Andrew Guard

Saar - Germany


Not long ago I met with Johannes Weber who was visiting Australia and working in the Clare Valley; we spoke and agreed to meet at my local wine bar, 10 William St, so he could show me some of his family’s Hofgut Falkenstein wine. My friend Lars Carlberg who is a great authority on German wine had made the introduction with the words to me that these were surprising wines and not to be missed!

Johannes showed three wines, explained about the history of the family estate and their methods and I sat, swirled and sipped. I can tell you that these are stunning, pristine Rieslings with superb clarity of aroma and flavour. They have fine tension and superb balance.


Erich Weber (pictured) of Hofgut Falkenstein makes ultra-traditional, mostly dry-tasting Saar Rieslings. He likes to call himself “Winzer Weber.” Winzer is German for winegrower. In other words, the emphasis is on the work in his vineyards. With his tan and rugged face, he looks the part, too.

Erich ferments exclusively with wild yeasts in old wooden casks in a deep, cool cellar, and most of his wines end up either naturally dry (trocken) or off-dry (feinherb). Falkenstein, therefore, is one of the rare Saar producers that specializes in distinctive, bracing, light, dry Rieslings, bottled traditionally by the cask.

Falkenstein makes light-bodied, tangy, wholesome, dry-tasting Saar Rieslings, as well as residually sweet Spätlesen and Auslesen. These are old-style wines for drinking, which often retain a lively (spritzig), natural efferverscence from fermentation. In other words, they go down well — Trinkfluss in German.
© 2014 Lars Carlberg


Written by Andrew Guard — September 07, 2014