A German Pinot Noir has topped a Decanter tasting of the best Pinots in the world outside Burgundy. Anne Krebiehl MW answers recent questions from a Decanter reader on the best regions in Germany and how to find the wines.
Ask Decanter: The excitement surrounding German Pinot Noir
Wendy McCleave, from Wales, asks: I’ve noticed a real buzz about German Pinot Noir recently. Which are the best regions, and can you recommend a few producers who make great, reasonably priced wines?
Anne Krebiehl MW, for Decanter, replies: Yes, Spätburgunder, as Pinot Noir is called in Germany, is receiving more and more (well-deserved) attention and becoming more widely distributed in the UK and elsewhere.
You might not guess it, but Germany is the world’s third largest producer of Pinot Noir, according to the German Wine Institute.
A German Pinot Noir, Jean Stodden’s Spätburgunder Alte Reben, Ahr 2010, has topped Decanter’s search for the best Pinot outside Burgundy. Subscribe here to Decanter’s April issue to find out more.
Since Pinot Noir loves warm spots in cooler climates, Germany is eminently suited to growing it – and there are delicious wines in every region. Production costs and strong domestic demand spell high prices, but there are still bargains to be found.
Considering the prices of red Burgundy, even Germany’s top tier of wines, Grosse Gewächse, mostly available through fine-wine merchants, now represent good value – especially the estate rather than single-vineyard bottlings. But, in the UK, Oddbins, Tanners and Laithwaite’s all stock fine German Pinots below £20, as does The Wine Society. Marks & Spencer has a gentle Pfalz Pinot called Palataia which is a steal.
Total Wine in the US also stocks German Pinot Noir. Wherever you live, it’s always a good idea to speak to your local independent merchant.
More and more wines from young, ambitious producers who have yet to make their name are being shipped beyond Germany’s borders, which should be well in reach of a clued-up independent retailer or merchant.
Anne Krebiehl MW is a wine writer, educator, consultant and judge.