Wednesday, December 9, 2009
In the Glass: A 2007 Pinot Noir from the Gault Millau Shooting Star of the Year - Estate of Baron Gleichenstein
Picture: Johannes and Christina von Gleichenstein
The Estate of Baron Gleichenstein was all over in the wine press these days because it is this year’s shooting star of the Gault Millau.
The Estate was founded in 1634 already. But only in recent years the Estate has taken off under the young Baron Johannes von Gleichenstein. "Increasingly, he uses the great potential of the prime locations in Oberrotweil for excellent Burgundy,” editor Joel Payne of the Gault Millau praised his wines. With his Pinot Noir of 2007 Gleichenstein also moved into the top range of German red wines and with his Pinot Gris from the Oberrotweil Henkenberg into the top range of white wines.
Baron Johann von Gleichenstein has been the head of operations since 2003 in the eleventh generation. He is now supported by his wife Christina and they have a son Philip. His father, Hans-Joachim Freiherr von Gleichenstein, took over the business in 1959 as a mixed farming operation and transformed it into a pure wine making operation.
The Estate is located in the Kaiserstuhl region in Baden, the most southerly German wine-growing area, across Rhine river from Alsace. It is known for its Pinot wines - both red and white.
2007 Spaetburgunder Oberrotweiler Eichberg Barrique QbA Trocken Baden Freiherr von Gleichenstein
In Germany, the Pinot Noir is called Spätburgunder. It is to red wine what the Riesling is to white wine: the cream of the crop. In the US, Pinot Noir shows great promise in Oregon and California. The reputation that gets Pinot Noir so much attention, however, is owed to the wines of the Bourgogne in France, where it has probably been cultivated since at least the 4th century (first documented, however, in the 14th century).
Regardless of where it’s grown, Pinot Noir is not typically a value wine. That is so because Pinot Noir is such a delicate grape that it is difficult and expensive to grow and make into the spectacular wine it can be. It is sensitive to climate and soil, Pinot Noir needs warmth (but not intense heat) to thrive and does well in chalky soils. As the German name implies, it ripens late (spät).
Oberrotweiler Eichenberg - a vineyard with a lot of exposure to the sun. The soil consists of weathered volcanic rocks.
Barrique – the wine was in small Barrique barrels for about a year before bottling.
QbA trocken – a dry Qualitaetswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete (QbA) wine where the grapes had a sugar level at harvest that allowed the wine maker to chaptalize the wine, not to increase the residual sugar level, but to increase the alcohol level; this wine had 14 percent alcohol and I would guess around 1 gram per liter residual sugar, i.e. the wine is bone dry.
Light ruby-red in the glass, with thick legs, attack of wet leaves and leather on the nose, coupled with notes of strawberries and cherries, full bodied on the palate with more red fruit tones, elegant and feminine, lasting finish.
His red wines pushed Baron Gleichenstein into the 4 grapes category Gault Millau (with 5 grapes being the maximum). He is also the winner of 2009 of the German Red Wine Award of the journal Vinum.
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