Pinot Noir, Germany

Pinot Noir is a red grape that is one of the most challenging to grow in any part of the world. Due to its thin skin and tight bunches, it is susceptible to both mould and disease. However, when it is successful, it produces some of the most amazing wines in the world. Although its home is Burgundy, it has emerged as a popular variety in Australia. Representing only 1% of grapes crushed, it has built a high profile with a number of world-class, distinctly Australian wines being produced. The greatest examples coming from the cool climates of the Adelaide Hills, Tasmania, Mornington Peninsula, Geelong and the Yarra Valley.

Pinot Noir performs well on the deepish limestone based subsoils that are found on Burgundy's Côte d'Or. However, yields need to be kept in check. Pinot Noir's concentration and varietal characters disappear rapidly if yields are excessive. Some of the best and most expensive wines in the world are still found in Burgundy.

Pinot Noir also plays a key role in Champagne, being blended with Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. In the US, Oregon and Washington state are producing outstanding wines. In New Zealand, great Pinot Noirs are crafted in Martinborough and in Central Otago, New Zealand's only true continental climate.

The thin skins of Pinot Noir mean the wines are lighter in colour, body and tannins. However, the best wines have grippy tannins, fragrance and an intensity of fruit seldom found in wine from other grapes. Young Pinot Noir can smell almost sweet, but as it matures, the best wines develop a sensuous, silky mouthfeel with the fruit flavours deepening and gamey nuances emerging.
Germany is fully capable of producing some of the world's great white wines. One hundred years ago the demand for and thus prices commanded for the wines from the finest vineyards in Piesport, Morcobrunn and Rudesheim rivalled the best wines from Bordeaux. Largely due to the lack of government regulation into the quality of wine output, Germany over the past century became known for producing sweet sugar-water wines at cheap costs, flooding the world market. This has had a negative effect on the perception of Germany wines worldwide, but rest assured we only choose to stock Germany wines of high quality.

The Riesling grape with all its versatility is the main grape variety, and whilst many countries make Riesling, none can match the mouth-watering freshness and supreme delicacy achieved in a Mosel Kabinett from a top producer. Germany dry Rieslings as a rule tend to to be very graceful and elegant as compared to Rieslings from other countries, with an emphasis on finesse, not power. Standout producers such as Robert Weil make the headlines, but Donnhoff, JL Wolf, A Christmann and Dr Loosen are too worth seeking out.

Another most interesting contribution from Germany was Eiswine (ice wine), which until the 1970s was a freak of nature, though is now carefully managed. To produce Eiswine, parcels of vines are left out exposed to the frost, and although the production cost is astronomical they remain very popular. Robust Pinot Blancs and Pinot Gris are also produced in the whites and Pinot Noir, referred to as Spätburgunder is also grown.

The climate in Germany is, for the most part, cool, the exception being in the Pfalz and in Baden. As a result, vineyards are carefully selected with good sunlight exposure a must. For example along the banks of the Mosel River, vines are only planted one side, as there isn't enough sunlight exposure to ripen grapes on the north-facing side.

Key regions include Mosel and Nahe where extraordinary Rieslings are produced.
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  1. DR MAYER REMSTAL PINOT NOIR 2018
    Deep bright red , smokey, bright cherry and cranberry nose , hints of anis , mint and earth . Crunchy and bright on the palate with gorgeous , generous savoury strawberry fruit . Fine but mouthcoating tannins give the wine a long finish . Cool in style ... Learn More
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