(2024) It may come as a surprise to learn that Germany is now the world's third biggest producer of Pinot Noir, aka Spätburgunder, the variety now accounting for around 12% of Germany's vineyard area. This from the cousins Hanewald-Schwerdt is made from 30-year-old vines grown on their patch of limestone soil. Fermented with natural yeasts in large oak casks, it then spends time in smaller barriques, 20% of which are new. Medium garnet in colour, this has beautiful fragrance, with red berries and a juicy, ripe cherry, also a little floral lift. But there are all sorts of nuances, with some truffle and smokiness, briary, autumnal characters developing. In the mouth quite substantial and meaty, delivering a spicy but still pure, red fruited glass of Pinot of excellent character for its modest price. The finish is smoothed by a little vanilla, ripe tannin and a juicy orange acidity. Watch the video for more information.
(2023) Emil Bauer is a fifth generation family company, doing things a bit differently in the Pfalz, and making Sauvignon Blanc something of a speciality. Plenty of gooseberry and elderflower varietal typicity here, the aromas vibrant and fresh. In the mouth a little touch of residual sugar gives this just a touch of 'sweet and sour' character as it butts against very lemony acidity. There is grassiness and a hint of the tropical to the mid-palate, nectarine fruit. It's a solid commercial style that most Kiwi Savvy drinkers would recognise, but to that end, doesn't specifically scream 'Germany'.
(2022) A nice dry, ashy and light truffle note to cherry fruit. A fine coal dust dryness that leads on to a dry cherry fruited palate, but has a little glimpse of sweet bon bon, strawberry character too, for a nicely balanced palate, quite fruity but with good Pinosity too.
(2022) The Society suggest this is a "fun alternative to sauvignon blanc," and I can get that. Made in stainless steel with malolactic blocked for extra zip, there is 3.8g/l of residual sugar but that is barely felt in the mouth. There's more floral aromatic than Sauvignon for sure, true to variety, but in the mouth there is punchy and vivacious character, and just as it hints at sweetness a blast of lemony and grapefruit acidity powers through.
(2021) There's a certain smokiness and cracked river stone character here and beneath, the more exotic fruit quality comes through, peach, nectarine and a little mango. More luscious than the Pinot Blanc, an edge of residual sugar again that is easily offset by pithy, direct lemon and grapefruit tanginess. Quite long, lots of citrus and juicy peach dominating the finish.
(2021) There's a touch of residual sugar in this Pinot Blanc from the Pfalz, so after a crisp and fresh nose of ripe red apple and a touch of melon skin the palate has a gentle edge of softness to the otherwise dry and juicy palate, more of those apple flavours and a refreshing zest to the finish. Easy drinking and versatile.
(2021) A relatively unusual style this, a semi-sweet Gewürz, which has the hallmark florals, honeysuckle and a touch of exotic spices, but is not too flamboyant into the Turkish delight spectrum. The definite sweetness on the palate means that for me this does have to be carefully matched to food really, and I think a tarte tatin or apple strudel, maybe something like a peach cobbler, could hit the spot.
(2021) From the more southerly Pfalz, often a source with a bit more weight and fullness than those of the Mosel or Rhine, this has such a purity of lemon jelly and hints of smoky minerals, leading onto a palate that shimmers with pure fruit. From complex red slate soils, it does have weight there is some sweetness on the attack, some juiciness, but that shimmering core of acidity drives the long, dry finish. J&B recommend it as a partner to roast pork, which I can absolutely see, including the traditional apple sauce.
(2020) A really nice, buoyant and bountiful Pinot Noir from the more southerly Pfalz region of Germany, aged in larger barrels for one year, but part of the blend aged in new French oak barriques. There's a real kirsch-like lift of sweet cherry fruit, some elegant Parma violet and a welcome touch of briary, stalky character to add a freshening note. In the mouth it's the fruit gloss and sweetness that impresses, a deliciously moreish rendition of Pinot, but not without elegance and tertiary character: again that herbaceous and twiggy touch, a little rounding of oak, and excellent freshness of tannins and acids into the finish.
(2018) Pinot Noir from the Pfalz and limestone marl soils (kalkmergel). The nose has some plum and cherry, maybe even a touch of raspberry, before a palate that seems rather under-fruited; against the soft oak of the background there is some sweetness and decent acidity, but it is rather short and lacking a bit of charm. I couldn't honestly recommend this, even with two pounds off in Majestic's 'mix six' pricing.