What's the most popular red wine in Germany? If Pinot Noir sprang to mind, well done but it's hardly surprising if it comes as a complete surprise that this northern European country has a strong focus on red wine at all.
What is surprising today is just how strong that focus is. Germany has more than double the number of producing vineyard hectares to New Zealand. It has about 100,000 compared to our 40,000. Not only that, but today (in stark contrast to 20 to 30 years ago), Germany's white grapes make up just 66 per cent while 34 per cent are now red, predominantly Pinot Noir. This means Germany has more than double the amount of Pinot Noir than New Zealand does. Its vineyards are also inching closer to the Baltic Sea than yours truly is writing this story. Yes, Pinot Noir is leading the charge but Merlot and Tempranillo may not be far behind, if climate change continues unabated.
The reason for this significant step, if you'll excuse the pun, is that winemakers such as Gerd Stepp are responding to climate change by focussing on quality red wines more than they used to. Its best Pinot Noir are giving Burgundy and New Zealand a good run for their money and not always at prices that beg for a limb to be amputated for the pleasure of purchasing these exciting wines.
The new generation of German winemakers is producing riper, fuller bodied Pinot Noirs made in a modern style - and one which takes both Burgundy and New Zealand Pinot Noir styles into account while also forging their own path forward.
Affordable new German Pinot Noir in store now
2019 Stepp Pinot Noir Pfalz RRP $35.99
These wines have yet to be loaded onto our website but you can call to order or pop in...
Winemaker Gerd Stepp is at the forefront of this cultural change. The excellent Stepp Pinot Noir we have just landed in store amply illustrates this with its smooth, velvety, finely tuned balance. The ultimate match for duck or aubergine? Absolutely. But don't take our word for it...
This is a thought provoking Pinot Noir which offers exceptional value for money.
Stepp dry Riesling
Winemaker Gerd Stepp's exceptional German Riesling is also new in store and is made from a single vineyard in the country's warm southern region of the Pfalz.
The Kallstadter Saumage vineyard is all about loess and loam rich soils with a high limestone content, where the soils are full of tiny fossil shells, which provide high calcium content.
Gerd is no fan of botrytis so this stunning dry Riesling is all about lemon essence on the palate with apple, honey and citrus notes driving its core flavours. This wine is very clean, light bodied is expresses the very essence of wine - grape purity and length.
A beautiful wine now and with potential to be a great ager. This wine is dry with 7 grams of residual sugar.
More on this wine in coming weeks...