12th March, 2013 by Patrick Schmitt
Writing in April’s magazine, Anne Krebiehl comments,
“Riesling is now at the very top of its game and Spätburgunder
[Pinot Noir] is rapidly catching up.”
Citing increasing vine age, viticultural progress, warmer vintages,
reduced yields and the development of loose-clustered, small
berried German clones released in 1999, Krebiehl notes that
Germany is now producing concentrated Pinot Noir with a
unique savouriness, “reminiscent of lovage and bay”.
Indeed, in late 2011, as previously reported by db,
held in London (although it was Oregon which took first place, and
no Pinot Noirs from Burgundy featured).
Plantings of Pinot in Germany have also hugely increased,
with the vineyard area doubling from 1990 to 2010 to reach
almost 12,000 hectares, meaning Germany is now the third
biggest country in the world when it comes to Pinot hectarage
(see list below).
Germany’s top Spätburgunders are expensive however, with
prices peaking at over £100 per bottle for the most sought-after
Nevertheless, Georg Mauer, director of Wein & Glas, a leading
Berlin-based retailer and wholesaler, believes the prices are justified.
“These are small vineyard parcels, labour is intensive and production
structures are similar to Burgundy and Piedmont; prices are justified,”
Krebiehl also records that UK fine wine merchants are beginning to
recognize the quality.
For example, Berry Bros & Rudd has added three Spätburgunders to
their list, while Goedhuis & Co offered and sold out their first German
Pinot parcel last year.
Hong Kong merchants too are beginning to embrace Pinot Noir from
Germany, aware it offers a quality alternative to Pinot from the Côte d’Or,
which is becoming increasingly popular in Asia.
At the moment however, “German sales are so focused on Riesling,
Pinot Noir still flies under the radar,” according to André Kok,
managing director of Hong Kong-based
McGavin & Kok Fine Wine & Spirits.
And as a result, he adds, “Pinot Noir from Germany is probably
one of the most underrated wines in the world.”
For a full analysis of German Pinot Noir, including recommendations
of the top producers by region, see the April edition of
the drinks business.
Pinot Noir – worldwide plantings:
Country Vineyard area (hectares) Share (%)
US (Calif., Oregon, Washington) 21,037 24.3
Germany 11,756 13.6
Australia 5,061 5.8
New Zealand 4,828 5.6
Switzerland 4,352 5.0
Italy 3,300 3.8
Chile 2,130 2.5
Argentina 1,681 1.9
South Africa 962 1.1
Austria 649 0.8
Luxembourg 102 0.1
TOTAL 86,517 100
Source: Deutscher Wein Statistik 2012/2013 – German Wine Institute, Mainz
Text source: Thedrinksbusiness.com