Small, but at its finest
Neighbouring Württemberg with 70% red wine share is the only German winegrowing area, where reds are dominant. Top dog as part of everyday culture is the rather light Trollinger. Pinot Noir still has a share of 11%. However, many winegrowers are increasing their quality. The Rheingau has a similarly high Pinot Noir share (12.2%), but with reversed settings. 85% of the region is planted with white wine. Above all, at the Assmannshausen site and its slate slopes, there is first class terroir for pinot. Names such as Breuer, Kühn, Leitz and Weil stand for top wines.
The large winegrowing area Rhine-Hesse is the third largest growing area for Pinot Noir nationwide (1400 hectares). Yet on the regional ranking list, it is only in sixth place behind Dornfelder and Portugieser, which are easier to grow and have a higher yield. Rhine-Hesse has been seen as Germany's most dynamic region for some time now, and there are sufficient winegrowers who make very good wines out of the varieties, above all Klaus Keller. Junior manager Klaus Peter Keller learnt his trade in the Bourgogne, and his wines from the parental shell limestone slopes stand for applied knowledge.
In the white wine dominated region of the Palatinate, it does not look much different with 7% Pinot Noir. On the other hand, there are some pioneers here such as Knipser, Kuhn and Friedrich Becker. In the seventies, some of them moved away from the cooperatives which were powerful at the time, because they believed that their limestone and clay soil was good for more than that. The sun soaked region, where many winegrowers have a fig tree in the yard, has long concentrated on red wines. The top Pinot Noir products have a certain tradition, but have to prevail over Dornfelder, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and St. Laurent.
In almost all other growing areas, Pinot Noir only appears further down in the statistics and only plays a small role in terms of quantity. Thereby, individual winegrowers always stand out, such as Paul Fürst from Franconia. He has also been amongst the avant-garde since the 1980s and has made the Centgrafenberg basin with its weather-beaten Bunter sandstone soil into one of the best terroirs in Germany. Colleagues such as Markus Molitor from the Mosel decided on the grape variety later, but were soon presenting remarkable wines.The Ahr, one of the most northern winegrowing areas in the world and the most important region for high quality Pinot Noir, remains, although this small growing area does not even contribute half a percent to the German wine harvest.
The Ahr winds its way through greywacke, shale, loessic loam and dolostone. Valleys sheltered from the wind and rain, dark stony soils that reflect the heat, and the balancing effect of the river course ensure a significantly better climate than in the surrounding area. At every bend of the river there is a small heat basin. Companies such as Meyer Näkel, J. J. Adeneuer, Deutzerhof and Jean Stodden are amongst the absolute best with their complex mineral wines.