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I LOVE pinot noir and I love pinot gris. I crave them in the same way someone might crave ice cream, or chocolate. So, imagine my giddiness when I visited what can only be described as pinot paradise - the Pfalz and Baden regions in the south of Germany.

Each is fascinating in its own right and both are home to the most amazing wines from the pinot family.

Baden is Germany's southernmost wine region and the sunniest too. It benefits from warm Mediterranean air which channels up through valleys and is then trapped by the Black Forest and the Vosges mountains. Cooler air circulates in the evening, making for a perfect grape-growing environment.

Just further north and slightly to the west, the Pfalz is bordered by mountains, Rheinhessen, the Rhine and the French region of Alsace. Some of the German-owned vineyards straddle into France, a legacy of the Second World War.

It was here that winemaker Johannes Julg, from Weingut Julg, greeted us holding his young son, who was shyly clasping his father's neck.

A few minutes later Johannes' grandmother Erica served a delicious local dish of saumagen (sow's stomach stuffed with meat and vegetables).

We enjoyed it in the sunshine with a glinting glass of weissburgunder (pinot blanc); the flavours of the wine laden with notes of lemon and lime and flint.

You can buy the wine Weissburgunder, Weingut Julg 2016 (pictured left, PS9.50, 12% abv) at The Wine Society.

Germany is the world's third largest producer of pinot noir, behind France and the USA. In Germany pinot noir is known as spatburgunder, but is rarely labelled as such here.

A couple of supermarket wines from the Pfalz region are Hans Baer Pinot Noir (RRP PS7, Tesco, 12% abv) which is silky with raspberry and subtle savoury notes and Johann Wolf Pinot Noir RRP PS9.99, Waitrose, 12.5% abv, pictured below right) which has cherry flavours with a smoky depth. Villa Wolf, widely available, also a good brand to look out for. German pinot gris (grauburgunder) is mainly grown in the Pfalz and Baden and a good selection can be found at online merchant

Weingut Franz Keller nestles in the stunning, volcanic region of the Kaiserstuhl in Baden.

Franz Keller 2015 Grauburgu der Schlossberg Grand Cru(12.5% abv) is a special treat at PS39.95 from Wine Barn but you'll love its minerality and apple and conference pear notes. The grapes grow on an old terraced vineyard, yards from where I sipped it.

In the courtyard of Weingut Heger, about 20km west of Freiburg, I avoided a wasp, tripped over a cobble, dropped a pen and knocked over a glass; but I was still full of praise for the wine, including Dr Heger Grauburgunder Sonett Dry (PS14.85, Wine Barn, 13% abv) which is supertasty with citrus, pears, apples and a peep of tropical fruit.

I loved my visit to pinot paradise. It was heaven.

| Follow @WinesofGermany on Twitter. Discover where to buy German wines at Jane is a member of the Circle of Wine Writers. Find her on social media and online as One Foot in the Grapes.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Aug 2, 2018
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