Rudolf FÜRST

Franken, Germany

“It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.” This proverb is perhaps nowhere better illustrated than in the wine-producing regions of Germany. The warming climate has there proven particularly advantageous, enabling more consistent and complete phenolic maturity, notably with Riesling and Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir).

One of the estates that has particularly benefited from these changes is Weingut Rudolf Fürst. Located in the picturesque village of Bürgstadt in the Franconian wine region of Germany, the Fürst family has a long tradition of winemaking, dating back to the 17th century. The current estate was established in 1975. under the leadership of Paul and Monika Fürst. Since 2007, the viticulture and winemaking responsibilities are supervised by their son, Sebastian.

The estate covers approximately 21 hectares of vineyards, located on the slopes of the Spessart hills, primarily around Bürgstadt and Klingenberg. The terroir is distinguished by its red sandstone soil, which is particularly well-suited for Pinot Noir (Spätburgunder) and Riesling.
The Fürst family practices sustainable viticulture, with a strong emphasis on maintaining the health of the soil and vines. They employ organic farming techniques, minimizing the use of synthetic chemicals and fertilizers. The vineyards are managed with great care, using methods such as cover cropping to enhance biodiversity and soil fertility
At harvest, the fruit is picked by hand and meticulously sorted. For red wines, whole clusters are fermented over ambient yeasts in open-top wooden or concrete tanks, with extended maceration and gentle extraction to develop complex flavors and fine tannins. The wines are aged for 14-18 months in a combination of new (55%) and used oak barrels. The wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered.
For the whites, grapes are gently crushed, pressed, and fermented over native yeasts in stainless steel or wooden foudres, where the wines age on their fine lees for 8-16 months. The wines are then racked into stainless tanks for a few months before bottling, never fined and onlylightly filtered if necessary.

The property has been spearheaded by the couple’s son, Sebastian, since 2007. All 21 hectares of vines are farmed organically, and a variety of homemade composts and cover crops are used. Of the total hectarage, about 60% of the vines are planted to Spätburgunder, with a decent amount of Chardonnay, Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc), and Riesling smattered in. A number of single-vineyard Spätburgunder wines are made, which hail from the Grosses Gewächs of Schlossberg, Hundsrück, and more.

In the cellar, partial to 100% whole clusters are used in the vinification of red wines. All fermentations are done exclusively with native yeasts in open-top wooden or concrete tanks, followed by aging periods of 14 to 18 months in barrels (0 to 55% new) prior to release. No fining or filtration is used. For the whites, grapes are gently crushed, pressed, and fermented with native yeasts in barrels or foudres. The wines then rest in said vessels for eight to 16 months followed by a few months in steel tanks prior. Fining is never done, though light filtrations of white wines are implemented if necessary. Approximately 120,000 bottles of these vivacious family wines are produced annually.