Home > Good, History of Wine, Tasting Notes and Wine Reviews > Franconian wine, hipster juice since the 19th century

Franconian wine, hipster juice since the 19th century

My first widespread experience with German wine took place in the early 1990s when I spent a fair amount of time in Frankfurt.  My host family’s cellar was naturally filled with the squat, flattened wine bottles known as bocksbeutel.   I do not recall any of the producers or vintages but after all these years it is the bocksbeutel that I strongly recall.   In the 19th century Franconian wines in bocksbeutel were very popular in England.  “Stein wine” was was considered the best of the Franken wines and was often the most expensive.  The Prince of Wales was called to the bar to join the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple in 1861.[1]  for the celebratory meal cut glass wine goblets were commissioned.   From these goblets they “quaffed” 1781 Sherry, 1851 Chateau d’Yquem, 1846 Stein wine, and 1846 Cabinet Steinberger.   John Louis William Thudichum wrote that Stein wine was in part special because that the rays of the sun reflected off of the river thus supplementing that which fell directly on the Steinberg vineyard.[2] He also wrote that much of what was sold in London was not true Stein wine.  This “certain notoriety” was perhaps due “to the peculiar bottles” in which it was sold. [3]

IPHOFEN, EINERSHEIMERTOR. Image from  Weingut Hans Wirsching.

IPHOFEN, EINERSHEIMERTOR. Image from Weingut Hans Wirsching.

Franconian wine periodically appears on the shelves at MacArthur Beverages.  It is never in great quantity so they often sell out quickly.  With that in mind I grabbed a bottle, chilled it down, then opened it up right away.  Weingut Hans Wirsching has been involved with wine since at least the early 17th century.  The vineyards are primarily planted to Silvaner perhaps due to consideration of it as making the “true” Franconian wine.  The 2012 Hans Wirsching, Iphofer, Silvaner, Trocken, Franken was made from fruit sourced at the old wine town of Iphofen.  The wine was floral on the nose followed by lively, prickly flavors in the mouth.  It then morphed to become creamy and dense with minerality.  I really enjoyed this so I strongly recommend you try this wine. The price is attractive and the opened bottle will last the work week.  This wine was purchased at MacArthur Beverages.


2012 Hans Wirsching, Iphofer, Silvaner, Trocken, Franken – $17
Imported by Rudi Wiest. This wine is 100% Silvaner.  Alcohol 12%.  The color was a very pale yellow.  The nose bore white, floral fruit that was not infused.  In the mouth was a very lively burst of flavors that was matched by a prickle on the tongue.  The wine then took on minerals with a creamy finish.  The creamy and dense flavors persisted through the aftertaste.  *** Now-2019.


[1] THE PRINCE OF WALES AT THE MIDDLE TEMPLE. (1861, Nov 03). The Observer (1791- 1900) Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/475034895?accountid=14784
[2] Thudichum, John Louis William. A Treatise on the Origin, Nature, and Varieties of Wine. 1872. URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=48soAAAAYAAJ&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false
[3] Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, Volume 21. 1873. URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=vLwoAQAAMAAJ&pg=PR6#v=onepage&q&f=false

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