Visiting German vineyards, part 5
Paul Fürst, Franken


Paul Fürst’s estate, Weingut Rudolf Fürst, is on the western border of Franconia, where the vineyards have 220 million year old desert red sandstone soils, as opposed to the chalky/lime soils of most of Franconia. 60% of his vineyard holdings are planted to Pinot Noir, and for whites he has Riesling and Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc). Altogether he has 20 hectares of vines, with 13 hectares of the Centgrafenberg vineyard the biggest block.

‘I hate too much opulence in the wine,’ he says. ‘I like a crystalline elegant style. I like elegance and a long finish in the mouth.’ He also comments that, ‘for minerality you have to work hard in the vineyard: only low yields and healthy grapes will show it.’

Fürst’s Pinot Noirs are impressive. He uses old German clones of Pinot Noir for his basic wines. For his high level wines he switched 15 years ago to Dijon clones. The young vine Dijon clone wines are sometimes better than the old vine German clone wines. ‘My interest in Pinot Noir is to have silkiness, not strong tannins, and nice acidity, not sourness,’ says Paul. ‘Pinot Noir and Riesling are both varieties that have to dance on the tongue.’

All the Grand Cru red wines are 100% new oak, but Paul adds that, ‘it is important not to find the oak in your mouth: if the wine has oak then it is a big mistake.’ He presses and then on the same day goes to barrel with the yeast still suspended. ‘The yeast is a bridge to the wood.’


Fürst Silvaner Pur Mineral 2008
Very crisp, bright, fresh and mineral with a hint of herbiness. A super-fresh, reduced, high acid style. Precise and not all that fruity. 88/100

Fürst Weissburgunder Pur Mineral 2008
Crisp, minerally nose with some creamy notes. The palate is lively and crisp with precision and a tight reductive finish. Savoury. 89/100

Fürst Riesling Pur Mineral 2008
Taut, limey, herby nose with more of that distinctive minerality. The palate shows lovely citrussy characters with fresh minerality. Very crisp, clean and savoury with real intensity, approaching austerity, with a long minerally finish. 90/100

Fürst Riesling Centgrafenberg 2008
Wonderfully aromatic, spicy, minerally nose with complex herb and lime notes. The palate has wonderfully expressive, elegant, mineral and citrus flavours with a hint of fruit weight and precise minerality. Amazing precision. 93/100

Fürst Riesling 'R' Centrfafenberg GG 2008
Strongly aromatic, minerally, citrus fruit nose. Very fresh. The palate has great depth and concentration with real elegance. Smooth and pure with some richness but also good structure and acidity, and more of that minerality. 93/100

Fürst Riesling 'R' Centrfafenberg GG 2007
Complex, full nose with herbs, melon and lemon. Distinctly fruity with lovely minerality. The palate has appealing fruity, lemony notes an some melony depth. Much fruitier than the 2008, with appealing freshness and minerality, and a long finish. 92/100

Fürst Spätburgunder Tradition 2007
13% alcohol. Pale cherry red colour. Lovely bright cherry and herb nose. Fresh with some savoury, spicy, almost medicinal notes, but it’s very supple. The palate is cherryish and vivid with a strong herbal savouriness and a dry finish. 89/100

Fürst Spätburgunder Centgrafenberg 2007
Pale cherry red colour, this has wonderful aromatics of pure cherry fruit. The palate is silky and elegant with a lovely spicy herby twist to the pure cherry and berry fruit. Beautiful. 92/100

Fürst Spätburgunder Klingenberger 2007
This is a vineyard that Paul bought vines in four years ago, known for its Pinot Noir back in the 17th century. It’s a steep hillside vineyard with terraces. Pale cherry colour. Lovely smooth, pure, aromatic, silky, sappy nose. The palate has a savoury herbal edge to the pure cherry and berry fruit, with some warmth and a taut herby finish. 90/100

Fürst Spätburgunder ‘R’ Centgrafenberg GG 2007
Fruity and forward with lovely pure, elegant, bright dark cherry fruit nose. Seamless and brooding. The palate shows lovely depth of pure cherry and berry fruit with great elegance and some sappy spiciness. Really harmonious with good acidity. Fresh and pure. 93/100

Fürst Spätburgunder ‘R’ Hunsrück 2005
Beautifully pure, focused and elegant red berry and cherry nose. There’s a hint of meat here, too. The palate is smooth and elegant with lovely cherry fruit and a broad texture, as well as some structure. Super-elegant style. 93/100

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Leitz, Rheingau
Part 3: Dönnhoff, Nahe
Part 4: Gunderloch, Rheinhessen
Part 5: Paul Furst, Franken
Part 6: Dr Loosen, Mosel

Wines tasted as 05/09  
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