German Pinot Noir (also known as Spätburgunder) Germany ranks 3rd as the largest producer of Pinot Noir in the world. Rheingau has a fairly moderate climate, with warm summers and mild winters. Such frosty conditions freeze the water content of the grape. 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. Pinot Noir Growing Regions California has many established wine-growing regions for Pinot Noir, such as Russian River Valley, Carneros and Santa Barbara. When you think of German wine, it’s common to think of Riesling. 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. 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. Ahr benefits from mild temperatures, despite its northern location, and a Mediterranean style climate that’s great for red grape varieties. It is aged in large German oak barrels (called shtucks ) for 15 months. And, it’s a bit different from the Pinot most of us know. Riesling, Silvaner, Gutedel, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Shell-limestone, loess-loam, granite, clay, sand. Igneous, sandstone, clay, limestone, slate. 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. Pinot Noir (known locally as Spätburgunder) is the king of reds, along with its early-ripening cousin, Frühburgunder. Cool climate regions like Saale-Unstrut are more suited to producing crisp whites with high acidity. In contrast, regions in the south, such as Württemberg and … I also write plays, jokes, and the occasional diatribe. Known for its steep slopes overlooking Mosel River, this is Germany’s third largest wine producing appellation. The most famous of Germany’s 13 wine regions is the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer region, named for the Mosel River and two of its tributaries, along which the region’s vineyards lie; and the Rheingau region, along the Rhine River. The first vines in Mosel were planted by the Romans, with Germany’s most famous variety, Riesling, first being planted in the Middle Ages. The Baden wine region is well known for its remarkable wines. Still, the Ahr Valley is only composed of about 1380 acres (560 hectares) of vineyards, with 65% dedicated to Pinot Noir. Baden is the third largest wine region in Germany. There is also a brilliant-value Pinot Blanc from Vom Löss that we've introduced. It is aged in large German oak barrels (called shtucks ) for 15 months. 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. Schwarzriesling is the German name for pinot meunier, while it is also sometimes referred to as miller’s burgundy, especially in Australia. Look for the classically styled wines from Schloss Johannisberg, one of the world's oldest Riesling producers with its fine pedigree and reputation. Make way for the young, dynamic winemakers of Germany! Of course, climate change was a decisive factor, but what has really changed is the way Germany’s winemakers now approach their work. Spätburgunder generally lacks the big, jammy aspects that one often finds in warmer climate Pinot Noir. This is also where you’ll find the steep mountain slopes where the slate retains a terrific amount of heat from the sun. In German-speaking regions of Switzerland it is often called Blauburgunder. Germany – famous primarily for the world-class Riesling produced in its Mosel region – is entering a new stage of its wine history. Crisp Riesling is the star of the show, usually grown in a way that encourages noble rot to attack the grapes – a method used for making premium quality sweet wines (see How Is Sweet Wine Made for more info). But viable alternatives exist in a few European wine regions. To the average wine drinker, the crown jewel of Germany is Riesling. Where most New World Pinot tends toward a light to medium ruby color, Ahr wines are garnet, leaning towards a rusty orange. Wines made in this region are also shaped by the Elbe, as its weathered granite soils and geological makeup influence the grapes. In fact, it’s the largest red grape growing region in the entire country, thanks to the warm microclimate that exists here. 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. 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!). Nestled in the mountainous southwest of Germany, Baden is known for its picturesque evergreen scenery and its incredible, food-friendly wines. Sandstone, limestone, marl, loess-loam, granite, slate. This is the German name for Pinot Madeleine, a more elegant cousin of Pinot Noir that ripens early but with crazy low yields! Covering just 462 hectares, it’s one of Germany’s smaller wine growing areas, yet cultivates an impressive array of grape varieties. Known as ‘Germany’s Spring Garden’, the Hessische Bergstrasse region is beautiful and full of life. Key grape varieties here are the usual suspects – Pinot Noir and Riesling, with a bit of Silvaner and Gutedel too. Orchards, and almond and cherry trees blossom here, along with grapevines. Grapes come in from all over the region producing a wide variety of regional wines (60% of them Spätburgunder). If you didn’t know (honestly, most of us don’t), Germany is the 3rd largest producer of Pinot Noir in the world. Vines here rarely have to contend with extreme temperatures, as the climate is fairly mild. 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. Either way, the Ahr River Valley is a serious Pinot Noir hotspot. Loess-loam, limestone, sand, gravel, clay. It leads to wines that are far more aromatic and intense. The vineyards of Ahr run along the valley of the Ahr River. This region stretching 100 miles along the river valley gets more sunshine than any other area in the country, meaning winemakers are able to grow grapes to extreme ripeness, resulting in high levels of natural sugar and notes of mango, banana and other tropical fruit flavours. Top quality German Spätburgunder is now emerging from various regions, particularly Baden, Pfalz and even the tiny Ahr Valley. This charming region is one of Germany’s cooler wine growing areas. Smaller but well known plantings are also in Pfalz, Rheingau and other regions. Expect aromas of black cherry, woodsy raspberry brambles, and rich, ripe strawberry, along with subtle, spicier hints of clove, anise, and cinnamon. Granite, sand, loess-loam, porphyry-quartz. In the United States, Ahr Valley Spätburgunders are pretty difficult to find, but not impossible. It’s visually gobsmacking. Some areas, such as the Moselle, Saar and Ruwer, are almost exclusively dedicated to white grape varieties. An Introduction to Sachsen Sachsen is Germany’s most easterly wine region, renowned for producing world-class Gerwurztraminer. Ties to France. Mittelrhein is the quintessential German fairy tale region. The remaining 60 percent of Baden vineyards are allocated to white w… Looking for Ahr Spätburgunder? The great pinot noirs (aka Spatburgunder) from Germany hail from a region called the Ahr, which is warmer than other wine regions in Germany and able to ripen pinot with plum-like flavors, earth and fruit. With just under 20 acres (eight hectares) of land, the Erwin Riske winery is small but strong, with an impressive variety of wines (white, red, and rosé) that are gaining a reputation for quality and craftsmanship. 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). Of course, around here they called it Spätburgunder. Greatly weathered-granite soils are typical here, aiding healthy vine root growth, essential for plants that have to contend with trickier weather conditions. But viable alternatives exist in a few European wine regions. Rheinhessen sits on the west bank of the Rhine, and is often referred to as the “land of a thousand hills”. Germany is, historically, a prodigious producer of Pinot Noir. But small, unassuming regions like the Ahr Valley are making sure that the legend of German Spätburgunder lives on. Vineyards range in altitude from flat plains in the east to steep slopes in the west. By now it is abundantly clear what a natural home for Pinot Noir Germany’s various regions are. This water remains i The price range you’ll likely see will fall between $25 and $90, especially if you’re ordering online. 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. The soil in this region tends to be slate and rock, with some volcanic stone found in the middle Ahr Valley. Slate is essential for viticulture in this region as it retains heat from the sun, while the volcanic ash holds water. Being one of Germany’s warmest regions, Mediterranean fruits common in Italy, such as lemons and figs, grow in Pfalz. Chalk, sand, gravel, clay, loess, slate, granite. The dominant red is Domina, a spicy variety which is almost completely unique to this part of Germany and, along with Silvaner, has become synonymous with Franken. The expertise across all Germany's picturesque winemaking regions is second to none at every level. But, unlike most of Germany, this area is actually more known for its reds. Soils also vary hugely here, from exceptionally fertile volcanic igneous rock, to heat-retaining slate and nutrient-rich clay. Loamy, granite soils here are ideal for Riesling, producing grapes that are rich in fruity, citrus notes. Grapes are left on the vine until the weather drops, then harvested while frozen. Germans call the grape Spätburgunder, which means late-ripening (spät) Pinot (Burgunder). The first thing you’ll notice about an Ahr Spätburgunder is the color. 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. Eiswein, otherwise known as Ice Wine, is the most exclusive of all wine styles, and is popular internationally as a rarity and a specialty. Referred to as “red wine paradise”, this area is one of Germany’s most northerly wine regions. Looking for more info on German wine regions? You’re surrounded on all sides by steep, vineyard-wrapped mountains, some reaching over 2,000 feet (600 meters). Heat and sunshine reflects off the surface of the river Rhine and onto the surrounding vineyards, while the forest-capped Taunus Hills shelter the vines below from harsh winds. 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. German Pinot Noir in Bordeaux Country. Guntrum’s Pinot Noir 2016 is a really impressive gateway wine into the world of German Pinot Noir. Fun Find: The Ahr is home to Frühburgunder. – Robert Parker, 2002. Franken’s climate is continental with a Mediterranean influence. 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. Germany’s wine regions . The grapes that produce this exceptional wine must be harvested at temperatures of -7°C or below. Franken may be one of Germany’s smaller wine regions, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in quality. Outside of Germany, these wines are tough to come by, but they’re absolutely worth your while. The expertise across all Germany's picturesque winemaking regions is second to none at every level. 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). 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. Famous for Pinot Noir, this region features wineries that take a personal, artisan, handcrafted approach to their wines. Pinot noir is a popular grape variety all over Switzerland. Dornfelder Dornfelder was bred in 1955, originally developed for use as a blending wine to add color to pale red wines, but has quickly become known as a classic German wine. Wines here tend to be dry and full bodied, with delicate fruit flavours and earthy undertones. The prime grape German winemakers are focusing on is pinot noir. They were selected to illustrate the various styles of German pinot noir today. 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