The rise of reds and Riesling: new-wave wines from Germany
Despite being steeped in vinous history and respected throughout the wine world, Germany as a wine category is often overlooked and underestimated.
“German wine is not the easiest to sell, but there is a new group of premium producers – both traditional and modern in approach – creating very exciting wines across the country,” says Jamie Avenell, buyer for Germany at Bibendum.
German wine sales in general are massively declining in the UK, but the premium spectrum is growing, with a new wave of sommeliers especially interested in this country’s red wine offer. Jamie explains, “With value for money in Burgundy tough to come by, it’s well worth a look over the border in Germany. This country has been producing fantastic Pinot Noir (or Spatburgunder) for years, but all too often it’s not made it out of Germany. Yet increasingly, German producers want to show what they can do with Pinot Noir on the world stage.
“While travelling in Germany earlier this year, it became obvious that there are two sides to German wine. There are the established, more traditional producers and estates, many of whom produce outstanding wines. But there is a fast-evolving new face of German wine, a new generation with a more international perspective, and a more modern style waiting to be embraced by the trade."
We’ve added three new German producers across a spectrum of styles – Kopp in Baden, Joh. Bapt. Schäfer in Nahe and Peth-Wetz in Rheinhessen.
Joh. Bapt. Schäfer is located in Burg Layen in the Nahe and despite its small size, Nahe has a concentration of excellent producers. Schäfer has become well known for distinctive Rieslings and in 2013 they became a member of the Association of German Pradikat Wine Estates (VDP) – the first Nahe winery to become a member in 12 years.
This family-run winery now has fourth generation Sebastian Schäfer at the helm. He says, “We create individual wines with their own character, finesse and complexity – wines that reflect their origin. No other grape variety than Riesling shows such clear expression of the character of the soil, the micro climate of the area and the handwriting of the winemaker.”
Weingut Peth-Wetz epitomises the new face of German wine. Having travelled extensively, husband and wife Christian and Maja returned to the Rheinhessen to make what they describe as “internationally-styled wines of distinct regional character”.
Founded in 2001, their 30ha of vines are located between Worms and Alzey in Germany’s Rheinhessen. Their wines range from an unfiltered Riesling and Pinot Noir, to estate Grauerburgunder (Pinot Gris). Showing utmost respect for the environment, they are in the process of obtaining organic certification.
Founded in 1996 by Ewald Kopp, Weingut Kopp is located in the Ortenaukreis district of South-West Germany. As one of the best-known areas for vineyards in the Baden region, this is where Spatburgunder rules.
Having taken over after his father’s death in 2012, the 27-year-old Johannes Kopp was named ‘one of the top young winemakers to watch’ by German wine guide, Falstaff. He specialises in distinctive Spatburgunder and Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) wines, with the grapes grown on various well-known, historic sites in Sinzheimer and Baden-Baden Rebland.