Visiting the most northerly of Germany’s wine regions, where Pinot Noir is king
Jean Stodden, run by Alexander Stodden, is one of the Ahr’s top producers. The winery has been here since 1900 and Alexander is the fifth generation of the family to work in the business.
His grandfather became known for good wines in the region and 100 km around. Unusually, Stodden established a reputation for high quality dry wines at a time when most were sweet. Alexander started in the cellar in 2001 and has been in charge since 2006: his father is more interested in farming.
The wines from the 1990s were more tannic, and Alexander has taken them in a softer direction since the 2000s. He changed the fermentation system in the quest for more fruit and more elegant tannins.
He has 7 hectares of vines in 65 separate plots, and production is 95% red, and 88% Pinot Noir. On recent vintages, he’s very pleased with 2013. ‘I love 2012,’ he says. ‘It is very complex; more complex than 2011. 2011 is really outgoing, but for myself, I love 2012. 2014 was very hard work but the results were better than 2010. In 2010 the maturation time was too short, and there were fewer peaks.’
Jean Stodden Spätburgunder 2013 Ahr, Germany
Fresh, supple and fine with bright red cherries. Very pure with lovely precision and good acidity. Linear. 90/100
Jean Stodden Spätburgunder JS 2012 Ahr, Germany
Pale colour. Floral red cherries. Bright and light; sappy and pure with lively acidity and some mineral notes. An elegant style. 92/100
Jean Stodden Recher Spätburgunder 2012 Ahr, Germany
From the Herrenberg. Very fresh, silky, fine and bright with nice cherry and plum fruit as well as some sappy notes. Good acidity. An elegant style with just a hint of tarry spice. Sappy, linear and dry. 93/100
Jean Stodden Dernauer Hardtberg Spätburgunder GG 2012 Ahr, Germany
Spicy with a slightly tarry edge to the nose. Sappy cherry fruit with some ginger notes, and nice fresh raspberry fruit, with a lively spiciness. A really fresh, elegant style. 93/100
Neuenahrer Sonnenberg Spätburgunder GG 2012 Ahr, Germany
Very fresh and fine, with silky red cherries and plums, showing freshness to the red fruits. Some spice and lovely texture, with fine-grained tannins and great precision. Real finesse here. 94/100
Jean Stodden Recher Herrenberg Spätburgunder GG 2012 Ahr, Germany
Lovely purity here: silky, fine and textured with elegance and generosity. Red cherries, plums and real finesse. 95/100