If you haven't been paying attention, it may come as a surprise that the Rheinhessen, a region of flat farmland known for being the birthplace of “Liebfraumilch,” can produce world class Rieslings. The region has been thrust into the spotlight in the last two decades, largely due the influence of renowned winemaker Klaus Peter Keller, a champion of dry German Rieslings. However, due to the creeping influence of the international wine press, many young producers tend to focus on concentration, weight, density, and power in the hopes of being recognized.
Florian Fauth, the young, 5th generation winemaker running his family's estate, Seehof, is the counterpoint to this trend. His wines eschew weight for finesse, power for clarity, fireworks for whispers. It's likely that he has received a few pointers from his friend and brother-in-law, Klaus Peter Keller.
Seehof is located in Westhofen, a famous wine village in Rheinhessen. The estate possesses three excellent vineyard sites in the heart of Westhofen: Kirchspiel, Morstein and Steingrube. The nearly two acres of Steingrube that Seehof farms are positioned directly below Abtserde and are sandwiched between Morstein and Kirchspiel (view map). The area is characterized most notably for the limestone soils which give the wines their glycerin-induced sexiness, and the flair of acidity, a presence strong enough to counter the lavish extract and to keep the wines from feeling gooey or too heavy.
Above all, it is important to Fauth that his wines embody the terroir of Westhofen. He says, "The focus of our philosophy is the wine as a very individual product. Each vine should be clearly reflected in the wine, and none of our wines should be interchangeable."
"Young, extremely amiable Florian Fauth is carrying forward a five-generation family legacy involving vineyards in his home village of Westhofen that were once obscure but have long since become famous through the accomplishments of Fauth’s brother-in-law Klaus Peter Keller and of neighbor Philipp Wittmann. An important measure of Fauth’s seriousness and talent, especially considering that quite a few dry Rheinhessen Rieslings are starting to taste formulaic or imitative, is that his from the best Westhofen sites have a distinct style, like their author combining clarity and openness with understatement, and cannot be mistaken with that of Wittmann or Keller. If Fauth remains in the shadow of Wittmann and Keller, which is scarcely avoidable considering what those two have accomplished, that might not remain the case for much longer."