Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung Names Christian Stahl Winegrower of the Year
Christian Stahl, a winemaker from the Franconian town of Auernhofen, is the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung’s “Winegrower of the Year.” Stuart Pigott bestowed the title on Stahl, whom he calls the “Quentin Tarantino of white wine,” as part of the newspaper’s “Favorites of the Year” section. The annual award for Wine and Food is considered one of the most prestigious honors that a winemaker or estate can receive.
“When Christian Stahl assumed responsibility for the winery back in 2000, his estate owned roughly 1.5 hectares of vineyards alongside other agricultural products. 18 years later, Stahl can look back on roughly 2000% growth, a figure that leaves many world-famous German companies looking anemic by comparison. Yet this is not in and of itself a strong enough reason to bestow this award. What matters is that the growth has been accompanied by an unyielding commitment to first-class quality in Stahl’s wines, as well as the winemaker’s enormous drive for innovation,” Pigott explained in his article.
Food and Wine ‘in the middle of nowhere’
The estate owned by Christian Stahl is over 200 years old, but has only been making wine for roughly the last 30 of them. Through its rise into winegrowing, Stahl’s estate has become a locus of lively exchange, not least thanks to its restaurant, where Christian and his wife Simone pursue the new and creative in ways that draw wine geeks from all around Germany to the small town of Auernhofen — in the middle of nowhere.
Trailblazing, expressive white wines
Working with Silvaner, Scheurebe, Müller-Thurgau and Chardonnay from the high-situated sites of the Tauber Valley, Christian Stahl needed only a few years to establish himself as one of the shooting stars of the German wine scene.
“A decade ago he stood out for his trailblazing, expressive dry white wines from the widely maligned Müller-Thurgau grape and surprisingly vivacious and juicy dry Silvaner white grapes,” Stuart Pigott wrote in the FAS on 11/18. He added: “Since then he has been counted among Germany’s finest producers of white wines from Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, yet without imitating the French specialists.”
— Quaffability, Idiosyncrasy, Razor’s Edge
Stahl’s vines grow in shell limestone soil, often at 400 meters in elevation and above. The cool microclimate lends his wines an edge that fully justifies their reputation as quaffable, idiosyncratic and living on the razor’s edge — a far cry from what is typically found in classic Franconian Bocksbeutel bottles.