Spätburgunder: Germany’s Pinot Noir, reaching new heights

Pinot Noir is one of the undisputably great grape varieties, but until recently it only grew well in a few limited locations. Hailing from Bourgogne in France, it’s hard for people not to compare Pinot Noir grown elsewhere with red Burgundy, but fortunately this is now getting less common as other regions become more confident with this variety.

Germany is one of the Pinot Noir hotspots. It’s the country with the third highest plantings of this variety, which is thought to have been grown here since the 4th century. With 11800 hectares of Spätburgunder (the German name for the variety), it makes up 11% of Germany’s vineyard. Three regions have traditionally excelled: Baden, Württemberg and the Ahr (where it’s the main grape), but as this tasting showed, good examples are coming from across the country.

This extensive tasting was part of the VDP tasting in Wiesbaden, and these wines are all Grosses Gewachs from VDP member wineries (there’s an explanation of what this all means here).


Deutzerhof Heimersheim Landskrone Spätburgunder 2018 Ahr
Brightly focused with lovely crunchy, pure raspberry fruit with good acidity and structure. There’s nice depth to this wine, which shows exuberant, just-ripe fruit and good tannin and acidity. It’s quite pretty and floral. 93/100

Jean Stodden Neuenahr Sonnenberg Spätburgunder 2018 Ahr
This is taut, concentrated and well structured, but shows lovely floral raspberry and red cherry fruit with some generosity. There’s a lovely grainy, grippy structure hiding under the fruit. Very fine and expressive. 94/100              

H. J. Kreuzberg Neuenahr Sonnenberg Spätburgunder 2018 Ahr
Very lively, with pure, sweet fruit and a touch of sweet and sour character. There’s some spicy framing, and the sour cherry finish is interspersed with some tarry oak hints. It’s a very attractive wine. 92/100

Meyer-Näkel Neuenahr Sonnenberg Spätburgunder 2018 Ahr
Very assured: this has sweet, ripe-but-focused cherry and plum fruit with fine structure and some spicy oak framing. Good concentration and weight here, with the emphasis on the fruit. 93/100         

 H. J. Kreuzberg Ahrweiler Silberberg Spätburgunder 2018 Ahr                          
A really pretty, expressive with with some sour cherry, fine spices and sufficient structure to back up the fleshy fruit. Has a structured sour cherry finish. 93/100

H. J. Kreuzberg Neuenahr Schieferlay Spätburgunder 2018 Ahr
Fine and expressive with some upfront red cherry fruit, a bit of lushness, and a sour cherry finish. Some floral notes, too. I really like the fruit here. 93/100              

Deutzerhof Neuenahr Kirchtürmchen Spätburgunder 2018  Ahr
This has lovely density to the bright berry and cherry fruit. Well structured and really attractive with a bit of grip. Such a pretty, expressive wine, showing a friendly face but also some seriousness. 94/100

J. J. Adeneuer Ahrweiler Rosenthal Spätburgunder 2018 Ahr
Very pretty and textural with lovely red cherry fruits. There’s some liqueur-like sweetness here with a bit of spice, too. Nice depth of fruit. 92/100

Jean Stodden Ahrweiler Rosenthal Spätburgunder 2018 Ahr
Finely aromatic with nice spicy framing to the taut red fruits. There’s a grainy structure here, with some well integrated oak. Very fine with lovely taut intensity. 95/100                        

Meyer-Näkel Ahrweiler Silberberg Spätburgunder 2018 Ahr
Some toasty, slightly tarry oak framing here to the focused but generous red berry and cherry fruit. There’s a depth to this wine, which shows nice intensity. The fruit has some sweetness to it. Seductive but still in balance. 94/100                          

Burggarten Walporzheim Kräuterberg Spätburgunder 2018 Ahr
Concentrated and finely spiced with nice intensity to the warm cherry and berry fruits. A rich style, but it works really well, with nice spicy structure. 93/100                  

Meyer-Näkel Walporzheim Kräuterberg Spätburgunder 2018 Ahr
This is fresh, pure and really expressive with real elegance, concentration and finesse. Lovely raspberry and red cherry fruit with nice presence and focus, with a bit of grip on the finish. Superb. 95/100                           

J. J. Adeneuer Walporzheim Alte Lay Spätburgunder 2018 Ahr
Supple and fine on the nose with some green hints, and lovely floral red fruits. The palate is fresh and vivid with nice detail to the red cherry fruit. Real elegance and purity here. 94/100

Meyer-Näkel Dernau Pfarrwingert Spätburgunder 2018 Ahr
Vivid and spicy on the nose with sweet cherry and berry fruits on the palate, all framed in appealing spicy oak. There’s good integration of the oak, though: this has a sense of harmony. 93/100

Jean Stodden Rech Herrenberg Spätburgunder 2018 Ahr
Taut, fine and complex with good acidity and structure as well as some spicy oak. Just a baby, but with potential for a lot more development. It’s fresh and finishes really spicy. 93/100                                  

Jean Stodden Mayschoss Mönchberg Spätburgunder 2018 Ahr 
This is fine and compact with good acidity and structure. The fruit is more red than black, with some nice spicy underpinnings and a touch of oak. There’s a bit of firmness on the finish, but there’s some really pretty floral red fruit character here. 94/100       

Deutzerhof Mayschoss Mönchberg Spätburgunder 2018 Ahr
Ripe, sweetly fruited and quite intense with some firm structure as well as fleshy berry fruits. This shows lovely fruit with some spicy notes on the finish. 93/100                              

Deutzerhof Altenahr Eck Spätburgunder 2018 Ahr
This has lots of ripe berry fruits, with a slightly baked edge though. It is a little curranty, but there fruit is impressive. 88/100              


Diefenhardt Martinsthal Schlenzenberg Spätburgunder 2018 Rheingau
This is nicely proportioned: there’s generous fruit with red cherries and plums, as well as some spicy structure. Ripe and substantial, with some elegance, finishing dry and tannic. 91/100

Kaufmann Hattenheim Hassel Spätburgunder 2018 Rheingau
Cola and spice and tar on the nose. The palate is dense and structured, with some more tar and spice. Grippy, with a drying finish. 88/100

Hessische Staatsweingüter Kloster Eberbach Rüdesheim Berg Rottland Spätburgunder 2018 Rheingau
Nice density here with sweet, spicy cherry and berry fruit. Has a touch of spicy oak. Quite structured with a slightly sour finish. 91/100

Hessische Staatsweingüter Kloster Eberbach Rüdesheim Berg Schlossberg Spätburgunder 2018  
Supple, quite elegant and finely spiced, with cherry and plum fruit and a nice texture. 92/100

Fritz Allendorf-Georgshof Aßmannshausen Höllenberg Spätburgunder 2018
This is quite elegant with a nice sweet fruit core, showing some floral red cherries and fine spices. Fruity and expressive with nice weight. 93/100           

Künstler Aßmannshausen Höllenberg Spätburgunder 2017
There’s a spicy, savoury edge to this, which shows compact sweet cherry and berry fruits, with good acidity. Has a hint of earth and leather. 90/100



Rudolf Fürst Klingenberg Schlossberg Spätburgunder 2018 
Intense smoky, spicy nose with a little reductive character. The palate is bright, fresh, and has some savoury complexity. It’s vivid and spicy and quite taut. 92/100                       

Steintal Klingenberg Schlossberg Spätburgunder 2018
This is very juicy and fruity with nice brightness. There’s a sleek, ripe red fruit character, but it’s also very fresh with a nice textured midpalate. Very fruity in style. 90/100

Staatlicher Hofkeller Würzburg Großheubach Bischofsberg Spätburgunder 2018
Concentrated and bright with some leather and spice undercurrents, firm tannins and nice focused red fruits. Really distinctive. 92/100                    

Steintal Großheubach Bischofsberg Spätburgunder 2018    
Lively, vivid, bright, spicy and very reductive, with a mineral-like smoky twist to the palate. Some meatiness, too. Very fresh acidity. Distinctive and I quite like it. 93/100      

Rudolf Fürst Bürgstadt Centgrafenberg Spätburgunder 2018
Fresh and juicy with supple red fruits. Shows some depth with a nice forward, fruity character. Good complexity here. 93/100

Rudolf Fürst Bürgstadt Hundsrück Spätburgunder 2018
Taut, spicy and a bit reductive, with a savoury edge to the sweet cherries and berries. Nice grip here with lovely red fruits. Complex stuff. 93/100

Steintal Bürgstadt Hundsrück Spätburgunder 2018
Sappy, supple and bright with good acidity and a nice structure, as well as fresh red fruits. Has some flesh on the mid-palate, but overall this is taut and focused. Very fresh. 93/100

Schmitt´s Kinder Randersacker Hohenroth Spätburgunder 2018                
Sappy and quite supple. Lovely elegant cherry and berry fruits. Has purity and structure, and a really impressive texture, finishing finely spiced. 94/100

Zehnthof Theo Luckert Sulzfeld Maustal Spätburgunder 2018                                
Very fresh and supple with lovely sweet cherry fruit. Juicy and fine grained with a touch of pepper. Appealing stuff. 93/100

SACHSEN SPÄTBURGUNDER                                                                                                  

Schloss Proschwitz – Prinz zur Lippe Zadel Schloss Proschwitz Spätburgunder 2018 Sachsen
Great purity and finesse here. Fresh but rounded and finely spiced cherries and plums, with a sleekness and purity. There’s a nice mid-palate texture with a touch of softness. Very drinkable. 94/100

RHEINHESSEN SPÄTBURGUNDER                                                                                            

J. Neus Ingelheim Pares Spätburgunder 2018 Rheinhessen 
Intense, spicy, reductive nose. Lots of matchstick reduction on the palate, too, which shows amazing intensity and purity. This could be brilliant in time, once the reduction has settled down. 94/100

J. Neus Ingelheim Horn Spätburgunder 2018 Rheinhessen
Taut, fresh and vivid. Slightly reductive with nice intensity on the palate. Has freshness and also some elegance with a smoky, spicy finish. Very fine, potentially. 93/100

Kühling-Gillot Oppenheim Kreuz Spätburgunder 2018 Rheinhessen
Fresh, fruity and linear with nice brightness to the focused red cherry and raspberry fruit. There’s a touch of cranberry here too. 93/10

Gutzler Westhofen Brunnenhäuschen Spätburgunder 2017 Rheinhessen              
Floral, sappy, spicy, elegant nose, with nice weight and texture on the palate. Fine green notes work well bringing freshness to the fruit here. Has some brightness but also a bit of warmth. 92/100

Gutzler Westhofen Morstein 2017 Spätburgunder
There’s good concentration here, along with freshness. It’s a bright, vivid wine showing red berry fruits with some raspberry crunch. Very juicy and grippy. Serious effort. 93/100

Keller Dalsheim Bürgel Spätburgunder 2018
Fresh, bright and vivid with nice purity. There’s some cranberry and red cherry character, with nice acidity and a touch of reduction that adds interest. Fine-grained, detailed and pretty serious. 94/100             

Battenfeld-Spanier Hohen-Sülzen Kirchenstück Spätburgunder 2018
Spicy, mineral and reductive on the nose with some struck flint and matchstick, as well as bright red berry fruits and a twist of redcurrant. Vivid, linear and quite delicious. 94/100                             

PFALZ SPÄTBURGUNDER                                                                                                       

Philipp Kuhn Laumersheim Steinbuckel Spätburgunder 2017
Lively and vivid with concentrated red fruits and a hint of earth and spice. Juicy, lively. Quite tannic. 91/100                             

Knipser Laumersheim Kirschgarten Spätburgunder 2016                            
Earth, herbs, spice and cherries. Quite savoury, showing some development. Has a sweet and sour character. There’s a touch of meatiness, too. Nice fruit on the mid palate. 90/100

Philipp Kuhn Laumersheim Kirschgarten Spätburgunder 2017
Juicy, bright, fresh and quite vivid with good acidity. Has a twist of earthiness, with some firmness under the fruit. 91/100                              

Knipser Großkarlbach Im Grossen Garten Spätburgunder2016
Juicy, supple and fruit-driven, but with a savoury, spicy undercurrent to the cherry and wild strawberry notes. Shows some savouriness. 90/100                       

Rings Leistadt  Felsenberg Spätburgunder 2018
Fine, expressive floral nose with lovely red cherries and some herbs. The palate is bright and expressive with a purity to the fruit. Very appealing. 92/100                       

Rings Kallstadt Saumagen Spätburgunder 2018                                
Supple and fresh with nice pure, bright red cherry fruit and some cranberry and raspberry crunch. Very pure and pretty, showing nice linear fruit. 93/100

A Christmann Königsbach Idig Spätburgunder 2018 
This is silky and refined, but there’s a spicy, savoury undercurrent to. Sweetly fruited and expressive with nice juiciness and a tapering, grainy finish. 93/100

Bergdolt-Klostergut St. Lamprecht Duttweiler Kalkberg Spätburgunder 2018
Showing a slightly malty edge to the nose, this is lively with supple red cherry and raspberry fruit. Lacks slightly in the textural department. 90/100

Münzberg – Lothar Keßler & Söhne Godramstein Münzberg “Schlangenpfiff” Spätburgunder 2017                      
Slightly faded with a malt/caramel edge to the fruit. Red cherries, plums and spice. Hints of wax and herbs. 89/100

Theo Minges Gleisweiler Rosenkranz-Zinkelerde Spätburgunder 2017
There’s some oak here that’s getting in the way of the sweet red fruits. Grippy and slightly awkward. 88/100

Ökonomierat Rebholz Siebeldingen Im Sonnenschein Spätburgunder 2015
Supple and finely spiced with red cherries, herbs and wild strawberries. Has a little development. Quite elegant in style. 91/100

Dr. Wehrheim Birkweiler Kastanienbusch “Köppel” Spätburgunder 2017                           
Just a touch of reduction on the nose. This is quite waxy and savoury, with some elegance to the red cherry fruit. Thought-provoking. 92/100

Kranz Ilbesheim Kalmit Spätburgunder 2017
This has nice concentration and purity with sweet cherry fruit and a bit of structure, finishing fresh. Floral, fine and quite silky with nice density. 93/100

Friedrich Becker Schweigen Heydenreich Spätburgunder 2017
Very fresh and bright with a juicy edge and some raspberry crunch. Quite tannic with high acidity, and a little bit hard on the finish. But lovely pure fruit here. 91/100

Bernhart Schweigen Sonnenberg Rädling Spätburgunder 2018
Some subtle meaty hints to the sappy red fruits nose. The palate has a bit of flesh with sweet, textured cherry and berry fruits. Some spice on the finish. Very appealing. 93/100

Bernhart Schweigen Sonnenberg Kostert Spätburgunder 2018
Juicy and balanced with nice fresh red cherry fruit, some spice, and a nice mouthfeel. Has appropriate structure and finishes bright. 92/100                         

Friedrich Becker Schweigen KB Spätburgunder 2017
Compact, waxy and savoury with a touch of bitterness. Quite structured. 88/100 

Friedrich Becker Schweigen Sankt Paul Spätburgunder 2017                                  
This has some nice flesh, but also quite a bit of structure. Red cherries and plums with some nice spicy flourishes. A little floral, too. Finishes firm. 90/100

WÜRTTEMBERG SPÄTBURGUNDER                                                                                                  

Staatsweingut Weinsberg Gundelsheim Himmelreich Spätburgunder 2018                       
Fleshy, sweetly fruited and a bit reen. Has nice soft, sweet black cherry fruit. Quite pure. Finishes with a slight resinous note. 89/100

Fürst Hohenlohe Oehringen Verrenberg Verrenberg Spätburgunder 2018 
Sappy and juicy with some green hints as well as nice pure black cherry fruit. Has a sense of harmony and nice ripeness. A bit grainy, in a nice way. 91/100

Graf Neipperg Neipperg Schlossberg Spätburgunder 2018  
Fleshy and sweetly fruited with lovely cherry, strawberry and raspberry notes. Has a bit of grip. There’s some lushness here. 91/100

Wachtstetter Pfaffenhofen Geißberg Spätburgunder 2017  
Fresh and fruity with nice juiciness. Has a bit of grip. There’s some softness here, and a rounded mid-palate. 90/100

Dautel Bönnigheim Schupen Spätburgunder 2018   
Aromatic with floral red cherry fruit, some black cherry, and nice green hints. There’s also a touch of rubbery reduction. Fruity and easy. 89/100

Dautel Oberstenfeld Forstberg Spätburgunder 2018
Supple and quite elegant with nice sweet cherry and plum fruit, and just a touch of grippy structure. Lovely fruit here. 90/100            

Aldinger Untertürkheim Gips Marienglas® Spätburgunder 2018
Juicy and intense with sweet cherry fruit and firm structure. It’s lively and vivid with nice purity, but the tannins are quite firm and it finishes dry. 91/100           

Aldinger Fellbach Lämmler Spätburgunder 2018      
Taut and reductive with fine spicy notes under the sweet, vivid red cherry and cranberry fruit. Very bright and intense with real focus. Quite firm, with high acidity. 90/100                       

Rainer Schnaitmann Fellbach Lämmler Spätburgunder 2018
Fresh and linear with lovely bright cherry fruit and some nice grip. There’s some intensity here, and some spicy reduction, too. Lots of potential: tastes fresh. 92/100                          

Heid Fellbach Lämmler Spätburgunder 2018                        
Juicy and grippy with a savoury, spicy, slightly peppery edge to the fruit. Has high acidity and finishes quite dry. 90/100

Beurer Stetten Mönchberg “Öde Halde” Spätburgunder 2017
Lovely bright fruit here: redcurrants and red cherries. There’s freshness, but also some savoury structure. Has nice purity and weight, and some nice green notes. 91/100

Karl Haidle Schnait Burghalde Spätburgunder 2018 
Fresh, supple and bright with nice sweet fruit. Lovely balance, with red berries and cherries as well as grainy structure and good acidity. 92/100                       


Seeger Leimen Herrenberg Oberklamm Spätburgunder 2018
Vivid colour. Nice spicy framing to the bright cherry and raspberry fruit. Lovely freshness. Oak a bit obvious at the moment but lots of potential for development. 92/100

Heitlinger Odenheim Königsbecher Spätburgunder 2017
Floral and expressive with nice red fruits and some fine herby notes. The palate is juicy and vivid with good acidity and lovely fruit expression. This is really good, with pure fruit and layers of interest. 94/100

Burg Ravensburg Sulzfeld Löchle Spätburgunder 2017
Nice fruit here: direct and focused with sweet cherries and plums and some raspberry brightness. The oak is well integrated, and it’s really appealing. 93/100

Wöhrle Lahr Kirchgasse Spätburgunder 2018
Smoky and slightly reductive on the nose. This is fresh and vivid with lovely red cherry and berry fruits, and a fine spicy framing. A serious wine. 94/100

Bernhard Malterdingen Bienenberg Spätburgunder 2018
Very floral, sweet cherry fruit on the nose. The palate is fleshy, pure and very fruity with appealing cherry fruits. So fruity and appealing, and massively drinkable. 93/100                          

Bernhard Huber Malterdingen Bienenberg Wildenstein Spätburgunder 2018                    
Lovely ripe fruit here. Quite pure and direct with nice sweet cherries and plums. This is fresh and juicy with bright fruit to the fore, showing nice intensity and brightness. There’s amazing drinkability, but also a bit of seriousness. 94/100

Bernhard Huber Hecklingen Schlossberg Spätburgunder 2018
Powerful and focused with lovely raspberry and cherry fruit, showing good concentration, purity and intensity. Ripe and alluring but with the structure to age. Very exciting. 95/100                                                                     

Bercher Burkheim Feuerberg Kesselberg Spätburgunder 2018
Bright, fresh and fruit driven with nice intensity to the red cherry fruit. This has nice presence and the oak is quite well integrated. Lovely fruit here. 93/100

Franz Keller Oberrotweil Eichberg Spätburgunder 2018
Bright, concentrated and juicy with a slight reductive edge to the palate, which shows crunchy raspberry fruit. Nice presence here, with a slight savoury side. 93/100

Salwey Oberrotweil Eichberg Spätburgunder 2018  
Supple, juicy, fresh berry and cherry fruits with some floral notes. Very appealing and bright, with some juiciness. 92/100

Stigler Oberrotweil Eichberg Spätburgunder 2017
Sweetly aromatic with some herbal hints to the floral cherry fruit. Shows elegance and lightness of touch. Very appealing. 92/100

Franz Keller Oberrotweil Kirchberg Spätburgunder 2018
Grippy and slightly reductive with nice bright, structured red berry fruits. Nice acidity here. Very stylish and focused. 92/100

Salwey Oberrotweil Kirchberg Spätburgunder 2018 
Vibrant red fruits nose. Very primary and direct with lovely focused red fruits, backed up by some savoury spiciness. Lovely balance here to this wine. 93/100             

Salwey Oberrotweil Henkenberg Spätburgunder 2018
Fresh, vivid and youthful with bright red berry fruits. Has some real crunch. Very direct with good acidity. Lots of potential here. 93/100                               

Franz Keller Achkarren Schlossberg Spätburgunder 2018    
Fresh, nicely vivid, floral and quite crunchy with a juiciness to the fruit. Has some nice, well integrated oak. Floral overtones. 94/100             

Michel Achkarren Schlossberg Spätburgunder 2018
Supple, refined and elegant with nice purity. Some spice, chocolate and cedar hints under the sweet fruit. Very stylish with lovely fruit expression. 94/100                

Franz Keller Jechtingen Enselberg Spätburgunder 2018
Has a slight savoury edge to the sweet cherry and berry fruit. Nice depth to this with good focus. 92/100

Staatsweingut Freiburg Blankenhornsberg Doktorgarten Spätburgunder 2018                  
Supple and bright with cherries, plums and herbs. Has a sweetness to the fruit, which is well balanced by appropriate structure. 92/100

Stigler Ihringen Vorderer Winklerberg “Backöfele” Spätburgunder 2016                            
Lovley tension here: a delicate, fine, ethereal wine with amazing finesse and purity. Fine-grained structure and fresh red cherry and strawberry fruit. Just beautiful. 95/100

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