Pinot noir, or Spätburgunder as it is more commonly known in Germanspeaking lands, is no new addition to Germany’s ever-evolving list of grape varieties. But until comparatively recently it was rarely made into anything more than a very light red of little merit. How things change! German pinot has come of age and recent vintages are exceptional. Climate change has undoubtedly played a part, and Burgundy is close by, providing a stylistic model for the wines.
Harrogate Medical Wine Society held a tasting of top end German Pinot Noir, presented by Robert Buckley. The following wines were tasted:
- Spätburgunder, Marienglas Unterturkheimer Gips 2014: The Aldinger family’s flagship vineyard is Untertürkheimer Gips, a former gypsum mine reverted to viticulture by the family in 1974. Marienglas is a small vineyard-within-a-vineyard, a tiny parcel in Untertürkheimer Gips with an unusually high proportion of a rare form of gymsum known as Marienglas.
- Assmannshäuser Spätburgunder, Künstler 2015
- Spätburgunder Kalkmergel, Weingut Jülg 2016
- Jechtinger Eichert Spatburgunder Weingut Bercher 2015
- Haardt Spätburgunder, Müller-Catoir 2016
- Pinot Noir Schlatter Maltesergarten, Martin Wassmer 2015
I very much enjoyed the wines which you sourced for last night’s tasting. I presented them in accordance with their VDP classification order and therefore in ascending price order. I personally thought that all the wines had good pinot character. Not surprisingly given their relative latitudes, the wines tended to exhibit good levels of acidity, something which some Burgundy wines are finding it difficult to do in recent warm vintages. For some people one or two wines were possibly rather too acidic. This is of course a matter of personal taste – for me personally there was always enough fruit to balance the acidity. Admittedly I have a greater tolerance of acidity than some people and think the acidity lent real elegance and freshness to the wines. Tannin levels tended to be low, reflecting the lack of new oak, with the exception of the Aldinger Marienglas Unterturkheimer Gips and the Schlatter Maltersgarten from Martin Wassmer. These two wines were the best for me. The Aldinger wine getting some tannin from 40% whole bunch maceration. Some people felt this wine to be too acidic at the moment , although this may be a reaction to the tannins from the whole bunches. I think it would go well with food now but would certainly develop very well over the next 5 years. The Wassmer wine was generally regarded as the star wine, having the fruit and concentration to support significant new oak. Unfortunately also the price tag to go with it.
An impressive feature for me was that although I enjoyed all the wines, from the light, fresh and fruity Pfalz wines to the final Baden heavyweight (relatively), there was a clear graduation in quality as we moved upwardly through the classification and price levels.
German pinot noir is clearly still below many people’s radar and it is perhaps not too surprising that we were a small gathering. I would however like to thank the select group of participants who were exceptionally attentive, but very thoughtful in their observations. I know I learned a lot about German pinot through this exercise and I hope that others did too. – Rob Buckley
The tasting was followed by a two-course supper (Chicken & Leak Pie, Poached Pear with Chocolate & Bailey’s, Tea/Coffee.)
- “Rob gave us an excellent insight into German Pinot Noirs last Thursday. It was a good tasting I enjoyed all the Pinots except for the Kalkmergel Weingut. But my favourites of the evening were the Schlatter Maltesergarten, the Marienglad Unterturkheimer Gips and Jechtinger Eichert.
So many thanks to Rob for presenting the wines, as usual, his talk was informative and interesting and I think everyone enjoyed the evening.” – Carole Wood, Ackworth
- “We enjoyed Rob’s Pinot Noir evening. Such a range of flavours for one grape variety.” – Ann Joslin, (Harrogate)