbons. In the mouth it’s a fresh wine with a distinct sapid content. Persistent.
2016 SONNENSTUHL RIESLING GG – STÖRRLEIN KRENIG:
An interesting wine that stands out for its very important acidity. Intense and persistent in the mouth. Sharp like a knife.
2017 HOMBURGER KALLMUTH SILVANER S VDP.ERSTE LAGE – FÜRST LÖWENSTEIN:
From vines of about 30 years. The olfactory analysis shows floral and tropical notes. Wine with great freshness.
2016 IPHÖFER KALB SILVANER VDP.ERSTE LAGE – JOHANN RUCK:
Interesting wine. Very gentle and suffused scents. It almost seems to want to give us a caress. In the mouth it is present, of good persistence. Always very soft, light as silk.
2016 IPHÖFER KRONSBERG SILVANER ALTE REBEN VDP.ERTSE LAGE – JOHANN RUCK:
Very interesting wine. The olfactory analysis shows very elegant notes. In the mouth it is a persistent wine, fresh and with a clear and distinct sapid line.
2016 KALLMUTH SILVANER ASPHODILL GG – FÜRST LÖWENSTEIN:
Very interesting wine, tense olfactory profile of great complexity and depth. In the mouth it is rich, persistent, generous. Great freshness. The taste ends with an elegant sapidity.
2016 SONNENSTUHL SILVANER GG – STÖRRLEIN KRENIG
Interesting Silvaner. Intense olfactory profile, of good complexity. In the mouth it is rich, full-bodied. The aromas are deep but at the same time soft and light. The taste is closed by a pleasant savory, almond note.
2016 BÜRGSTADTER BERG SPÄTBURGUNDER VDP.ERSTE LAGE – RUDOLF FÜRST
The olfactory ananlysis gives us an intense, fine and complex wine. A vibrant wine in the mouth, of intense freshness and clear persistence.
2016 FRÜHBURGUNDER >R< – RUDOLF FÜRST
Wood not yet completely metabolized by the wine. It’s not yet fully integrated into wine’s body. It’s still a bit too aggressive.
2015 SONNENSTUHL SPÄTBURGUNDER TRADITION VDP.ERSTE LAGE – SCHMITT’S KINDER
Without doubt a great Spätburgunder. A wine of great complexity, intense, fine and very elegant. It moves with agility and lightness while having a solid structure. In the mouth it is graceful, clear, persistent, with a long presence. Modern wine, very drinkable, with a perfectly integrated wood that does not cover the grape variety. Great freshness.
2015 SONNENSTUHL SPÄTBURGUNDER GG – STÖRRLEIN KRENIG
An interesting Spätburgunder. A dark, deep, intense wine. The wood note is perceived during the taste – olfactory analysis but is well managed.
1990 RANDERSACKERER PFÜLBEN SILVANER AUSLESE – SCHMITT’S KINDER
A great sweet wine, intense during the olfactory analysis, complex. Intense and elegant in tasting, quite persistent, very fresh despite the years. The finish of tasting is marked by a savory and fresh note accompanied by the memory of a breath of sweetness.
I want to finish by thanking Fürst Löwenstein winery for the wonderful hospitality, Bettina Bode (Johann Ruck winery) and Martin Schmitt (Schmitt’s Kinder winery) for their support, kindness, helpfulness.
See you soon TRIAS!