DR. FISCHER   Saar  -  GERMANY

Family documents show that the Fischers' ancestors were involved in viticulture as far back as 1758. In 1950, Dr H.H.Fischer, a surgeon, inherited the estate from his father, an appointed public notary in Ockfen. Due to his medical duties in Frankfurt, Dr Fischer's wife, Gunhild, managed the estate. The estate is well-known for its Ockfener Bockstein wines, and in 1964 the former Lintz estate in the nearby village of Wawern was purchased; property dating back to 1043, which was formally owned by the cathedral seminary of Trier before secularization in 1796.

Following the death of her husband Hans-Henning in 1999, Karin Fischer now manages the entire estate.

The Saar valley is all too often hit by frost, damaging the young buds or onsetting fruit, but when weather conditions permit, the microclimate can lead to the production of truly great textbook Riesling wines; wines with excellent maturing potential, if given a chance to mature in the bottle. If weather also permits, and the wild boar can be kept out of the vineyard, Beerenauslese and Eiswein are produced in small quantities; wines with sheer immortal potential! In recent years, the highly rated Ockfener Bockstein has profited from global warming, and Riesling now ripens every year, but still benefits from the cool climate in hot years such as 2003.

Saar wines are typified by their steely character, their refreshing and crisp acidity; light in alcohol, but great heavy-weights in mineral, slate-stone flavors. Being at a higher altitude than in the Mosel valley, the cooler microclimate in the secluded Saar area is an advantage with today's global warming. The long vegetation period with harvesting into November, allows for Riesling to show its full potential, without high alcohol. Karin Fischer's philosophy is to produce dry-style wines that can accompany fine cuisine, and even her normal Kabinett and Spatlese wines are well balanced with only a touch of harmonizing sweetness. These are wines that can be enjoyed when young, but improve slowly over the years when the primary fruit flavors are replaced by complex aromas, reflecting the terroir. Dr Fischer wines have excellent maturing potential, and can excite connoisseurs even after 30 years.

Although not certified organic, great care is taken with respect to sustainable viticulture, as well as selective handpicking and gentle processing of the grapes, followed by a cool, naturally slow fermentation in the old oak Fuder casks (1000 litres). Since the 2007 vintage, Karin has been bottling her wines with the new stelvin closure.