New wines from the Rhine: German Pinot Noir aka Spätburgunder

by Andrew Hooper

Like the proverbial London bus, you wait ages for a German Pinot Noir and then four come along at once. Allow us to introduce you to the charming world of Spätburgunder.

German Pinot Noir

Spätburgunder – the German synonym for Pinot Noir. “Spät” meaning late as Pinot Noir ripens relatively late in the season, and “burgunder” referring to the variety’s Burgundian origins.

There’s been quite a buzz around recently about German red wine. It’s not long since selling German white wine was a challenge let alone something as obscure as rotwein but a few tasty reviews in the press, the ever widening appeal of Pinot Noir and wine drinkers’ natural tendency to seek out the new and interesting taste experiences has propelled the rather small German red wine sector to the fore.

It was an unexpected market development – industry watchers and twitching wine buyers were gazing over South America or maybe parts of Asia looking for the next big thing; few were looking down the Rhine valley. So, when folks started to ask we had none, but now we’re ready.

Did you know that after France and USA, Germany has the third largest plantings of Pinot Noir in the world.

Braunewell Pinot Noir

Click here for our Spatburgunder mixed case.

From Essenheim, just to the south west of Mainz in the Rheinhessen, we have a trio of Pinot Noirs made by the Braunewell family who have lived in these parts since François Breiniville fled Huguenot persecution in France in 1655. Today three generations of Braunewells oversee the family’s vineyards which offer a fine expression of Pinot Noir and Riesling.

2012 SPÄTBURGUNDER Weingut Braunewell     £12.75
Classic light crisp German Pinot Noir – the sort of thing that can be drunk lightly chilled on a sunny day. Great enjoyed for simple refreshment or drunk with lighter meals, ideal with grilled fish for instance.

2011 ESSENHEIM SPÄTBURGUNDER Weingut Braunewell     £18.75
A little more textured but still light and bright. Compared to an equivalent Burgundy, and the comparison is by no means unwarranted, the Essenheimer offers excellent value for money.

2011 TEUFELSPFAD SPÄTBURGUNDER Weingut Braunewell     £25.95
An awesome luxury Pinot Noir. Rich and layered with a generosity that hints of more New World styled Pinots but which finishes with a brisk acidity that could only be European. An utter delight for lovers of Pinot Noir, lovers of Burgundy and those newly intrigued with German wines. This would stand a roast dinner  rather well, or offer quite a talking point with the cheese board.

Offering outstanding value for, not just German Pinot Noir, but Pinot Noir period is Maximilian Petri’s hand-picked wine from Herxheim am Berg in the Rheinpfalz. From vineyards 200m above sea-level in the foothills of the Haardt mountains (which are, really, a northern extension of Alsace’s Vosges mountains).

2012 PINOT NOIR Weingut Petri     £10.95
German Pinot Noir with real liveliness and juice. Quite light, but complete and holds the finish well, it is brilliant value.

A mixed case selection of this quartet of Teutonic seduction is available here, because you want to try them all…

New wines from the Rhine

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