Thursday, September 21, 2017

Best German Pinot Noir/ Spätburgunder - Vinositas (Joachim A. J. Kaiser and Torsten Kogge), Germany

Picture: Tasting with Joachim A. J. Kaiser  and Torsten Kogge in Karlsruhe (Photo: Vinositas)

Red Wine Revolution in Germany

There is a red wine revolution going on in Germany and the world increasingly takes note of it. Of course, given its location, the red wines of Germany tend to be not like the fruity red wines we know from warmer countries, but lean and more elegant, with a lot of finesse. 30 years ago, the share of red wine in total German wine output was not more than 10 percent; in the international wine scene, people would not talk about German red wine. But this is changing. Germany now produces red wines that can compete with the best of the world; the share of red wines in terms of production has increased to about 35 percent now in Germany and increasingly the international market takes note of what is happening in Germany.

Karlsruhe Spätburgunder Tasting Series

Still, knowledge about German Pinot Noir outside of Germany is limited. Against this background, I find the list that Joachim A:J. Kaiser published recently very helpful. Joachim A.J. Kaiser's list grew out of a series of tastings that took place in Karlsruhe in 2016. Annette Schiller and I were lucky to be part of one of the tastings, with winemakers Johannes Jülg, Weingut Jülg, and Jürgen Krebs, Weingut Krebs.

Joachim A. J. Kaiser and Torsten Kogge provided a detailed account of the tastings on Vinositas.

Joachim A. J. Kaiser  and Torsten Kogge: We, that’s a group of wine journalists, vintners and educated wine enthusiasts, decided to have a more recent overview of German Pinot Noirs. Some Pinot Noirs in our tastings were selected because they were enthusiastically perceived in the German wine world, but mainly because they scored high in our personal as well as in our friends previous tastings. In the end 40 Pinot Noirs, 33 German ones, 4 from Burgundy, 2 from Switzerland and 1 from Oregon were arranged in four tastings, November and December 2016.

Top 20

Picture: Top 20 Spätburgunder (Photo: Vinositas)

Joachim A. J. Kaiser  and Torsten Kogge: People might claim that some producers of top German Pinot Noirs are missing, like Friedrich Becker (Pfalz) or Jean Stodden (Ahr), and our selection of German Pinot Noirs is erratic. That’s neither here nor there, our aim was not to have all high-end or a completely regional representative sample of German Pinot Noirs. But we definitely had a broad overview with many renowned wineries and lots of not so well-known ones. Add a dozen more wineries, it won’t change the general picture.

Joachim A. J. Kaiser  and Torsten Kogge: It’s no surprise that among our top 20s several internationally renowned producers can be found, Fürst, Heger, Huber, Kesseler, Knipser and Kreuzberg. Baltes, Bischöfliche Weingüter, Jülg, Koegler, Kuhn, Minges and Steinmetz might sound familiar to wine professionals. But who has ever heard of Bertram, Petri, solveigs or Lingenfelder? Meanwhile there are so many German vintners throughout all wine growing regions producing good to outstanding Pinot Noirs, it’s a real miracle:

Joachim A. J. Kaiser  and Torsten Kogge: No doubt, many Pinot Noirs from young vintners we did not have in our tastings would not have had any problem to compete with our selection. For example, Sven Enderle & Florian Moll’s Buntsandstein and Muschelkalk Pinot Noirs, or Dirk Würtz’s Balthasar Ress Caviar Pinot Noir are exceptional, highly individual wines. Another example is Oliver Gabel’s Honigsack Spätburgunder, which is not as freaky as others. Aromas are more on the classic Pinot Noir side, but also excellent quality wise.

Picture: Top 3 Spätburgunder (Photo: Vinositas)

Jancis Robinson on the Rise of German Pinot Noir (Financial Times)

A couple of days ago, Jancis Robinson released an article in the Financial Times on the rise of Pinot Noir in Germany. For the full article, go here. Below you find the first few chapters of Jancis' article:

Which countries grow the most Pinot Noir, the red burgundy grape? Not surprisingly, France wins gold in this particular championship, its total vastly boosted by the amount of Pinot Noir grown in Champagne. And thanks to the 2004 film Sideways, American demand for the grape has soared so much that the US takes silver.

But the bronze medal for growing Pinot Noir nowadays goes to Germany. Just one German region, Baden in the south-west, grows about as much Pinot Noir as the world’s fourth most important Pinot grower, New Zealand.

Partly thanks to warmer summers, and partly because of German consumers’ increasing partiality for red wine, Germany’s total area of Pinot Noir vines almost doubled in the 20 years to 2006. This total, encompassing a great mix of different clones and varied soils, has since remained fairly stable at about a third of all German vineyards.

Such is German enthusiasm for their Spätburgunder, as Pinot Noir is known there, that we don’t see huge quantities on export markets, but I seize every opportunity I can to taste it, because it seems to me that the average quality has risen enormously over the past five to 10 years. And, while Spätburgunders from renowned producers are rarely cheap, burgundy prices are now almost ludicrously high, so alternatives to red burgundy have become increasingly attractive.

Schiller-wine - Related Postings

Wine Tasting at Weingut Bernhard Huber – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Visit: Winzerhof Thörle in Saulheim, Rheinhessen – Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Weingut Chat Sauvage – Bourgogne in the Middle of the Rheingau: Meeting Chat Sauvage’s Winemaker and General Manager Michael Staedter, Germany

Tasting and Tour with the Pinot Noir Legend Paul Fürst, Weingut Rudolf Fürst in Bürgstadt, Franken – Germany-East Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

Germany's Best Pinot Noir Wines - BerlinSpätburgunderCup 2013/2015

The New Germany: Red, Sparkling and Dry - Tasting at the American Wine Society 2016 National Conference in Los Angeles, USA, led by Annette Schiller

The New Germany – Red, Dry, Sparkling: German Wine Society Tasting, led by Annette Schiller, at Restaurant Old Europe in Washington DC

Vineyard Tour, Cellar Tour and Tasting with Rainer Schnaitmann at Weingut Rainer Schnaitmann in Fellbach, Württemberg – Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), Germany

Tasting at Weingut Ökonomierat Rebholz in Siebeldingen, Pfalz – Germany-South by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

Cellar Tour and Tasting at Weingut August Kesseler in Assmanshausen, with Winemaker Simon Batarseh – Germany-North Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours

Tasting at Weingut H.J. Kreuzberg in Dernau, Ahr, with Ludwig Kreuzberg and Frank Josten – Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016

Vineyard Tour, Cellar Tour, Lunch and Tasting at Weingut Fürst Hohenlohe Oehringen in Oehringen–Verrenberg, Württemberg – Germany-East Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours

Cellar Tour, Tasting and Dinner with Kilian Graf von Bentzel-Sturmfeder, Weingut Graf von Bentzel-Sturmfeder in Schozach, Württemberg - Germany-East Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours

Burgundy (and Champagne) 2016 Tour by ombiasy WineTours: From Lyon to Reims - Wine, Food, Culture and History

Germany-North Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours: Quintessential German Riesling and the Northernmost Pinot Noir

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