Fine wine auctions do not regularly feature young mavericks. But that is the case with Sotheby’s upcoming Vine event, which will include three wines produced by Eva Fricke. The German winemaker’s bottles will be numbers 44-200 in a total of 629 lots that will go under the hammer in a sale that also includes a classical assortment of fine wines owned by different British collectors.
The young Rheingau producer has, since establishing her eponymous estate in 2006, gained wide critical acclaim and a faithful following among wine lovers and collectors. She has single-handedly brought new life to the Lorch valley with her focus on terroir expression, fruit purity and her relentless determination to revive old historical vineyards. Fricke honed her craft after graduating from Geisenheim, working for leading producers around the world and as winemaker at Leitz.
Fricke’s very small 2019 Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA) and Beerenauslese production will be available exclusively through Sotheby’s. The wines were directly released by Weingut Eva Fricke and are currently held at the Octavian Vaults. A few bottles will be held back and kept at the winery’s library.
The auction house’s interest met Fricke’s need to deal with unprecedented demand – effectively impossible to meet due to the small quantities produced – following rave reviews and record-breaking scores from top critics and journalists. The 2019 Lorcher Krone Trockenbeerenauslese was the first-ever Rheingau wine to receive a 100-point nod from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate. The Lorcher Kapellenberg Trockenbeerenauslese and Lorcher Schlossberg Beerenauslese scored 99 and 97 points respectively.
‘Following discussions with Eva we felt that offering them for sale on our global auction platform would not only be the fairest way to distribute them but also an opportunity to bring her wines to an audience that may not be aware of her rising talent,’ said Damian Tillson, director and senior wine specialist in Sotheby’s London Wine department.
Only 18 half bottles (375ml) of the Lorcher Krone TBA 2019 will be available for purchase, and each is expected to go for between £2,000 and £3,000. Eva will be donating the hammer price for the first half bottle of the Lorcher Krone TBA 2019 sold to sharethemeal.org.
2019 was the first vintage Fricke produced noble sweet wines. The year yielded outstanding fruit following a tricky spring. As Eva points out, ‘These noble wines are a gift from nature and we can only produce them if the circumstances are right.’ When asked if she’ll produce any in 2021, the reply is cautious: this harvest, following a complex season, is ‘still in nature’s hands’.
The grapes for the TBA and Beerenauslese wines are sourced from very specific plots within each of the single vineyards. The fruit development varies greatly due to clonal differences, exposition and vine age, which explains why only some of them will be suited for the production of these premium late harvest wines, touched by botrytis.
Tillson confirmed he is ‘thrilled to be working alongside Eva, whose wines we are in love with at Sotheby’s.’ The auction house has had to adapt quickly to online sales over the last 18 months and the move opened a far broader, and more diverse, global audience. ‘This has presented us with an opportunity to look beyond the stalwarts of Bordeaux and Burgundy and offer wines that we, as passionate wine lovers, would like to champion.’
Fricke is likewise excited to be part of the Vine auction and feels ‘it is great that Sotheby’s shows interest in younger generations from the wine world as well’.