Malus Mama

Basque Country, Spain

The Fröhlich family has been cultivating vines since 1800 though Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich was founded in the 1970s through marriage. In the early 1990s, the extraordinarily talented Tim Fröhlich took over the family estate and made his first vintage in 1995. Rudi Wiest was introduced to Tim by Helmut Dönnhoff who told him there was a young man doing some extraordinary work in the village of Bockenau, an area not known for producing noteworthy wines. Fast forward ten years and Tim Fröhlich was chosen newcomer of the year by The Gault-Millau/German Wine Guide. By 2010, he was selected as winemaker of the year by the same guide; the youngest ever to receive such acclaim. Tim stepped into a virtually unknown estate and shaped it into one of the top Nahe estates in a very short period of time.

The outstanding steep vineyard sites are the foundation for unmistakable, authentic wines. In conjunction with these great sites, the recipe for Tim’s success consist of low yields, painstaking vineyard management, a strong adherence to wild yeast fermentation, a focus on minerality, and an almost unnerving perfectionism in the cellar. Oh, and did we mention that he’s rock star handsome? Ridiculous.

Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich totals 21 hectares today, of which 18 hectares is accounted for by Riesling. 82% of the production is dry. 

  • Bockenauer Felseneck - Blue Devonian slate, basalt and quartz
  • Schlossbockelheimer Felsenberg - Weathered volcanic porphyry soils and quartz
  • Schlossbockelheimer Kupfergrube - Weathered volcanic porphyry soils
  • Monzinger Halenberg - Blue slate, gravel and quartz
  • Monzinger Frühlingsplätzchen - Red slate, gravel and quartz

80% Riesling, 10% Pinot Blanc, 7% Pinot Noir, 3% other grape varieties.

Much of the success was the result of a number of smart acquisitions made by Tim in some of the best vineyards in the region, which nearly doubled the family’s original holdings. He then went on to become a terroir fanatic; developing the best methods to extract the perfect expression of fruit from each of his six Grosses Gewachs classified vineyards. Of considerable note are the blue slate, loess (fine silty sediment) and loam (sand, silt, clay blend) soils of the Felseneck vineyard, considered one of Tim’s most prized holdings, and a virtually unknown location before he started working with it. Schäfer- Fröhlich is making Rieslings as great, or better than, (dare we say it?) any producers in the Nahe. These are some of the most impressive and exciting white wines being crafted anywhere today.

"2016 has been a sensationally good year for us—one of the most relaxing ones of the past decade. Well, the early summer was the most labor-intensive we have ever had, but with August, a terrific late summer started. September and October were also perfect, so that shortfall of ripeness was equalized. Luckily, the ripening fell into the cool period, which causes this magnificent depth of flavors in the 2016s. With the harvest beginning in late September, we picked all our plots at the very best moment, even picking the grand crus until early November to get the full depth of aromas." - Tim Fröhlich

Stephan Reinhardt writes: "As for his Rieslings, even the dry village/terroir wines are gorgeous here and have more expression than many German GG Rieslings. The Felseneck GG is probably one of the finest dry Rieslings produced in Germany so far. I can hardly think of more precision, finesse and elegance in dry Nahe Rieslings. More than this, the sweet predicate wines from this steep, dark slate site are also great wines that deserve all your attention. More and more, Tim's Felseneck is becoming a glorious single-vineyard site that offers the finest Nahe Rieslings along with the Hermannshöhle and the Halenberg, the latter of which is always more compact and powerful but less filigreed compared to the other two aristocrats." 

Our Selections

Malus Mama Basque Ice Cider 2011

  • Iñaki Otegi freezes a wide variety of native apple varieties (Astarbe, Mendiola, Goikoetxe, Moko,....others) in order to concentrate the sugar and acidity. 
  • The juice goes from 6.5 potential alc. to about 11% when finished.
  • The juice is fermented naturally then aged at least a year in oak followed by 4 years in bottle.
  • The resulting product does not taste like cider. It has the complexity and acidity of a great dessert wine. 11% alc., 3.5pH and 8 grams of acidity. One can see the acidity in the green rim.
  • His cider is mailing list only in Spain and is featured at restaurants throughout the country, including a special bottling for Mugaritz.