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Long-time readers will know: Silvaner is one of our great passions. But the variety is also so unique in many ways that we can hardly imagine a world without it.
© Winery Rainer Sauer

For one thing, there is its very own aroma and texture. It tends to have quiet tones and very restrained fruit like Chardonnay, but lacks its acidity, coolness and nuanced citrus notes; it has a tendency towards vegetal aromas like Sauvignon Blanc or even Grüner Veltliner, but has neither the expressive aromatics of the former nor the often a little plump fruit of the latter. Similar to Pinot Blanc, it can be light-footed and fine or melting and powerful, but it does not have the nuttiness and more vegetal, often downright "earthy" character. The fact that it has Traminer in its family tree can be seen in the fact that in warm years Silvaner tends to have high sugar levels and consequently plenty of alcohol, but aromatically the two could hardly be further apart.

But it is not only in the glass that Silvaner claims a special role, it is also choosy in the vineyard, although thanks to its aversion to dry, stony soils it does not give Riesling too much competition for the right site. This and its thick-skinned nature could also be reasons why Silvaner often reacts anti-cyclically to weather conditions. Public perception of the quality of a vintage in Germany is based primarily on how good the Rieslings turn out. At the same time, vintages that tend to be difficult for Riesling always turn out particularly well for Silvaner, such as 2014 and 2020.

Compared to 2020, 2021 is usually the more successful vintage for Riesling, even if the results are by no means as uniformly good as some commentaries suggest. That is why Silvaner is not at a disadvantage this year compared to Riesling, even though 2020 was perhaps the better vintage for it. But this is only noticeable in nuances, if at all. 2021 offers a wealth of excellent Silvaner in almost all styles. Only the really ponderous department remains largely unoccupied. But firstly, this is probably not only due to the vintage, and secondly, hardly anyone misses it.

We have tasted almost 300 Silvaners in the last few weeks, of which we present the best here. Links to all the wines and their producers can be found at the end of each vintage selection.

In FocusSilvaner Vintage 2021

Weingut May Franconia/Franken 2021 Thüngersheim Rothlauf Silvaner Grosses Gewächs 94 WP excellent 50.00 €
Weingut May Franconia/Franken 2021 Retzstadt Himmelspfad Silvaner Grosses Gewächs 94 WP excellent 50.00 €
Weingut Ottenbreit Franconia/Franken 2021 Silvaner Landwein "Come as you are" 91 WP excellent 23.00 €
Weingut Rainer Sauer Franconia/Franken 2021 Silvaner trocken "AB OVO" 91 WP excellent 25.00 €
Weinbau Bernard Franconia/Franken 2021 Klingenberg Schloßberg Silvaner trocken 89 WP very good 10.00 €
Weingut Rainer Sauer Franconia/Franken 2021 Silvaner trocken "L" 89 WP very good 18.00 €
Weingut Olinger Franconia/Franken 2021 Iphofen Kronsberg Sylvaner trocken 89 WP very good 15.00 €
Weingut Olinger Franconia/Franken 2021 Iphofen Kalb Sylvaner trocken 89 WP very good 15.00 €

In FocusSilvaner Vintage 2020

Weingut Giegerich Franconia/Franken 2020 Rück Schalk Silvaner trocken 90 WP excellent 22.00 €

In Focus: Silvaner Older vintages

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