Friday, October 27, 2017

Cellar Tour and Tasting at Weingut Jean Stodden, Ahr, with Alexander Stodden - Germany-North Tour 2017 by ombiasy WineTours

Picture: Alexander Stodden, Weingut Jean Stodden, Ahr

With 4,5 ouf of 5 grapes, the Gault&Millau WeinGuide Deutschland 2017 lists Weingut Jean Stodden as the leading wine producer in the Ahr Valley, followed by  Weingut Meyer-Näkel, with 4 grapes. This year on the Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours, we visited Weingut Jean Stodden, Weingut Kreuzberg and had lunch at the tavern of Weingut Meyer-Näkel.

Picture: Weingut Jean Stodden

Owner and winemaker Alexander Stodden was our host. Alexander is the fifth generation of the family to work in the business. Alexander started in the cellar in 2001 and has been in charge since 2006.

The visit started with a tasting in the winery's tasting room, followed by a tour of the wine cellar.

Pictures: Arriving at Weingut Jean Stodden

“Yes, Stodden is without doubt the best producer on the Ahr today.” Joel Payne, Gault Millau

Berry Bros & Rudd: The Stodden family have been dedicated to producing fine wines in Germany since 1578, a company even older than Berry Bros. & Rudd. The philosophy here is to work in harmony with nature. They have never been a champion of the soft Pinot Noir style usually found in the Ahr, instead favouring ideals that hail from the Cotes de Nuits in Burgundy. Dujac, Ponsot and Roumier are all firm favourites (and friends) of the Stodden family who aim to capture some of this essence, but with a German expression.

The winemaking is fairly traditional with longer macerations (4 to 21 days), then fermentation on skins until the right amount of body has been achieved. The wines and lees are then transferred to barriques from the massif Central in France for a minimum of 16 months after the harvest to develop fully. These are bigger wines with breadth, ripeness and structure.

Pictures: Tasting with Alexander Stodden Jean Stodden is one of the top producers of Pinot Noir in the world.  To say that the Ahr Valley is a unique habitat for growing grapes is an understatement.  I'm positive this is definitely one of the most (if not the most) unique places for growing Pinot Noir in the world.  This is Germany’s northernmost wine region.  At 560 hectares (1,250 acres), it is also one of the smallest.

Jean Stodden has 6.5 Has of vineyards in Rech split among three mountain vineyards: Recher Herrenberg, Dernauer Hardtberg and Ahrweiler Rosenthal.  These vines are amongst the most northern in Germany and all the vines are perched precariously on extremely steep slopes composed of mostly slate that can only be tended to by hand; a few solitary parcels require mountain climbing skills to be reached.

Pictures: Touring the Cellar with Alexander Stodden

The soil is ideal as it retains heat well that's obviously important to this overparticular varietal.  The Ahr river and the Eifel mountain range create the warm yet moderate microclimate ideal for producing top shelf Pinot Noir.  Due to the Nordic location, the days during the growing season are immensely long, but the intensity of the sun is less than that of France’s Burgundy region.

The result?  Uniform warmth throughout the long days with cool nights that Pinot Noir flourishes in. Jean Stodden does not seem to compare the Ahr to Burgundy, he only wants to make wines that showcase the terroir of the region.  Only 5-6% of his wines are exported outside of Germany.  Sour Grapes is fortunate to sell some impressive German Pinot Noirs from all over Germany including the Pfalz, Rheingau & Baden regions and is now happy to offer these as well.

The Wines Alexander Poured

2016 Jean Stodden Spätburgunder Blanc de Noir
2015 Jean Stodden Spätburgunder 
2015 Jean Stodden Spätburgunder J
2014 Jean Stodden Spätburgunder JS
2013 Jean Stodden Recher Spätburgunder 
2014 Jean Stodden Sonnenberg Spätburgunder GG
2014 Jean Stodden Herrenberg Spätburgunder GG

Under the heading "Spotlight on Spätburgunder" the Decanter November 2017 issue carries an article by Anne Krebiehl, MW, on German Pinot Noir. Germany’s Spätburgunders are now coming to the fore. The article comprises a list of 20 of the finest examples. The 2014 Jean Stodden Sonnenberg Spätburgunder GG is on that list.

Pictures: The World Class Pinot Noirs of Weingut Jean Stodden


Thank you very much Alexander for a wonderful tasting and cellar tour.

Pictures: Bye-bye

Postings: Germany-North Tour 2017 by ombiasy WineTours: Quintessential German Riesling and the Northernmost Pinot Noir (Posted and Forthcoming)

Germany-North Tour 2017 by ombiasy WineTours: Quintessential German Riesling and the Northernmost Pinot Noir

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