But small, unassuming regions like the Ahr Valley are making sure that the legend of German Spätburgunder lives on. World famous as the homeland of Riesling, Germany is enjoying a new era of quality winemaking, and is so much more than a country that just produces sweet wines. The Pinot (Burgunder) family is widely planted in Germany, particularly the red wine grape Pinot Noir (Spätburgunder), the third most widely planted varietal in the country and the most widely planted grape in Baden and the Ahr. Looking for more info on German wine regions? Mayschoss-Altenahr: Cradle of Wine-growers' Cooperatives, Jancis Robinson's thoughts on Meyer-Näkel, Germany Wine (official 2018 vintage notes), Germany WIne (official 2015 vintage notes). But viable alternatives exist in a few European wine regions. The river at the heart of the Nahe region creates a moderate climate for grape cultivation. Dry, slightly tannic, and mild in acidity, full-bodied with flavors and aromas of red berries, subtle earthy notes, and a long finish. Key grape varieties here are the usual suspects – Pinot Noir and Riesling, with a bit of Silvaner and Gutedel too. Company No: 03800762, Tel: 0343 224 1001 It’s visually gobsmacking. Weather conditions can be harsher and difficult to predict, so winemakers use stone in their vineyards to conduct and hold heat to counteract the cold spells. Dating back to the 1300s, the best vineyards here are planted on steep, fossil-laden, chalky slopes, enabling winemakers to grow the highest quality vines. The word pinot could have been given to it because the grapes grow in small pine cone-shaped clusters. Look for the classically styled wines from Schloss Johannisberg, one of the world's oldest Riesling producers with its fine pedigree and reputation. With the first vines being planted way back in AD 998, it’s certainly one of Germany’s oldest regions, giving the wines a romantic old world feel. By far the longest German wine region, Baden runs along the bank of the river Rhine, producing an impressive variety of flavoursome full-bodied wines throughout its nine individual districts. Slate is essential for viticulture in this region as it retains heat from the sun, while the volcanic ash holds water. VAT: 165 559 574 – registered in England & Wales History lovers and wine enthusiasts unite in this key appellation filled with ancient Roman castles and monasteries. In addition to Germany, which organised the tasting, the benchmarking event featured top examples from 10 of the world’s major Pinot Noir producing regions: Australia, South … German Pinot Noir (also known as Spätburgunder) Germany ranks 3rd as the largest producer of Pinot Noir in the world. The Ahr Valley is the ideal spot for people who enjoy a day of hiking followed by a delicious bottle of Pinot (or Frühburgunder!). These are often made in oaked styles. Rich in tradition, Rheingau is one of Germany’s most distinguished wine regions. Beyond the Pinot varieties, expect to see some Riesling, Müller-Thurgau, Portugieser, and Dornfelder along with rare plantings of Regent and Domina scattered throughout the valley. 40 percent of Baden vineyards are planted with red wine grapes – mostly pinot noir – and these account for more than half of all German pinot noir production. A cooler climate with rugged soils requires that the best vineyards tend to be on southern-facing slopes (to catch the sun). Most wines produced here are dry, including varieties such as Pinot Gris and Blanc, although Hessische Bergstrasse also takes full advantage of its cool climate by making a lot of delicious sweet Eiswein too (see How Is Sweet Wine Made for more info). Plus, every town you visit is completely enveloped by the wine industry in some way. Vines here rarely have to contend with extreme temperatures, as the climate is fairly mild. The benchmark for Pinot Noir, Burgundy reigns supreme. To step into the Ahr and find out it’s one of Germany’s smallest regions is a shock. (Germany Vineyards photo credit Wolfgang Staudt) The steep vineyard-covered slopes of Mittelrhein have clayish slate soils that are perfect for white grape varieties (85% of all vines are white grapes to be exact!). Loess-loam, limestone, sand, gravel, clay. Covering just 462 hectares, it’s one of Germany’s smaller wine growing areas, yet cultivates an impressive array of grape varieties. By the way, Loess is same soil type found in the Columbia Valley in Washington and Oregon. A variety of soil types exist here that work well for viticulture. Founded in 1868, Mayschoss-Altenahr is Germany’s oldest wine cooperative. Keep an eye out for these years while you’re on the lookout for Ahr Valley Pinot Noir: Here are a few standout wineries worth investigating further: An impressive family-run operation, the quality of the wines made at Meyer-Näkel has caught the eye (and tastebuds) of more than a few wine experts. With over 15,000 hectares of vines, this is the third largest wine region in Germany. Our efforts focused on the regions of Ahr, Franken, Nahe, Mosel, Pfalz, Rheingau, and Rheinhessen. These vineyards are planted with Riesling grapes, with some Spätburgunder (Pinot noir), and produce some of … A truly picturesque region of flourishing vineyards and quaint villages, sunny Pfalz is a wine lover’s dream. The first vines in Mosel were planted by the Romans, with Germany’s most famous variety, Riesling, first being planted in the Middle Ages. Covering just 462 hectares, it’s one of Germany’s smaller wine growing areas, yet cultivates an impressive array of grape varieties. Nahe Riesling has a light spiciness and smooth finish, while Silvaner grown in the flatter foothills is floral and fragrant. Eleven percent (11,800 ha in 2019) of Germany's vineyard area is covered by Spätburgunder grapes, primarily in the southern regions of Baden and Württemberg, and also in the more northerly regions of the Ahr Valley where it accounts for over 65% vineyard area. The prime grape German winemakers are focusing on is pinot noir. Guntrum’s Pinot Noir 2016 is a really impressive gateway wine into the world of German Pinot Noir. This breath-taking region benefits from ample sunshine and moderate temperatures, largely helped by the vast, heat-reflecting surface of the river Rhine. This water remains i The vineyards of Ahr run along the valley of the Ahr River. The best are produced in the northerly Ahr region, near the Cold War capital Bonn, where they can be enchantingly delicate and floral. Known for its crisp, dry fine white wines, the area is named after the Saale and Unstrut rivers that run through the heart of its vineyards. Working extensively with massal selection of clones, 10 – 15 different Pinot clones exist within one vineyard. The ability to grow grapes with such naturally high sweetness and acidity is also ideal for sparkling wine, referred to in Germany as Sekt. With 66.9% of Germany’s vineyards dedicated to producing knock-out white wine, and 11.5% to Pinot Noir, it’s never been a more exciting time for German wine production. Soils also vary hugely here, from exceptionally fertile volcanic igneous rock, to heat-retaining slate and nutrient-rich clay. The ice crystals break away when the grapes are crushed, leaving juice with a super high concentration of sugar for mouth-wateringly rich dessert wine! I also write plays, jokes, and the occasional diatribe. Baden is the southernmost of Germany's 13 official wine regions. Germany – famous primarily for the world-class Riesling produced in its Mosel region – is entering a new stage of its wine history. Look for the classically styled wines from Schloss Johannisberg, one of the world's oldest Riesling producers with its fine pedigree and reputation. The slate is also particularly well drained, forcing the grapes to grow more gradually. The style and complexity of Silvaner from this region is undeniably hard to beat. Every other German region is in chilly Zone A. Baden is, unusually for Germany, best known for its red wines, However its whites account for the majority of its output. Nearly all of the 13 German winemaking regions grow Pinot Noir, most notably Ahr (where Spätburgunder accounts for more than 50 percent of plantings), along with Baden, Franken and Württemberg. For many of us, the end of 2020 couldn’t come soon enough. Given its northerly location, you’d expect Sachsen to have a cool climate. It leads to wines that are far more aromatic and intense. Cool climate regions like Saale-Unstrut are more suited to producing crisp whites with high acidity. Yet Spätburgunder still confuses drinkers, and it’s not surprising: German Pinot Noir thrives across four degrees of latitude, from 48°N in Baden to 51°N in Saxony (to compare, Beaune in Burgundy is at 47.0°N, Reims at 49.2°N ); in all of Germany’s 13 wine regions; and in every imaginable soil. Even Oregon Pinot Noir that is not aged in oak barrels will have a lot of body and tannins. This 22 mile (35 km) trail travels through the exact hills and vineyards that make Ahr so memorable. The warmth created by the soil and landscape create a perfect hotspot for black grapes, and fruitful red varieties such as Portugieser really thrive here. Sloping sites and warm soils enable vines to penetrate the soil for up to 27 feet, which is why Riesling from this region can have such a strong mineral nuance. It is also the warmest. Ties to France. Riesling is the top white grape variety in the small but mighty Ahr region. Loamy, granite soils here are ideal for Riesling, producing grapes that are rich in fruity, citrus notes. Here are some common label terms to know on Ahr wines: While most Ahr Valley Spätburgunder is drunk young, the higher quality levels age for 10+ years. Soils typically contain shell-limestone, meaning they’re rich in calcium and have incredible water retention for growing thirsty vines. The icy conditions in the cooler months are turned into an advantage by winemakers, who work in harmony with the frosty weather to create luscious naturally sweet wines, known locally as Eiswein (think ‘Ice Wine’). If you didn’t know (honestly, most of us don’t), Germany is the 3rd largest producer of Pinot Noir in the world. Every month, our 5 to Try series showcases five examples of stellar wines from varying wine styles, grapes, and Germany’s 13 winegrowing regions. To step into the Ahr and find out it’s one of Germany’s smallest regions is a shock. Tamlyn Currin said of it, “It would not be exaggerating to say that Meyer-Näkel makes some of the most outstanding Spätburgunder in Germany.” Fortunately, this is one of the easier Ahr wines to find in the US. Referred to as “red wine paradise”, this area is one of Germany’s most northerly wine regions. Yet the valleys of the Elbe River help to soften temperatures, creating moments of warmth and a continental feel. Pinot noir wines are produced in Neuchâtel, Schaffhausen, Zürich, St. Gallen and Bündner Herrschaft. German Pinot Noir: the Style of Spätburgunder German Pinot Noir is a grotesque and ghastly wine that tastes akin to a defective, sweet, faded, diluted red Burgundy from an incompetent producer. Pinot gris, pinot grigio or Grauburgunder is a white wine grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera.Thought to be a mutant clone of the pinot noir variety, it normally has a grayish-blue fruit, accounting for its name but the grapes can have a brownish pink to black and even white appearance. Chalk, sand, gravel, clay, loess, slate, granite. Try visiting online stores, or check with your local wine shop about their availability. Riesling and Pinot Noir being the most recognised names. In contrast, regions in the south, such as Württemberg and … Granite, sand, loess-loam, porphyry-quartz. The high acidity combines with oak tannins to add layers of complexity over time. Cold winters, high rainfall, and early morning frosts result in beautiful late-ripening Riesling, although the main white grape variety here is Silvaner. With 2,000 years of viticulture under its belt, Germany has become a leader in winemaking technology and meticulous vineyard work. Here in the southwestern wine growing region of Baden, I’m sipping a glass of light ruby red Spätburgunder – Germany’s pinot noir. Second only to Mosel in its Riesling plantings, this key wine producing appellation is home to around 10,000 vine growers. Why? Although Riesling still holds its own as their biggest white grape variety, black grapes garner most of the limelight with almost 70% of all wines being red. Either way, the Ahr River Valley is a serious Pinot Noir hotspot. Check with your local wine shops, though: you never know who might have a connection. Grapes are left on the vine until the weather drops, then harvested while frozen. One of the only other places on earth that have near-perfect growing conditions for Pinot Noir is France. This is something that no Pinot-lover should miss. When you think of German wine, it’s common to think of Riesling. German Pinot Noir (also known as Spätburgunder) Germany ranks 3rd as the largest producer of Pinot Noir in the world. More international and German buyers are picking up wineries, historic houses and vintners’ homes at a fraction of what they would cost in Europe’s better-known wine regions. German wine - wine regions . The grapes that produce this exceptional wine must be harvested at temperatures of -7°C or below. Wines made in this region are also shaped by the Elbe, as its weathered granite soils and geological makeup influence the grapes. Germans call the grape Spätburgunder, which means late-ripening (spät) Pinot (Burgunder). The wine, commonly known as Spätburgunder in Germany, comes mainly from its Pfalz, Nahe, Rheinhessen, and Baden regions. In the case of red wine varieties, Pinot Noir and Dornfeld cultivation are of the greatest importance. The first thing you’ll notice about an Ahr Spätburgunder is the color. Sachsen is Germany’s most easterly wine region, renowned for producing world-class Gerwurztraminer. Either way, the Ahr River Valley is a serious Pinot Noir hotspot. What pinot meunier tastes like. Nestled in the mountainous southwest of Germany, Baden is known for its picturesque evergreen scenery and its incredible, food-friendly wines. A rural region neighbouring the famous Baden appellation, Württemberg stands out from the crowd for being one of the few German regions where red wines dominate. Franken’s climate is continental with a Mediterranean influence. Make way for the young, dynamic winemakers of Germany! Silky, fruit-forward and food-friendly, this comes as no surprise. The south of the region, for instance, is much warmer with a Mediterranean feel – perfect for red grapes like Pinot Noir that enjoy a little extra warmth. Many of the wineries here offer rooms, similar to what we think of as a Bed & Breakfasts in the States. Germany is, historically, a prodigious producer of Pinot Noir. In terms of red, it’s Pinot Noir that remains the star, known across Germany for being wonderfully earthy and fruity. Germany’s wine regions . 2012 Weingut Friedrich Becker Estate Pinot Noir ($20) The rich, deep, full-bodied pinot from the Pfalz region is filled with ripe dark fruit. Baden is the southernmost of Germany's wine regions, a long, slim strip that extends from near Heidelberg in the north to Lake Constance (Bodensee) in the south. Orchards, and almond and cherry trees blossom here, along with grapevines. Saale-Unstrut is a small and humble, traditional wine region that’s gaining some serious traction across Europe. Though Riesling is undoubtedly the queen of German wines, the country’s 13 wine-producing regions produce a host of other whites and reds as well, ranging from fruity to spicy, dry to sweet, after-dinner specialties to versatile ones. These vineyards are located in the southwestern part of the region Rheingau at a bend in the river. In the United States, Ahr Valley Spätburgunders are pretty difficult to find, but not impossible. From limestone and loam, to red slate and clay on the riverbanks, Rheinhessen has a variation in soils that allows many different styles of grape to be grown. Schwarzriesling is the German name for pinot meunier, while it is also sometimes referred to as miller’s burgundy, especially in Australia. They were selected to illustrate the various styles of German pinot noir today. A few dynamic winemakers in this historic region have introduced non-traditional grape varieties to their vineyards, which may be worth keeping an eye out for. Especially in cold climate regions like Germany, Pinot Noir has the ability to be delightfully lighter and lower in tannin than other red wines. Germany now produces nearly 67% white wine and 33% red wine, in regions extending from the Elbe to Lake Constance. Derived from the Latin word for ‘palace’, Pfalz is a scenic wine region with a peaceful landscape. In the early 21st Century, the country's winemakers are proving convincingly that they are good for more than just Mosel Riesling. The soil in this region tends to be slate and rock, with some volcanic stone found in the middle Ahr Valley. St James’ Mill, Whitefriars, Norwich. 40 percent of Baden vineyards are planted with red wine grapes – mostly pinot noir – and these account for more than half of all German pinot noir production. Where most New World Pinot tends toward a light to medium ruby color, Ahr wines are garnet, leaning towards a rusty orange. Vineyards range in altitude from flat plains in the east to steep slopes in the west. Vinexpo is one of the most important trade forums for the world's wine markets, including Germany, which will once again demonstrate the international competitiveness of its wine-growers at this year's trade fair. Some areas, such as the Moselle, Saar and Ruwer, are almost exclusively dedicated to white grape varieties. The difference between wine and great wine comes down to the terroir, and the Ahr Valley does wonders with Pinot Noir. Riesling, Silvaner, Gutedel, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Shell-limestone, loess-loam, granite, clay, sand. Today, a new generation of ambitious winemakers, who have traveled the world in search of inspiration, are not only turning out some of the finest dry white wines you’ll find on the planet, but also exquisite Pinot Noirs and crisp sparkling wines. Wines here tend to be have a high alcohol content – be warned! Eastern Ahr: The eastern Ahr Valley is lower in elevation than the west, and known for its Loess, a silty soil that retains heat and water well, while still allowing for proper drainage. Some areas, such as the Moselle, Saar and Ruwer, are almost exclusively dedicated to white grape varieties. This mountainous area with its rolling hills produces some absolutely beautiful wines, including the Pinots (Blanc, Gris and Noir) and Silvaner, although it can be difficult to get your hands on a bottle outside of Germany. Of course, around here they called it Spätburgunder. This sweetness is balanced with a minerality and high acidity that’s become the trademark of Mosel wines. German wine. This warmth allows black grapes to thrive, producing flavoursome red wines with an acidic character. German pinot noirs start around $13 and are perfect to … Hiking and biking are hugely popular, especially along the Rotweinwanderweg (Red Wine Trail). Distinct Oregon Pinot Noir Growing Conditions. Württemberg experiences mild temperatures thanks to the protective Black Forest canopy and sunlight bouncing off the surface of the Neckar River. What struck me the most here was how pure and silky the tannins are, it is a soft, gentle, enticing Pinot that is so ready to drink and moreish – the perfect Pinot Noir for consuming straight away. This is also where you’ll find the steep mountain slopes where the slate retains a terrific amount of heat from the sun. Pinot noir is a popular grape variety all over Switzerland. Either way, the Ahr River Valley is a serious Pinot Noir hotspot. The expertise across all Germany's picturesque winemaking regions is second to none at every level. Sandstone, limestone, marl, loess-loam, granite, slate. Below the facility is a sprawling cellar equipped not only with wine barrels and tasting rooms, but with several popular dance halls and dining areas. Read more about German Pinot Noir and find top recommendations in the November 2017 issue of Decanter. This charming region is one of Germany’s cooler wine growing areas. It’s by far the largest wine region in Oregon, including areas like Chehalem Mountains and Ribbon Ridge, Dundee Hills, Cascade Foothills, Eola-Amity Hills, McMinnville, and Yamhill-Carlton. This idyllic ecological balance also means that grapes can have a high natural sweetness, allowing winemakers to produce those delicious sweet wines Germany has always been so famous for. The price range you’ll likely see will fall between $25 and $90, especially if you’re ordering online. Ranging from ruby to garnet red, Pinot Noir wines are slightly tannic, mild in acidity, and have a long finish with aromas reminiscent of blackberry and cherry. Top quality German Spätburgunder is now emerging from various regions, particularly Baden, Pfalz and even the tiny Ahr Valley. 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