Franken

Introduction

The finest Franken wines are traditionally bottled in a Bocksbeutel, a squat green or brown flagon with a round body and short neck, which lends considerable recognition value to the region’s wines.

Würzburg is home of the famed vineyard Stein, which gave rise to the generic term Steinwein, formerly used to denote all Franken wines. Franconian wines are generally fuller-bodied, less aromatic, often drier, firmer, and earthier.

Statistics

Major Town: Würzburg

Districts: 3

Collective Sites: 21

Individual Sites: 255

Vineyard Area: 6,139

Terroir

Climate

– Continental
– Dry, warm summers
– Dry, cold winters
– Frost-free growing season, which can last between 160-190 days

Part of Franken wines’ singular personality is due to the climate: cold winters, high annual rainfall, early frosts. Long, warm autumns are rare. As a result, the late-ripening Riesling plays a minor role.

Soil

Weathered, primitive rock and colored sandstone in the Spessart Hills north of Miltenberg. Shell-limestone predominates in the central district, while heavier gypsum and keuper soils are found further east, near the Steiger Forest.

Top soil types:
Weathered rock
Colored sandstone
Shell-limestone
Gypsum
Keuper
Marll

Terrain

Franken lies east of the Rhine and in close proximity to Frankfurt, in Bavaria, with most of the vineyards planted on the hillysouth-facing slopes lining the Main River and its tributaries. Franken is bordered by the Rhön Hills in the north, the Steiger Forest in the east, the Tauber River Valley in the south, and the Spessart Hills in the west.

Varietals

Riesling

With over 23,000 hectares, Germany is home of the world’s largest vineyard area dedicated to Riesling. Riesling is predestined for northerly wine-growing regions and grows in all 13 German regions. Depending on type of soil and microclimate, it yields grapes that produce wines with extremely diverse nuances. They range from bone dry to lusciously sweet and from everyday wines to rare, high-quality collectibles. A “typical” Riesling is reminiscent of peach or apple on the nose, and has pronounced acidity. It is fantastic for food pairing and sparkling wine production.

Müller-Thurgau

Known for their approachable, light and refreshing taste, Müller-Thurgau wines make for easy, everyday drinking. Bred in 1882 by Professor Hermann Müller (1850-1927) from the Swiss canton Thurgau, this namesake wine now accounts for about 12% of Germany’s vineyard area and is grown in all 13 German wine-growing regions. The wines have a light Muscat tone, usually mild acidity, and sometimes, a flowery bouquet.

Silvaner

Subtle in aroma and mild in acidity, hearty, fairly neutral Silvaner is an excellent food pairing wine. The wines are sometimes earthy and powerful, and are prized for being juicy and mouth-filling. The widespread cultivation of Silvaner dates from the early 19th century, and it was once the most important grape variety in Germany. It has long been a traditional variety in Rheinhessen and Franken.

Kerner

This Trollinger x Riesling crossing was only first introduced in the early 1970s but already saw its peak in 1992. Since then the number of plantings has declined. Known as Riesling’s “little cousin,” this aromatic wine is perfect for everyday drinking with aromas of pear, apple, currant, apricot, and more, and can be vinified dry to sweet.

Bacchus

Bacchus is a crossing of Silvaner, Riesling, and Müller-Thurgau, bred in the 1930s. Its floral Muscat tone is reminiscent of Scheurebe, and it is often fruity and crisp. This grape quickly became a favorite of growers as it ripens faster than many other varietals and is one of the more easy-going grapes. The wines are often vinified with some residual sugar and are rich in extract.

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