Rheinhessen, Pfalz and Baden Wines
There is burgeoning interest in the wines of Germany and a new generation of dynamic young wine-makers have been producing some outstanding wines. Jürgen Hofmann's estate and purpose-built winery in the North of the Rheinhessen is an excellent source of carefully-crafted fruit-accentuated wines. We were smitten with his Weisser Burgunder (Pinot Blanc) when we first encountered it and equally enamoured of his juicy red 'Spätburgunder' (Pinot Noir).
An exemplary Riesling, hailing from the celebrated red slate 'Roter Hang' escarpment overlooking the Rhine above Nierstein and made by the Staatliche Weinbaudomäne, shows the benefits of bottle age. Jonathan Ray, writing in The Spectator called the 2013 vintage 'a classic of its kind' observing: "It's mouthtinglingly fruity, with limes, peaches and apricots in the mix, yet it's dry on the finish with a zingy freshness and a fine acidity."
Our undisputed German best-seller is the 'Pinot Gris vom Kalkstein' from the free-draining chalky hills of the Pflaz, the driest and sunniest part of the country. Made by the über-reliable, Bingen-based 'Reh Kendermann' winery it is bottled under screw-cap to conserve its bright orchard fruit scents and flavours and clean, zesty finish.
More recent acquisitions from the Pfalz are Stefan Meyer's Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the village of Rhodt unter Rietburg. After working at wineries in Austria and the New World, Stefan took charge of his family's 16 hectare vine holdings in 2011 implementing a 'minimal intervention' wine making policy yielding wines of great charm and character. His 'Aus Rhodt' Chardonnay (still a relative rarity in Germany with just 600 hectares under vine) has a wealth of ripe orchard fruit scents and flavours offset by a mineral-edged acidity and its sibling Pinot Noir has a dark hedgerow berry bouquet and sumptuous dense black fruit palate with deftly-integrated oak.
The Klumpp family's organic estate in Baden's Kraichgau district extends over 25 hectares. Their Auxerrois has an alluring bouquet of yellow stone fruit and a smoothly-textured palate with ripe apple flavours and subtle nutty nuances, while its sibling Pinot Noir is packed with dark cherry fruit offset by fine-grained tannins and a nervy tension imbued by limestone soils. Making its debut here is their impressive 'Cuvée # 1' - a blend of 50% Blaufränkisch, 20% Saint Laurent, 20% Pinot Noir and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.