NEW BENCHMARKS IN GLOBAL PINOT NOIR - PART ONE – EUROPE OUTSIDE OF BURGUNDY

Roger C. Bohmrich, Master of Wine

July 1, 2022

Burgundian Pinot Noir is an archetype of near-mythical stature. Most informed observers would say it is one of the most difficult of France’s paradigms to replicate elsewhere in the world. Pinot Noir is widely seen as the ultimate challenge for a winemaker; this may well be part of its attraction. One of the German growers selected here, August Kesseler, puts it this way: “…you have to be prepared to go through thick and thin every year with this diva (as we like to call her) and patiently endure her sensitivity and caprice from cultivation to the bottle” (www.august-kesseler.de).

This leads to a fundamental question: Can any other region match the extraordinary dimension and finesse of Burgundy’s finest Pinot-based reds? While no one region has the range and diversity of Burgundy, there are exciting newcomers from Germany to Switzerland and California to New Zealand. A large majority of these wines are unknown to wine drinkers in other countries. Brilliant new wines are poised to surprise us, and some come from unexpected places.

How should we compare varietal Pinot Noir from other regions with the grape’s myriad expressions in the climats of Burgundy? As tasters, we should try to be accepting of the grape’s differing guises in other regions, even as Burgundy looms large in our taste memory. To fashion a selection of global benchmarks, the pressure is to compare one region against another, or against Burgundy, even if such comparisons may not be easily made.

Is it really possible to impose a global template on the taste characteristics of Pinot Noir, regardless of origin? Perhaps it would make more sense to evaluate each region on its own, apart from others, while relying on a spectrum of flavor profiles rather than a single model. A Pinot does not have to taste like a Burgundy to be authentic and exemplary. Should we mention that we have an incentive to remain open-minded about Pinots which are not from Burgundy? While there are exceptions, they are, broadly speaking, far less expensive. Have you checked the price of even a basic Bourgogne rouge from a serious producer?

Considering how temperamental Pinot Noir is thought to be, and how sensitive to growing season temperature, why have plantings exploded over the past twenty years? Pinot Noir is, with more than 260,000 acres worldwide, the 12th most cultivated variety out of hundreds of possible wine grapes (Anderson & Nelgen, 2020). Several countries are Pinot-obsessed, particularly the United States. The U.S. has leapt into the number two spot in plantings since 2000. France remains the leader in bearing area, which has grown over this same period. Germany is third, which may come as a surprise. The other front runners depicted on the graph below (Fig. 1) have less acreage of Pinot, yet all (except Switzerland) have shown increases over the past two decades. Yes, the Pinot fever seems to know no borders.

Figure 1. The global leaders in Pinot Noir acreage in 2000 (blue bar) and 2016 (red bar). © K Anderson & S Nelgen, 2020.

The countries waiting in the wings include some who may shine in time as more vineyards are planted and as vines mature. Winemakers are also learning on the job and becoming more adept at getting the most of their fruit. The best news for Pinot Noir enthusiasts is that this trend is likely to continue as locales once too cold to ripen the grape satisfactorily become viable as the climate warms. Take the example of Coteaux Champenois, the non-sparkling reds (not forgetting the whites and rosés) of Champagne, which are poised for greater success as warmer growing seasons migrate north across France. A new world of Pinot Noir awaits us, and this is just the beginning.

In this article, we will take the pulse of Pinot Noir outside of Burgundy and try to identify the best, those which deserve to be called new benchmarks. This is an ambitious exercise to say the least and can only be done by relying on multiple sources and educated opinions. This is not just one person’s judgment! (Just look at the references at the end.) Arbitrarily, to qualify for a top spot the wine has to have a history of published reviews and ratings above 90 points for at least five consecutive vintages. Most of our Benchmarks have been on the scene longer. We have opted to recognize some newer arrivals who have excited critics.  After all, the rules we have set are our own. No doubt others will have their own names to add (or remove). Finally, this registry refers to individual wines, not wineries. There is often more than one thoroughbred in the same stable, and we have not imposed a limit for our Benchmarks. That would be a disservice to the vintners themselves and to you, the reader. Fundamentally, this exercise is intended to acknowledge achievement and alert drinkers to notable wines they may not know.

 Wines showing promise but with short histories – and there are many given the Pinot ferment worldwide – have been placed on a Watch List. They will have to prove that an auspicious beginning can be sustained over a minimum of a decade to make the next edition of the list.  To put all this together, we will need to lean on journalists and authorities who have tasted widely and expertly. It would be nearly impossible – yet a fantasy come true –  for any one person to visit all the regions and taste all the contenders considered for this assessment. Moreover, the most exceptional Pinots are typically produced in minute quantities and sold in their country of origin, on release, to a waiting clientele. Only a handful will ever make it to the shelves of even the most resourceful of resellers. If you have your eye on any of these benchmarks, put your name on a waiting list with the right sort of merchant or directly with the winery. A standing order, regardless of vintage or price, may be your best strategy to secure a few bottles.

            To make this list as meaningful as possible, we have opted to divide it by country and region within two broad groupings: Europe and Rest of the World. Part One will address the various European expression of Pinot Noir. Our natural inclination may be to compare one producing area with another. How does a benchmark from Willamette Valley stand up to one from the Rheingau, Central Otago, or Sonoma Coast? It would be better, we suggest, if these selections were viewed less as a global hierarchy or classification than as a compendium of high-achieving wines with distinctive personalities, all expressing the finest qualities of Pinot Noir in the context of their regions. In other words, all the wines here are to be celebrated for their individual merits. As Stephan Reinhardt has written astutely in the Wine Advocate, “World-class red wines, even Pinot Noir, can come from wherever unique terroirs meet gifted winemakers...” (Reinhardt, 2021).

In order to understand where Pinot Noir actually fits in the profile of these wine regions, it would be helpful to provide some background.

 

PINOT NOIR IN EUROPE BEYOND BURGUNDY

FRANCE – ALSACE

Pinot Noir has a centuries-long presence in Alsace. For those who seek out wines from this distinctive region, however, the first thought is of white, not red, wines from Pinot Blanc, Riesling or Gewurztraminer. The wines made from Pinot Noir have long been seen as lacking – in color, complexity, and finesse. It would come as a surprise to many that Pinot Noir accounts for a tenth of this region’s production. Most is “lost” in Crémant or rosé. It is telling that the grape was not among the official four “noble” grapes which could claim the mantle of Grand Cru. This forced Pinot Noir to be planted in less favorable locations. Some growers refused to give up, devoting precious parcels in their Grand Cru holdings to the variety. A campaign to give official status to Pinot Noir in Grand Cru sites has been underway over the past decade (www.backinalsace.com). Pinot Noir has been sanctioned for two Grands Crus, Kirchberg de Barr and Hengst, as this is being written (Journal Officiel, 2022). Vorbourg, known for the Pinots of the Muré family, did not make the cut but may join the others in time.

At the time of the petition to the INAO, the official body setting the rules for appellations of origin, the director of the winemakers’ association noted that Pinot was not entitled in modern times “to a better classification than the basic AOP Alsace” (Bach, 2015). Renewed optimism has prompted plantings very recently in various Grand Crus, in anticipation of a change in the law. Through sheer dedication aided by a changing climate, Alsace is making Pinots of higher quality from varied soils ranging from granite and sandstone to limestone. Consider these remarks for the 2015 A Mann Grand H: “…more Gevrey in style than Chambolle, with meaty flesh and ripe tannins. I’ve never tasted a better Alsace Pinot Noir than this” (Jefford, 2017). The Mann benchmark can be contrasted with the 2016 Luft of Zusslin: “Utterly silky and balanced on the palate, this is a full-bodied, very intense and dense yet vibrantly fresh, if not dramatic, and highly elegant Pinot Noir” (Reinhardt, 2020).

Benchmarks – Alsace Pinot Noir

Albert Mann “Grand H”

Valentin Zusslin “Bollenberg” (based on Harmonie, now Luft & Neuberg)

 

Watch List

Albert Mann “Grand P”

Albert Mann “Les Saintes Claires”

Muré Clos Saint Landelin

Valentin Zusslin “Ophrys”

 

Nominees

Albert Mann”Clos de la Faille”

Zind-Humbrecht “Heimbourg”

Hugel “Grossi Laüe”

Laurent Barth “S08 P93 “M”

Marc Tempé Zellenberg

FRANCE – CHAMPAGNE

Champagne’s fame rests, to state the obvious, on sparkling wines. Pinot Noir is the most planted grape and accounts for nearly 32,000 acres or 38% of all vineyards. Any student of Champagne knows the importance of the variety in a typical blend or as the sole component of specific cuvées. Here, as in nearby regions – the central Loire or Burgundy – Pinot enhances the elegance of many rosés, with and without effervescence. Among these is the singular and rarely seen appellation of Rosé des Riceys from the Kimmeridgian soils of the Côte des Bar in the Aube. This anomaly, which is made exclusively with Pinot Noir, is fermented with the skins until it acquires a particular taste, “le goût des Riceys.” Look for the wines of Morel, Alexandre Bonnet, and Walczak Père et Fils. Also sourced in Riceys is a new old-vine Coteaux Champenois, En Chanzeux, launched with vintage 2019. This wine results from a collaboration of Michel Chapoutier of the Rhône Valley and Champagne Devaux, a tantalizing sign of exciting new possibilities for the region’s non-sparkling wines.

Coteaux Champenois, a designation for still white, rosé, and red wines, has never been the region’s calling card. All seven varieties allowed for Champagne itself are permitted. The red iteration has historically been the most difficult to execute skillfully. Fruit maturities of grapes have been on the rise over recent decades. Warming temperatures are a boon for still wines in a region where grapes struggled to reach the threshold of ripeness. En Chanzeux tells the tale: it was picked at a potential alcohol of nearly 13.5%.

There are a few noteworthy wines on the Watch List which are likely to be Benchmarks in due course. Here are inviting notes for Tarlant’s Longue Attente: “exotic and exciting nose intertwines the sweet charm of ripe red and spicy dark fruits with the purity and finesse of a warm, shallow limestone terroir in a cool climate…everything here is clear, dry, fine and fresh” (Reinhardt, 2021).   

 

Benchmarks – Coteaux Champenois

Bollinger Coteaux Champenois “La Côte aux Enfants” Vieilles Vignes

Egly-Ouriet Coteaux Champenois Ambonnay Rouge “Cuvee des Grands Côtés”

 

Watch List

 

Louis Roederer Coteaux Champenois Mareuil-sur-Aÿ Hommage à Camille

Gonet-Medeville Coteaux Champenois Ambonnay

Rouge Cuvée Athénais Vieilles Vignes

Paul Bara Coteaux Champenois Bouzy Rouge

Pierre Paillard Coteaux Champenois Bouzy Rouge “Les Mignottes”

Marie Copinet Coteaux Champenois Rouge “EA Épreuve d’Artiste”

Tarlant Coteaux Champenois Rouge “Longue Attente à Celles-lès-Condé”

Benoît Lahaye Coteaux Champenois Bouzy Rouge

Devaux & Michel Chapoutier Coteaux Champenois “Les Chanzeux”

 

 

Nominees

Jean Vesselle Coteaux Champenois Bouzy Rouge

René Geoffroy Coteaux Champenois Cumières Rouge

Walczak Père et Fils

 

FRANCE – LOIRE

The Loire’s image rests overwhelmingly on white wines, mostly bone dry all the way to, on occasion, liquoureux.  There are historically important areas of red wine, but these are principally reliant on Cabernet Franc, with supporting varieties. A handful of growers in Centre Loire have made credible red wines in Sancerre using Pinot Noir which most outsiders have rarely encountered. Few have a record of achieving something of substance. Conditions are changing and so are the red wines. Growers of red Sancerre are led by Domaine Vacheron, who is regularly at the head of the class. Vacheron merits being named a Benchmark for the appellation for his long record of achievement. Their biodynamically grown Belle Dame Rouge, from flint (silex) soils, is a reference point. Vines average 50 years of age, grapes are harvested by hand, and fermentation occurs with naturally occurring yeast in upright wood casks. There is an extended maceration of up to 30 days. It is aged 18 months in barrel and does not go through fining and filtration. Wine Enthusiast gave the 2019 a score of 93, writing that the wine “shows why Vacheron is a master of red Sancerre” (Wine Enthusiast, 2022).

Benchmarks – Sancerre Rouge

Vacheron “Belle Dame”

Watch List

Daniel Reverdy “P’ tit Luce”

Delaporte “Le Cul de Beaujeu”

Gérard Boulay “Oriane”

Alphonse Mellot “Génération XIX”

Alphonse Mellot “La Demoiselle”

Vincent Pinard “Vendanges Entières”

François Cotat Chavignol (Vin de France)

 

Nominees

Serge Laloue “Les Rôties”

Pierre Martin

GERMANY

Germany, as seen by Vienna-based Falstaff Magazine, is making “some of the most exciting Pinot Noirs in the world” (Falstaff, 2022). While German Pinot Noir has never taken the lead with foreign drinkers, the grape, typically called Spätburgunder, has been cultivated for centuries. It may well be that it was introduced in the 9th century CE from Burgundy. There are 28,800 acres currently planted to the variety, placing Germany third after France and the U.S. (Deutsches Weininstitut, 2020). How many people know that Pinot is the country’s second variety after Riesling, just ahead of Müller-Thurgau? By the way, Germans also grow an earlier-ripening relative of Pinot appropriately dubbed Frühburgunder (Pinot Noir Précoce) which is not considered here.

The possibility to explore and exploit vineyards of grand cru stature has not been suppressed as in Alsace. True, ideally oriented slopes have been planted with Riesling (in fact a kindred spirit of Pinot). Outstanding localities have been cultivated in numerous regions including Baden (with nearly 13,000 acres of Pinot), Pfalz (4,200 acres), and Rheinhessen (3,640 acres) on soils as varied as basalt, slate, and limestone. The grape’s share of mind may be greatest in Ahr, described by Wines of Germany as a “red wine paradise,” where it commands 65% of the vineyard surface. Even in the Rheingau, the Höllenberg vineyard, on a 45% slope of phyllite slate, is one of Germany’s most celebrated sites for Pinot Noir. This Grosse Lage© has been cultivated with the French grape, it is believed, since 1470 (VDP, 2022).

Curiously, there are very fine “German” vineyards actually situated in Alsace. A prominent example is Heydenreich, a monopole of Friedrich Becker. This site is situated within the Sonnenberg, overlapping the border between Schweigen (Germany) and Wissembourg (France) and is the most southern of several vineyards using this name in Pfalz.  This story is rather complicated.

By the 1990s, a Pinot Noir movement had taken hold in Germany. The early examples, as Jancis Robinson has explained, were barely mature and often “pale grayish pink” (Robinson,xxx). Styles have continued to be refined. Use of new oak has been dialed back. As Germany’s climate warms, Pinot is able to benefit from a longer maturation period and produce fully mature wines while keeping an excellent acid level. Even the Schubert family at Maximin Grünhaus planted one hectare of Pinot (in 2007) in their legendary Abtsberg vineyard. The 2010s ushered in a “golden era of Pinot Noir” (Robinson). The consensus is that contemporary German Pinots are distinctively fresh and well-defined. Talent completes the picture. For the Fürst family, “it is the vintners’ know-how that took the wines to the next level” (Zecevic, 2018). Paul Fürst, writes Anne Krebiehl MW, “is one of Germany’s true Pinot pioneers” (Krebiehl, 2019).

Among the exceptional examples, the Kreuzberg Devonschiefer R 2018, named after the Devonian slate soil, won a Best of Show in the Decanter World Wine Awards and was described as “harmonious and beautifully vinified” (Decanter WWA, 2021). Similarly, Fritz Wassmer Sommerhalde Bombach 2016 won a Platinum. The palate of this Spätburgunder is “graced with sour cherry, clove, liquorice, red plum, all underpinned with dark spice” (Decanter WWA, 2020). Another of note, the Höllenberg vineyard, is considered the “most historic, important site for Pinot Noir in Germany” (Baum). Then there are the Rings brothers in the Pfalz, and rising stars Julia Bertram and Benedikt Baltes in the Ahr, who have been knighted “Germany’s Pinot-Power couple” (Falstaff). We have to mention the wines of the Keller family in Rheinhessen who have super star status, and prices to match; specifically, their Morstein Spätburgunder Felix (only outdone by their Riesling G-Max). The even more exalted Alte Reben (vintage 2018) is described by Stephan Reinhardt as having “weightless intensity and length – absolutely fascinating” (www.robertparker.com).

The list of our Benchmarks is long and likely incomplete. It would take a very deep dive to give due credit to all. Perhaps in a second edition?

Benchmarks – Spätburgunder

By region, alphabetically

Jean Stodden “Alte Reben Rech Herrenberg” GG - Ahr

Jean Stodden “Rech Herrenberg” GG - Ahr

J.J. Adeneuer Walporzheim “Kräuterberg” GG - Ahr

J.J. Andeneuer Ahrweiler “Rosenthal” GG - Ahr

J.J. Adeneuer Walporzheim “Gärkammer” GG - Ahr

H.J. Kreuzberg “Devonschiefer R” Reserve - Ahr

Meyer-Näkel Walporzheim “Kräuterberg” GG – Ahr

Meyer-Näkel Neuenahr “Sonnenberg” GG- Ahr

Meyer-Näkel Dernau “Pfarringert” GG - Ahr

Bernard Huber Bombach “Sommerhalde” GG - Baden

Bernard Huber Malterdingen “Bienenberg” GG - Baden

Bernhard Huber “Bienenberg Wildenstein” GG - Baden

Bernard Huber Hecklingen “Schlossberg” GG - Baden

Salwey Oberrotweiler “Kirchberg” GG - Baden

Salwey Oberrotweiler “Henkenberg” GG - Baden

Salwey Oberrotweiler “Eichberg” GG - Baden

Fritz Wassmer Bombach “Sommerhalde” GG - Baden

Ziereisen “Jaspis” - Baden

R. Fürst Bürgstadt “Centgrafenberg” GG - Franken

R. Fürst Bürgstadt “Hundsrück” GG - Franken

R. Fürst “Schlossberg” GG - Franken

Knipser Laumersheim “Kirschgarten” GG - Pfalz

Knipser “RdP” - Pfalz

Friedrich Becker Schweigen-Rechtenbach Kammerberg “KB” GG - Pfalz

Friedrich Becker Schweigen-Rechtenbach “Heydenreich” GG - Pfalz

Friedrich Becker Schweigen-Rechtenbach “Sankt Paul” GG - Pfalz

Rings Kallstadt “Saumagen” GG - Pfalz

Rings Leistadert “Felsenberg” GG - Pfalz

August Kesseler Assmannshausen “Höllenberg” GG - Rheingau

Keller Westhofen Morstein “Felix” GG - Rheinhessen

 

 

Watch List

Bertram-Baltes Ahrweiler “Rosenthal” GG - Ahr

Bertram-Baltes Dernau “Goldkaul” - Ahr

Bertram-Baltes Dernau “Pfarrwingert” GG - Ahr

Bertram-Baltes Marienthal “Trotzenberg” GG - Ahr

Bertram-Baltes Mayschoss “Mönchberg” GG - Ahr

Maibachfarm Heimersheim “Burggarten” GG – Ahr

Maibachfarm “Glanzstück” - Ahr

Maibachfarm Ahrweiler “Silberberg” GG - Ahr

Knipser Laumersheim “Kirschgarten” GG - Pfalz

Rings Kallstadt “Steinacker” – Pfalz

Maximin Grünhaus Pinot Noir - Ruwer

 

Nominees

 

Fürst Burgstadt “Berg”- Franken

August Kesseler “Cuvée Max”- Rheingau

Battenfeld-Spanier Hohen-Sülzen “Kirchenstück” GG - Rheinhessen

 

“GG” = VDP.Grosses Gewächs®, dry wines from VDP.Grosse Lage® vineyards

ITALY

Outside Italy, wine drinkers are far less likely to think of Pinot Nero than they are of all the indigenous grapes and wines which seem to be more closely tied to the country’s cultural identity. Pinot is destined, it seems, to remain in the shadow cast by Barolo, Brunello, Amarone, and Taurasi. Conte Vistarino in Lombardia claim their family brought Pinot Noir from Burgundy in 1850. Italy’s best Pinot Nero is enjoyed mostly within its borders rather than abroad. There are 12,463 acres of this variety across Italy (www.italianwinecentral.com). Well over half the plantings are found in Lombardia followed by Trentino-Alto Adige and Veneto. Pinot does not figure significantly, however, in the still wines of these regions but is a permitted component of many denominations. As elsewhere, the variety does have an important role in classic-method sparkling wine including two DOCG, Oltrepò Pavese and Franciacorta from Lombardia. It is also responsible for coloring the new Prosecco rosé (with an addition of up to 15% still red wine). Our selection of top Pinots comes mainly from cool-climate Alto Adige, also referred to as Südtirol in honor of its Austrian heritage. In this bilingual area, the grape may be named Blauburgunder. White wines, however, comprise 70% of Trentino-Alto Adige’s output. It so happens that its neighbor to the northwest is the Swiss wine region, Graubünden.

There are some others – in Tuscany, for example – who have taken up the Pinot challenge, but those expressions tend to reflect the region and less so the variety. Fontodi’s Case Via is one standout. Monica Larner tasted the 1992 in 2015 and “was left in utter disbelief” while saying the 2016 “is a very special expression of the grape.” With respect to the top wines from Alto Adige, she opined that “it's impossible not to be excited by these quality results with Pinot Noir from the far north of Italy” (Wine Advocate). Gambero Rosso was enthusiastic about the single-vineyard Ganger from clay-limestone soils made by one of Italy’s outstanding cooperatives, Cantina Girlan. Awarding it 95 points, they write about the 2017: “Finesse, elegance and complexity can be perceived right from the nose” and “everything is balanced to perfection by an acidic freshness” (Gambero Rosso International, 2022).

Benchmarks – Italian Pinot Nero

Cantina Terlano “Riserva Monticol”- Alto Adige

Girlan “Riserva Mazon Vigna Ganger” - Alto Adige

Girlan “Riserva Trattman”- Alto Adige

Alois Lageder “Krafuss” - Alto Adige

Stroblhof “Riserva” - Alto Adige

Tiefenbrunner “Riserva Linticlarus” - Alto Adige

Conte Vistarino “Pernice” - Lombardia

Tenuta Mazzolino Oltrepo Pavese “Noir” - Lombardia

Fontodi “Case Via” - Toscana

 

Watch List

Cantina Andriano “Riserva Anrar” - Alto Adige

Castelfeder “Riserva Burgum Novum” - Alto Adige

 

Nominees

Abbazia de Novacella – Alto Adige

Kaltern - Alto Adige

San Michele Appiano “Riserva Sanct Valentin” - Alto Adige

Madonna della Latte - Umbria

SWITZERLAND

Switzerland is terra incognita for wine lovers. Merely 1% of the country’s varied and highly regarded wine production is exported. It is hardly known that Pinot Noir (also called Blauburgunder) is the leading variety, contributing 28% of all production from 9,845 acres under vine. The main areas for Pinot are Valais and the German-speaking zone, Deutschschweiz. Records from the canton of Vaux show that the grape, under the name of a biotype, Servagnin, has been grown since 1472 (www.swisswine.ch).

As in Burgundy, the identity of some Swiss Pinot is concealed behind place names such as Neuchâtel or Graubünden. Switzerland is not an EU member, but has adopted an appellation system resembling that of France.  In the Three Lakes (Trois Lacs) region, vineyards are concentrated along the shore of Lake Neuchâtel. Here, Pinot Noir accounts for nearly half of all plantings. The same Jurassic limestones of Jura and Burgundy underpin the best vineyards with coverings of stony to heavier marl. The grape also makes rosé locals are proud of called Oeil-de-Perdrix. Pinot may be blended with Gamay and marketed as Dôle in Valais and as Salvagnin in Vaud. Among the Benchmarks, there are several world-class wines such as Fromm Schöpfi:  the 2017 won the Falstaff Pinot Noir Trophy in 2019. Swiss Pinots may be the most difficult of all wines cited in this article to find outside their country of origin. One of the Benchmarks, Gantenbeim, is available in the U.S. though still limited (www.loosenbrosusa.com). The hands-on owners are Martha and Daniel Gantenbeim. The best way to taste others is to plan a trip to this beautiful country and visit the wineries.

Benchmarks – Swiss Pinot Noir

Litwan Wein “Oberflachs Auf der Mauer” - Aargau

Litwan Wein “Thalheim Chalofe” - Aargau

Donatsch “Unique” – Graubünden/Malans

Donatsch “Passion” – Graubünden/Malans

Donatsch “Réserve Privée” – Graubünden/Malans

Fromm Malanser “Schöpfi” - Graubünden

Fromm Malanser “Selvenen” - Graubünden

Fromm Malanser “Spielmann” - Graubünden

Gantenbeim - Graubünden

Obrecht “Monolith” - Graubünden

Chambleau “Pur Sang” - Neuchâtel

La Maison Carrée “Auvernier” - Neuchâtel/Auvernier

La Maison Carrée “Auvernier-Le Lerin” - Neuchâtel/Auvernier

La Maison Carrée “Hauterive”- Neuchâtel

Domaine de la Rochette “Les Margiles”- Neuchâtel

Domaine de la Rochette “Les Rissieux”- Neuchâtel

Domaine de la Rochette “Vieilles Vignes”- Neuchâtel

 

Watch List

Fromm “Malanser” - Graubünden

Möhr-Niggli “Pilgrim”- Graubünden

 

Nominees

Fromm Malanser “Village”- Graubünden

Grillette “Réserve Graf Zeppelin” - Neuchâtel

Adrian & Diego Mathier “L’Ambassadeur des Domaines” - Valais

Mythopia “Pi-No” - Valais *for lovers of ultra “natural” wine!

There is a world of finely crafted European Pinot Noir which does not come from Burgundy waiting to be discovered. It is not a matter of the pleasure these wines can deliver. Rather, the question is simply how to find a bottle of any of these wines. Those from these European sources, many or most of which are not sold beyond their country of origin, will be the most difficult. Most of the smaller properties may not sell abroad or, if they do, the number of bottles of the top examples will be severely restricted. A true Pinot enthusiast, on the other hand, may just have the passion to chase after an exceptional and uncommon example from France, Germany, Italy or Switzerland.

In our second part, we will investigate the stars of Pinot Noir outside of Europe, focusing on noteworthy achievements from the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand.

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www.karakasismw.com.

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Clarke, J (July 14, 2019), Germany Might Be Producing the Best Pinot Noirs Available Today, Fortune, www.fortune.com.  

Krebiehl, A (July 10, 2017), Meet the Grand Crus of Alsace, Wine Enthusiast, www.winemag.com.

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