The wine is impeccably balanced on the palate. Here, orchard fruits interplay with fine spices and herbal elements. A great sense of zest provides the right counterpart to balance out the slight creaminess in the finish. The aftertaste is all about black berried fruits, mirabelle, and smoke.
Here’s the open, obvious secret: Lauer’s “Senior” is one of the of the greatest values in German wine, and frankly white wine, period. While Lauer considers this a village-level wine (special Lauer label-reading tip: any bottle with a green circle on it is considered a village-level wine), the “Senior” is in fact a single-vineyard wine sourced completely from the Grand Cru Kupp. With an average vine age of around 70 years and a plethora of ungrafted vines, this is a wine that punches well above its price. It is Grand Cru for the price of village, plain and simple.
There’s a story here, so make a quick cup of coffee and sit for a moment.
The wine is called “Senior” as a tribute to Florian’s grandfather who was already in the 1950s famous at least in the Saar Valley for his dry Riesling. So the story goes, he would walk through the cellar and taste all the barrels and then write “Senior” on the cask he wanted for his own drinking. Nine times out of ten, the cask he took was good ole “Fass, or barrel, #6,” sourced from parcels in the western-most part of the Kupp (to the left of the Kern site if you look at the Lauer Grand Cru map, available in the gallery to the left). This is one of the cooler parcels, farthest away from the moderating influence of the Saar River. As it happens, this wine nearly always ferments to a precarious, near-impossible-to-describe balance, in this gray area that is not at all sweet, but not legally dry either. I refer to this style of wine as “dry tasting.” In the old days, “dry” Saar wines often needed a little bit of residual sugar, not to make them taste fruity, but to just counter the ferocious acidities. So this is “Senior” not only named after Florian’s grandfather, but after an old-school style of wines common for the Saar. And while it is fashionable now to do natural ferments, and to seek a more natural balance for Rieslings, the Lauers are famous because they have been doing it for centuries, before it was in vogue.
You just have to taste this wine; while it normally ferments to off dry levels, the wine is dry tasting yet textural with amazing depth and clarity. Don’t worry about how dry or not it is – it’s just delicious. Focus on that.