Becker-Landgraf Gau-Odernheimer Spätburgunder 2015
Red wine may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Germany, but 34% of German wine is red. That's in large part because the affluent domestic market is increasingly demanding red wine, a pressure that local producers have to meet. But it's also because Germany has a more varied climate than is often assumed, allowing for the production of quality red wine.
The most planted variety in Germany just happens to be one of the world's greatest grapes, Pinot Noir. In Germany, it's called Spätburgunder, and the best wines rival those of Burgundy and elsewhere. Germany's cool climate produces Pinot Noir with an earthy intensity, fine tannins, and high acidity, not dissimilar to Burgundy but there's more of a meaty gameness to the wines.
Becker-Landgraf are a husband-and-wife team based in Rheinhessen, a region largely associated with white wine. They're part of a small band of producers determined to redefine the image of Rheinhessen. Making quality red wine certainly makes one rethink: they also make a great St-Laurent, a grape rarely planted outside of Austria, but which originates in Alsace, not too far from Rheinhessen.
This is a great Pinot Noir, especially for the price. There's a ripe fruitiness to it, while being a long way from jammy, and there's an enticing spiciness to it. It's quite oaky and surprisingly tannic, with a refreshing, juicy acidity. Smoky, earthy, and quite intense, this is a serious and very food-friendly wine that can be paired with any equally intense dish.
As an aside, wineries really need to invest in translators. There are too many websites whose English makes the winery look unprofessional. Here are the tasting notes for Becker-Landgraf's Spätburgunder. They really don't do service to what is a very fine wine.
An elegant Pinot Noir, embossed from the salty mineral. Cool aromas with a wild red berry fruit. Fine, the wort with a lot of momentum and good finish. The wood is finely integrated. The wine shows great presence on the palate, yet elegant and finely worked.
The ripe grapes are harvested by hand in several passes. This is followed by a maceration period of 12 hours. Is spontaneously fermented on the skins, with subsequent life after fermentation of 4-6 weeks. The wine remains unadorned and ripening to 30% in new oak barrels, 30% in barriques of second occupation and the remainder in the third and fourth assignment. After 15-18 months will be filled unfiltered.
Grape Variety: Pinot Noir
Ageing: up to 18 months in 30% new oak
Food pairing: lamb; chicken; salmon; pasta