Wine gifts

  • Spätburgunder, Germany’s rising star

    Germany is so closely associated with white wine - especially Riesling - that it almost comes as a surprise that it is actually the world’s third biggest producer of Pinot Noir, or Spätburgunder - as they call it in Germany. Not tried Spätburgunder yet? It's time to realize that Pinot Noir is not all about Burgundy!

    Vineyards in Pfalz - Photo Wolfgang Staudt Vineyards in Pfalz - Photo Wolfgang Staudt

    Key facts about German Spätburgunder

     Pinot Noir plantings

    • Germany is the world’s third largest producer of Pinot Noir after France and the US.
    • Germany grows more Pinot Noir than Australia and New Zealand combined.
    • Pinot Noir is the most planted black grape variety in Germany, accounting for 11.5% of total plantings. It has grown steadily since the 1980s when it accounted for less than 4% of German plantings.
    • Baden – Germany’s southernmost wine region – accounts for almost half of total Pinot Noir acreage in Germany. There are also significant plantings in Pfalz (one of the sunniest regions in Germany), Rheinhessen and Württemberg. Together these four regions account for 85% of Pinot Noir plantings in Germany.
    Spätburgunder vineyards - Photo Denkrahm Spätburgunder vineyards - Photo Denkrahm

    The keys to produce great Pinot Noir

    • Pinot Noir needs a “warm spot in an otherwise cool climate”. Steep, south-facing German vineyards are among the few places where Pinot Noir can thrive.
    • While the French almost exclusively favour limestone soils to grow Pinot Noir, in Germany this grape is grown in much more diverse soil types (limestone, schist, slate, sandstone, loam, volcanic soils, etc.) which results in a spectacular range of styles.
    • With so many variations in soils and winemaking, there is no such thing as one style of German Pinot Noir. However German Spätburgunder remains definitely “Old World” in style, with fresh red berry aromas and a vibrant, refreshing acidity.

     

    Spätburgunder flavour profile

    Pinot Noir flavour profile

    Appearance: pale to medium ruby colour

    Nose: Intense, bright aromas of fresh fruits: red and black berries such as raspberry, strawberry, blackberry, black cherry, mulberry and any other berries you can imagine. Floral hints with aromas of violet and rose petals. Sometimes complemented with oak aromas (vanilla, toast, smoke, cloves, cinnamon, etc.)

    Palate: Light and delicate on the palate with crisp, refreshing acidity that enhances the bright fruit flavours (raspberry, black cherry, etc.) Low level of ripe, silky tannins.

     

    A few of our favourite Spätburgunder

    Oliver Zeter Pinot Noir

    Oliver Zeter Pinot Noir Reserve 2012 - Pfalz (£25.00 RRP) - Intense aromas of perfectly ripe red berries, raspberry and red cherry, together with well-integrated oak (hints of toast and vanilla). Well-balanced and silky on the palate, with a refreshing acidity, fine-grained, ripe tannins and a rather long, juicy finish. A well-balanced, modern wine showing immediate appeal. Very good.

    Bernhard Huber Bienenberg Spätburgunder Grosses Gewächs 2012 - Baden (£34.46 RRP) - Vibrant aromas of fresh red berries and spices. Well-balanced and delicate on the palate, with a solid acid backbone which makes it definitely German in style. Long vibrant finish. An outstanding wine from Germany's Pinot Noir "godfather".

    This blog post is based on Anne Krebiehl MW's seminar on "Germany’s rising red star – Pinot Noir" at G Major Trade Tasting organised by Wines of Germany.

     

    Want to know more about German Pinot Noir? Have a look at this interview of Anne Krebiehl MW (@AnneInVino)

  • Gift ideas for wine lovers

    With Christmas coming up, here are a few gift ideas for wine lovers.

    Zalto glasses

    Zalto glasses

    Zalto glasses are some of the most sought-after glasses by wine lovers, probably even more so than the far more expensive Riedel Sommeliers Series. These glasses are designed to offer the perfect balance between functionality and aesthetics. Zalto glasses are hand-blown in the northern part of Lower Austria in a manner that echoes the delicate virtuosity of the great Venetian glass artists of the Renaissance. This results in extremely thin, light and delicate glasses which are stunning to enjoy a good bottle of wine. As they are produced without the addition of any lead oxide, they are resistant against clouding and may be washed in a dishwasher. £30.00 per glass.

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    Sip and Learn – the wine tasting box

    Raise your hands if you have never stood in front of the wine section at your local shop with a look of despair on your face or if you have never felt a bit panicky at the idea of choosing a bottle at the restaurant. Don’t worry, Sip and Learn is made for you. Sip and Learn is a new way of drinking great wines whilst learning at the same time. Gift a subscription (from 1 month to 1 year) and every month your friend will receive 2 bottles of wine carefully selected by our wine expert as well as a comprehensive (but fun and superbly designed) educational booklet to start learning all about wine. £30.00 per month

    Wine grapes Jancis

    Wine grapes by Jancis Robinson

    This 1280-page book by some of the world's greatest experts is a must-have for every wine lover. Where do wine grapes come from and how are they related to each other? What is the historical background of each grape variety? Where are they grown? What sort of wines do they make and, most importantly, what do they taste like? Written by Jancis Robinson MW, possibly the world’s greatest wine expert, Julia Harding MW and Dr José Vouillamoz of the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland. £96.00

    Coravin - Photo US CPSC

    Coravin

    Coravin is a system which allows you to access, pour and enjoy your favourite wines by the glass whenever you like, without even pulling the cork. Instead of opening the bottle, you insert a hollow needle into the cork and pour a glass of wine without any oxygen getting into the bottle as the system uses pressurized argon gas. Unlike other wine preservation systems (vacuum pump, inert gas canister) – which preserve the wine for a few days – Coravin allows you to enjoy a great glass of wine and then store the bottle back in your cellar for a few more years. £269.00

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