It is not often I try to sell you Germany Spatburgunder (aka Pinot Noir). Weingut Neiss is that special producer that got my attention and it is a wine that you should try. On the first night I would have picked Neiss Bockenheim as a Central Otago, but as it evolved it went to its own place.
Germany has 12000 hectares of Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir) planted. 1600 of this is in Pfalz, a region known for having the biggest Riesling plantings in the world. The Cistercian monks took Pinot to Germany from Burgundy, historically it has been only exception sites that could ripen Pinot in Germany. But that seems to be changing.
2015 was a hot year for Germany, which is what Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir) needs in the cold climate to be exceptional. This is a village-level wine from Weingut Neiss and it offers a lot of character. Neiss Bockenheim doesn’t have a lot of colour. What it does offer is an evolving and changing wine that is hard to pin down the flavours but Neiss is satisfying in its elusiveness.
The nose offers juniper, red fruits with a hint of purple berries. There is spice and undergrowth too. On the palate, Neiss Bockenheim has big fruit flavours but is light and delicate. There is a grapefruit acidity to the wine and the perfume flows across the palate with more juniper and roses.
On day four Neiss Bockenheim was still going strong. I am happy enough to drink mine now, however, if you held on to some for the medium term I think the evolution would be fascinating.
Weingut Neiss Bockenheim Spatburgunder Pfalz 2015, and all wines are eligible for at least 5% off any six bottles. And 10% off any 12 bottles. Some wines will be at a more significant discount and not subject to further discounts.
The 6th generation have taken over Weingut Neiss. The estate is based in Kinderheim high above the Rhine Plain. Their high-altitude, cool-climate and limestone soils allow them to make complex wines. Adding to this, the vines at Neiss were planted in the 1970s which allows them to make wines from mature vines.
Weingut Neiss Bockenheim Spatburgunder Pfalz 2015 Winery Notes
“The Bockenheimer vineyards with their vigorous vines extend high above the Rhine plain, up to 250 m above sea level. The prevailing “cool climate” in Bockenheim enables the grapes to ripen for a longer period and promotes the development of the character of our wines. The cool climate of the Northern Palatinate is accompanied by fresh air currents in autumn, which prove to be a further advantage for viticulture: they keep the grapes dry throughout their ripening period. The Bockenheimer floors are excellent moisture and heat stores. This, and the high proportion of lime, is the origin of the strong minerality of the wines. The climatic and geological growth conditions in Bockenheim are therefore more than favorable for the vines of our local wines.”
When you think of the wines of Germany, most likely, you will think of the off-dry Rieslings of the Mosel. And with great reason too. They are delicious. But Germany has many regions and styles. Sure Riesling is the king of the quality wines. But the further south you go, the more you can find Spatburgunder. Or, as we know it, Pinot Noir. Carried there by the same monks who planted out Burgundy. The Pinot Noir in recent history has improved out of sight.
Situated on the Rhine River, Pfalz is often not mentioned in the same breath as Rheingau, Alsace or Wachau for great Riesling. Yet the dry Riesling from this region lacks nothing when it comes to powerful, structural and complex dry Riesling. This is where to go for great value Riesling that will age for the long-term.
Pinot Noir is the most elusive grape. It is relatively early ripening and extremely sensitive to terroir. Its perfect place on earth is the Cote d’Or in Burgundy. So haunting are great red Burgundy’s charms that growers everywhere try to emulate them. Pinot Noir is not just a one-trick pony. Apart from the best reds in the world, you can find world-class Pinot Noir rosé, sparkling. You can even find sweet wines, whites on occasion and I’ve tasted a decent fortified Pinot Noir too.
Wine is the result you get from fermented grape juice. There is proof of wine production dating back 8000 years ago. Fashions, innovations and many other factors have influenced the way wine has evolved over the years.
The wine grape is impressive. It contains everything you need to make grape wine except for the yeast, which lives on the outside of the skins.
Human inputs can influence the final product, including the viticulture (growing) choices. And the winemaker can shape the wine to a point too.
The best wines of the world often refer to terroir. Terroir is a French term that refers to all the climatic, geological and topographical influences on a specific piece of land. And it is true that neighbouring vineyards, grown identically, can taste noticeably different.
Fun fact; most of the colour for wines comes from the skins. There are only a handful of grapes that have red juice. Alicante is the most well known of these grapes.
By macerating the juice on the skins, the wine gains tannins, and flavours. Certain compounds change the chemistry of the wine too.
Red wines tend to have higher alcohol. More tannin and more oak flavours compared to other styles of wine. But the thousands of grapes and terroirs they grow in influence this.
The Wine Depository
I, Phil, have been running The Wine Depository since 2011. The Wine Depository exists to make sure you are drinking the good wines. You can browse and pick what is interesting to you. Or you can make contact with me. I’ll make sure you get what you want, to your palate, to your budget and to your door.