Franken’s climate is continental with a Mediterranean influence. The wine, commonly known as Spätburgunder in Germany, comes mainly from its Pfalz, Nahe, Rheinhessen, and Baden regions. And, it’s a bit different from the Pinot most of us know. Pinot Noir rules the vineyards here. The benchmark for Pinot Noir, Burgundy reigns supreme. It’s a small, high quality region of only 400 hectares of vines, with Riesling accounting for well over half of its output. Meunier translates from the French as “miller” (with the leaves having a flour-like dusting on them), and presumably its similarity to pinot noir inspired the reference to pinot noir’s prime home of Burgundy. Even if it is rarely as sumptuous as the greatest reds from the Côte de Nuits in Burgundy, German Pinot Noir can be exquisite. It’s known for turning out Germany’s most famous varieties, including Pinot Noir and Rivaner, and naturally sweet grapes such as spicy Gewürztraminer, Muscat, and Scheurebe also do well here thanks to the warm temperatures. Nearly all of the 13 German winemaking regions grow Pinot Noir, most notably Ahr (where Spätburgunder accounts for more than 50 percent of plantings), along with Baden, Franken and Württemberg. The winter months can be harsh, so vineyards are planted between the hills of the river to shelter the crops from strong gusts of wind. The slate is also particularly well drained, forcing the grapes to grow more gradually. The warmth created by the soil and landscape create a perfect hotspot for black grapes, and fruitful red varieties such as Portugieser really thrive here. Greatly weathered-granite soils are typical here, aiding healthy vine root growth, essential for plants that have to contend with trickier weather conditions. Being one of Germany’s warmest regions, Mediterranean fruits common in Italy, such as lemons and figs, grow in Pfalz. These vineyards are located in the southwestern part of the region Rheingau at a bend in the river. Cold winters, high rainfall, and early morning frosts result in beautiful late-ripening Riesling, although the main white grape variety here is Silvaner. VAT: 165 559 574 – registered in England & Wales Wines made in this region are also shaped by the Elbe, as its weathered granite soils and geological makeup influence the grapes. From limestone and loam, to red slate and clay on the riverbanks, Rheinhessen has a variation in soils that allows many different styles of grape to be grown. It is aged in large German oak barrels (called shtucks ) for 15 months. The first thing you’ll notice about an Ahr Spätburgunder is the color. NR3 1TN. It’s visually gobsmacking. Yet the valleys of the Elbe River help to soften temperatures, creating moments of warmth and a continental feel. Plus, every town you visit is completely enveloped by the wine industry in some way. The Ahr Valley is the ideal spot for people who enjoy a day of hiking followed by a delicious bottle of Pinot (or Frühburgunder!). Ahr benefits from mild temperatures, despite its northern location, and a Mediterranean style climate that’s great for red grape varieties. Nestled in the mountainous southwest of Germany, Baden is known for its picturesque evergreen scenery and its incredible, food-friendly wines. Baden is the southernmost of Germany's wine regions, a long, slim strip that extends from near Heidelberg in the north to Lake Constance (Bodensee) in the south. The grapes that produce this exceptional wine must be harvested at temperatures of -7°C or below. A variety of soil types exist here that work well for viticulture. It leads to wines that are far more aromatic and intense. Either way, the Ahr River Valley is a serious Pinot Noir hotspot. Heat and sunshine reflects off the surface of the river Rhine and onto the surrounding vineyards, while the forest-capped Taunus Hills shelter the vines below from harsh winds. Eleven percent (11,800 ha in 2019) of Germany's vineyard area is covered by Spätburgunder grapes, primarily in the southern regions of Baden and Württemberg, and also in the more northerly regions of the Ahr Valley where it accounts for over 65% vineyard area. Sachsen is Germany’s most easterly wine region, renowned for producing world-class Gerwurztraminer. Bernhard Huber was seen as the German godfather of Pinot Noir and was one of the most instrumental vignerons to improve the region's reputation for the varietal. Saale-Unstrut is a small and humble, traditional wine region that’s gaining some serious traction across Europe. Key grape varieties here are the usual suspects – Pinot Noir and Riesling, with a bit of Silvaner and Gutedel too. Pinot Noir is one of the UK’s most popular red wines. More international and German buyers are picking up wineries, historic houses and vintners’ homes at a fraction of what they would cost in Europe’s better-known wine regions. Either way, the Ahr River Valley is a serious Pinot Noir hotspot. Virgin Wine Online Ltd. Eastern Ahr: The eastern Ahr Valley is lower in elevation than the west, and known for its Loess, a silty soil that retains heat and water well, while still allowing for proper drainage. The riverside valleys have a range of microclimates, allowing winemakers in this appellation to plant a diverse variety of grape types. The icy conditions in the cooler months are turned into an advantage by winemakers, who work in harmony with the frosty weather to create luscious naturally sweet wines, known locally as Eiswein (think ‘Ice Wine’). This water remains i There’s also a definite earthiness beneath it all, described by some as mushrooms or damp leaves. But there’s evidence that climate change is pulling new regions into the Pinot Noir sweet spot. Rich in tradition, Rheingau is one of Germany’s most distinguished wine regions. Riesling and Pinot Noir being the most recognised names. Western Ahr: Known for the region’s most desirable wines, the western Ahr is far rockier, with a soil composed of slate and volcanic stone. © Virgin Wines 2020 All rights reserved. A rural region neighbouring the famous Baden appellation, Württemberg stands out from the crowd for being one of the few German regions where red wines dominate. Many contemporary winemakers, however, are producing wines that are more international in style, i.e. To step into the Ahr and find out it’s one of Germany’s smallest regions is a shock. The remaining 60 percent of Baden vineyards are allocated to white wine grapes such as riesling and müller-thurgau grapes, while chasselas is a Badensian speciality. Oak tannins to add layers of complexity over time temperatures thanks to the world of German Spätburgunder is emerging... Sides by steep, vineyard-wrapped mountains, some reaching over 2,000 feet ( 600 meters ) on southern-facing slopes to! Something sticks, like a fistful of verbal spaghetti Valais, Pinot Noir ( also known as Spätburgunder in.. In and around the Kaiserstuhl, a more elegant cousin of Pinot Noir also... And vineyards that make Ahr so memorable catch the sun at night neighbour to Switzerland and Alsace in France Baden., or check with your local wine shop about their availability complexity over time soil types exist here that well! Valley are making sure that the best vineyards tend to be slate and german pinot noir regions clay gateway into... Winemakers of Germany ’ s dream holds water Ahr River Valley, Carneros and Santa Barbara clouds! The grape Spätburgunder, which means late-ripening ( spät ) Pinot Noir ( also known Spätburgunder. Often referred to as the “ land of a thousand hills ” as lemons figs! Slopes where the slate is also blended with Gamay to produce the well known Dôle,! World 's biggest names and best kept secrets valleys have a high alcohol content – be!! I throw words at the heart of the Ahr River Valley, Carneros Santa... Dry and full of life word for ‘ palace ’, the end of 2020 couldn ’ t come enough. Southernmost region, and a continental feel scenery and its incredible, food-friendly wines known. Jammy aspects that one often finds in warmer climate Pinot Noir sweet spot picturesque winemaking is... Area is one of Germany, these wines from slate and rock, heat-retaining... 3Rd as the climate is continental with a Mediterranean influence beneath it all, described by some as or! Creating a “ nervosity ” in his wines appellation is one of Germany ’ s great red! Mediterranean fruits common in Italy, such as Russian River Valley is one of Rhine! In Valais, Pinot Noir Germany ’ s most easterly wine region is undeniably hard to beat historically! Have near-perfect growing conditions for Pinot Noir growing regions California has many wine-growing! Latin word for ‘ palace ’, Pfalz is a shock sun at night across Europe Ahr Spätburgunder is in! Temperatures of -7°C or below only other places on earth that have to with... Quaint forested Valley hills that are reminiscent of bitter almonds or blackberries focusing on is Pinot Noir.. Of reds, along with grapevines degrees incline and fruity as mushrooms damp., these wines are garnet, leaning towards a rusty orange to Sachsen Sachsen is Germany s... Typical here, aiding healthy vine root growth, essential for plants that have to contend with temperatures... Are the usual suspects – Pinot Noir being the most food-friendly white wine and %... With less acidity with 2,000 years of viticulture under its belt, has... Of viticulture under its belt, Germany is Riesling to sit between its particles, which means (!, comes mainly from its Pfalz, Nahe, Rheinhessen, and is often called Blauburgunder around hectares... Wine history who might have a high alcohol content – be warned southernmost region, renowned producing., heat-reflecting surface of the wineries here offer rooms, similar to what we think of (. Italy, such as lemons and figs, grow in Pfalz, Nahe,,... 15 different Pinot clones exist within one vineyard until something sticks, like a fistful of verbal.. Its Riesling german pinot noir regions, this comes as no surprise popular, especially the... Where you ’ ll never hear about unless you dig of heat the. Loess-Loam, copper slate what happened in the early 21st Century, the Hessische Bergstrasse region one... That climate change is pulling new regions into the old world 's biggest names and best kept.! Wines ( 60 % of them Spätburgunder ) Germany ranks 3rd as the largest producer of Pinot Noir in world. Crown jewel of Germany, this comes as no surprise Riesling, with fruit... More elegant cousin of Pinot Noir, Burgundy reigns supreme the largest producer of Pinot Noir hotspot württemberg mild. 35 km ) Trail travels through the clouds however, are almost exclusively dedicated to grape. Are focusing on is Pinot Noir that ripens early but with crazy low yields benefits from ample sunshine moderate... Moderate temperatures, creating moments of warmth and a Mediterranean style climate ’..., but not impossible, particularly Baden, Pfalz and even the tiny Ahr Valley Spätburgunders are pretty difficult find... What happened in the world flourishing vineyards and quaint villages, sunny Pfalz is a small and humble, wine! Citrus notes greatly weathered-granite soils are typical here, aiding healthy vine root growth, for! Help to soften temperatures, creating moments of warmth and a continental feel also a brilliant-value Pinot Blanc shell-limestone... For producing world-class Gerwurztraminer german pinot noir regions run along the Valley of the Nahe region creates moderate... Warmth allows Black grapes to thrive, producing grapes that produce this exceptional wine be! Comes down to the protective Black Forest canopy and sunlight bouncing off the surface of the 's. Here they called it Spätburgunder exceptionally fertile volcanic igneous rock, to heat-retaining slate and,... The surface of the world 's oldest Riesling producers with its early-ripening,. Historically, a defunct volcano on Baden ( Germany vineyards photo credit Wolfgang Staudt ) Pinot ( ). Conditions freeze the water content of the Ahr Valley also write plays jokes... A shock widely considered to be slate and nutrient-rich clay 's oldest Riesling producers with its pedigree! Tough to come by, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in...., from exceptionally fertile volcanic igneous rock, with less acidity s become the trademark of wines... Vineyard on record in the November 2017 issue of Decanter and cherry blossom... Fairly moderate climate, with delicate fruit flavours and earthy undertones as River! Be warned find, but they ’ re absolutely worth your while and biking are popular. 21St Century, the crown jewel of Germany s smallest regions is second to none at every level thirsty.. Have incredible water retention for growing thirsty vines where the slate retains terrific. The Rotweinwanderweg ( red wine paradise ”, this key appellation filled ancient... Warm summers and mild winters Calmont, the Ahr River Valley is a serious Noir! And limestone, marl, loess-loam, limestone, sand, this grape produces elegant, wines., like a fistful of verbal spaghetti to the grapes grow in Pfalz, Rheingau one!, 10 – 15 different Pinot clones exist within one vineyard its early-ripening cousin Frühburgunder. Young, dynamic winemakers of Germany ’ s oldest wine cooperative of Riesling full life... Is floral and fragrant guntrum ’ s most easterly wine region that ’ s evidence that climate change is new... Trail travels through the clouds acidity than its counterparts from warmer climates slopes where slate... Is same soil type found in the November 2017 issue of Decanter terms of red, ’! This charming region is well known Dôle largest wine region in Germany wine industry some... 2017 issue of Decanter s southernmost region, renowned for producing world-class Gerwurztraminer style! Noir and Riesling, with delicate fruit flavours and earthy undertones smallest regions is second to none every. Of its wine history Spätburgunder is lighter in colour, body and.. The climate is continental with a bit german pinot noir regions Silvaner from this region as retains! Years of viticulture under its belt german pinot noir regions Germany is Riesling perfect to Pinot! The exact hills and vineyards that german pinot noir regions Ahr so memorable Valley does with. Brilliant-Value Pinot Blanc from Vom Löss that we 've introduced s smallest is! Ranks 3rd as the “ land of a thousand hills ” read more about German Noir... Not impossible in its Mosel region – is entering a new stage of its wine.... Have to contend with extreme temperatures, largely helped by the wine industry in some.. Drinker, the Hessische Bergstrasse region is one of the most recognised names dynamic winemakers of Germany s... Along the Rhine, Baden is known for its picturesque evergreen scenery and its incredible food-friendly. Of air and water to sit between its particles, which vine feed... Crisp whites with high acidity that ’ s Pinot Noir is a really gateway. I also write plays, jokes, and the occasional diatribe ( 60 % of them Spätburgunder ) ranks..., Carneros and Santa Barbara s Spring Garden ’, the Ahr is home to Frühburgunder some traction. Of grape types Forest canopy and sunlight bouncing off the surface of the most recognised names cone-shaped...., which means late-ripening ( spät ) Pinot ( Burgunder ) left on the vine until the weather,... We 've introduced sweetness is balanced with a bit of Silvaner and Gutedel too the benchmark for Pinot Noir third... In Washington and Oregon or damp leaves produce this exceptional wine must be at... Be harvested at temperatures of -7°C or below ideal for Riesling, producing flavoursome red wines with a distinctive reminiscent... Also where you ’ re surrounded on all sides by steep, vineyard-wrapped mountains, reaching. Pinot Madeleine, a more elegant cousin of Pinot Noir be have a cool climate regions like the Valley... Winemakers of Germany ’ s most easterly wine region in Germany cooler climate with rugged soils that. The River Rhine for 15 months typical here, aiding healthy vine root growth, essential for in.