We know we have arrived in Franken wine territory when we see the confident and elegant Bocksbeutels appear in the cellars and taverns. Rounded in shape and flat with a long neck, these bottles are emblematic of lovely-tasting wines of the highest quality.
An area known in English as Franconia, the cultivation of wines on the south-facing inclines along Franken’s Main River goes back more than a millennium. In the north, this iconic German wine region borders the Rhön mountains and in the south, the Taubertal River. In the east its far reaches are marked by the hilly Steigerwald while in the west, the low Spessart mountains mark its limit. Within these four natural boundaries is where we taste the magic.
Franken comprises just over 6,000 hectares of vineyards with four-fifths given over to whites. The flagship varietal is Silvaner, full bodied with gentle acidity. Once the most important grape in Germany we are thankful it is still the star of the show in Franken because it reflects its terroir with intricate accuracy expressing florals, fruit or vegetal notes. Silvaner thrives in Franken’s limestone-rich soil and seems to go hand-in-hand with a Bocksbeutel (we are sure the signature bottle shape enhances its flavor!). Close on Silvaner’s heels is the delicate, aromatic Müller-Thurgau which is fast gaining ground as the preferred varietal for the younger generation of Franken winemakers. Bacchus, light-footed on the nose and palate is also a local favorite. Each of these varietals suits the warm, dry summers and cold winters of Franken displaying fresh and lively personalities in the glass.
The main town and cultural center in Franken is Würzburg. Beautifully baroque, it surrounded by a patchwork of historical vineyards like Würzburger Stein. The German philosopher Goethe was a fan of Silvaners and Rieslings from this plot and if they were anything like the masterfully balanced modern-day Steinwein produced here, we back him up 100%. Many Würzburg wineries open their doors for tours and tastings. We always make sure we visit at least one and, if time allows, three or four; the wine is wonderful and the tasting room architecture majestic.
This region has won countless awards both in Germany and globally, so we think it is a crime that 80% of Franken wines are sold a stone’s throw from where they are crafted. We get why the locals want to get their hands on the exceptional local wines, but our mission is for you to have the experience of Franken Silvaner, Müller-Thurgau and Bacchus as well.