In recent years there has been tremendous excitement about German Pinot Noir, or Spätburgunder as it is known locally. Producers are demonstrating an ability to craft high quality wines that are in demand both domestically and throughout export markets. Part of the variety’s success can be put down to the warmer temperatures brought on by global warming, particularly in the country’s southern regions such as Baden and Pfalz, but also due to the scientific advancements in vineyard management. Clonal selection is rapidly increasing the suitability of Spätburgunder to the cooler German climate, but techniques to improve results during the ripening period are also helping.
Spätburgunder now represents a 10% of all plantings across Germany and as such can be found in a number of different styles. At the top end of the market, the preference was for rich, complex wines that see an extended period of maturation in oak. Much like everywhere else at the moment, on-trend producers are experimenting with different fermentation methods to achieve body and structure, such as whole bunch pressing. The most elegant wines are seeing only moderate contact with wood, usually larger vessels that have been used before.