Franzen - The Rise of Bremmer Calmont

21 June 2018

Lead by the two young winemakers, Kilian (30) and Angelina (28) Franzen, Weingut Franzen has a focus on modern dry Rieslings featuring late harvest grapes for complete ripeness with strong minerality. 

Having to pick up the reins quite early in their lives, after the tragic death of Kilian's father in June 2010 - Uli Franzen - while working in the vineyard, was not a smooth procedure. They describe the following autumn as absolutely horrible. On top of their grief, they had to to juggle their studies (Oenology in Geisenheim) whilst working in the vineyards and cellar. Scarcity of grape pickers and bad, damp weather was another punch in the stomach. But the young pair powered through and the results of their efforts show today. Together, they brought Bremmer Calmont back to life which became part of the motivation behind Austrian magazine Falstaff's award of Franzen Newcommer of the Year 2018.

Hence, Bremmer Calmont is the main attraction from Weingut Franzen. It has been described as probably the steepest vineyard in Europe - if not the world. Definitely worth a visit if in the area! The wall-like hills were originally left untouched by other producers as it was considered too difficult to farm. Uli, however, took up the challenge and today the vines, he planted, are cared for through networks of rail chairs. It's a technique that is used in many places along the Mosel, but on Bremmer Calmont it's more than a convenient tool - it's a vital necessity. 

In addition to Bremmer Calmont, Franzen also cultivates grapes on Neefer Frauenberg and opposite Bremm near the convent ruins "Kloster Stuben". All together, they are three hardworking full timers, who produce about 70.000 bottles a year and farm more than 70 ha of land. They specialise only in modern dry wines, for a modern market, with 90 % riesling grapes, 5 % burgundy varieties, and 5 % of the less known elbling. 

Bearing the young age of the wine growers in mind, they have already showed considerable talent and will be most interesting to follow the comming years. We excitedly tasted their wines and here is how we scored them: 

Franzen Quarzit Schiefer Riesling 2016 
87 Light, pale yellow in colour. Aroma had peach, honey notes, apricots, pear, and lime. Flavour showed white peach, lime, mirabelle, pear, minerals, and hints of apricots. Medium acidity and dry.
Franzen Bremmer Calmont Riesling 2015
88 Yellow and golden in colour. Aroma had lemons, lime, white peach, black tea with jasmine flowers, minerals and honey melon. Over the palate came ripe pale stone fruits, mirabelle, honey flowers, buttery honey melon, fat pears, minerals, and tangerine. Medium acidity and dry. Elegant and precise.
Franzen Neefer Frauenberg Riesling GG 2015
89 Bright yellow-golden in colour. Good amount of ripe to overripe fruit in the nose, featuring cantaloupe, mirabelle, white peach, pear, apricot and candied lemons. Over the palate came peach, buttery honey melon, apricots, fresh lemons, and minerality. Still plenty of acidity and dry. Elegant classic Riesling.
Franzen Bremmer Calmont Riesling GG 2016
89 Pale golden in colour. Aroma had potent citrus fruits, white blossoms, green apples, minerals, and black tea. Over the palate came plenty of minerals, mirabelle, tangerine, white peach, mixed apples, white flowers, and lemon verbena. Medium plus acidity and dry.
Franzen Calidus Mons Riesling 2015
90 Classical Mosel Riesling aroma of fresh pale stone fruits, pear, yellow apples with hints of black tea, white blossoms, and floral honey. Creamy citrus fruits, fresh peach, yellow apples, and floral honey in the flavour with a subtle backbone of elegant minerality. Medium acidity and a dry long finish.
Franzen Neefer Frauenberg Spätburgunder 2014
86 Light, clear crimson in colour. Aroma had red currant, forest strawberries, red and sour bon bons, hazel notes, and sour cherries. Over the palate came currants, forest strawberries, cherry bon bons, thyme and forest floor with subtle notes of oak. Medium tannins, medium acidity and dry.

The wines for this tasting were submitted by Propperiet Vin Import

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