I made the point in last week's Wine of the Week that Germany has never been short of red wines. More than one third of its vineyards are red grapes and it’s the third largest grower of Pinot Noir in the world. Yes, the world. Only France and the US have more Pinot and they both grow a significant amount of it for sparkling wines. New Zealand's Pinot Noir plantings are way behind Germany's.
So Pinot Noir is well established in Germany, but what has changed is the style of red wines produced, particularly Pinot Noir. Even calling it Pinot Noir is new. The name that was invariably used – and is still widely used (witness two of my recommendations below) – is the German Spätburgunder. More significant than the change of moniker, though, certainly as far as export markets are concerned, is the move from the traditional, pale, very light-bodied, sometimes sweetish Pinot Noirs aimed at the home market to the fuller, riper, often oak-matured contemporary style that falls somewhere between classic red Burgundy and New Zealand Pinot Noir. There's no denyng that climate change has played a part. All regions, even the northerly slate-underpinned Ahr, produce red Pinots. In addition to Stepp Pinot Noir, my Wine of the Week, here are three more for your shopping list (listed in ascending order of price).
Braunewell Pinot Noir Trocken 2014, Rheinhessen
12% abv. Screwcap.
Delightful nose of rose, bergamot and pepper. Medium-light body, supple, fresh and pure, with raspberry and cranberry fruit.
£13.50, Lea & Sandeman
Steitz Spätburgunder Furfelder Eichelberg Rotwein Trocken 2012, Rheinhessen
13.5% abv. Cork.
Deep colour. Intense, fragrant aromas of red berries and intense cherry with a touch of cranberry on the palate filled out by toasty oak. Integrated and balanced with a long, clean, sweet-fruited finish. In sum: Burgundian fruit flavour, new world oak, Burgundian structure.
£27, winesbychix.co.uk, The Wine Parlour (Brixton)
Jean Stodden Recher Herrenberg Spatburgunder 2012, Ahr
13% abv. Cork.
Fragrant, delicate red fruit and floral aromas. Delicate but complex palate with Pinot Noir red fruit purity, orange zest, a salty mineral note and harmonious lightly toasty oak. Beautiful, subtle Pinot Noir.
£34.50, Four Walls Wine Co; £39.99, Davis Bell McCraith