TN: The seduction and disappointment in German Spätburgunders

Thanks Otto, really interesting, detailed, and honest posting. I visited the Baden region a couple of years ago, curious about German Pinot Noir/Spatburgunder. Tasted at a bunch of producers, and my overall impressions were similar to yours. Highly varying quality, with some pretty good wines mixed in with many oddities. Often the most expensive option was not the best, as you noted. Among my favorites were Schlumberger, Bercher, R&C Schneider and Johner.

My key takeaway was that, while there were few to no standouts that would replace Pinots that I love from other regions, there were many attractive wines here that were extremely affordably priced. Most wines I liked were under €30, indeed under €20. There are almost no Pinots in that price range from the US or France that I’ve tried that can compete with the quality and diversity I saw. Distribution might be an issue but if you live in Europe and want a sub €20 daily drinking Pinot you would have a lot of decent options from Germany.

I’d also note that it’s really fun to try all the non-Pinot varietals that these producers work with. Many intriguing and tasty white wines at low prices come from the region. And the tasting culture is excellent - small groups, usually with the wine-maker owner, in very casual settings.

Great write up!
My first experiences with Spätburgunder was exactly the same. Over extracted and over oaked. The first good one i had a few years back was that exact Thorle which I found on sale in my local supermarket. I knew nothing about it back then. Was a real surprise.

And i must admit that i am a fan of Enderle & Moll. I have tasted the Liaison since the 2014 vintage. What i learned is that they are best in warm vintages. 2015 and 2018 are great! And somehow they also seem less funky in those vintages (though there is always a funky edge to them). I have quite a few of their top wines in my cellar sleeping.

My favorite german Spätburgunder is Wasenhaus though. For me that’s just amazing wine.

Julia Bertram, now working under the name Bertram-Baltes with her husband, also makes some very good Spätburgunder.

Didn’t see Josef Walter on the list of wines you tried, what are your thoughts on those wines if you’ve had them? I bought some from Fass and thus far they’ve been my favorite spätburgunder producer he imports to the U.S. (though I haven’t tried Thorle yet).

Fantastic write up as always Otto. Unfortunate on the overall showing; still informative. Enjoyed reading about the highs of it, then damn there were some lows. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you smite something with a score as low as a 67 before. Area 51 must have been a dumpster fire.

Otto isn’t American so he uses real scoring.

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Tend to agree, he uses it better than most.

Totally agree. I visited Thörle last year and liked everything from Gutswein up to the Lagenwein level. Prices have gone up (€29.00 for the Einzellagen) but they are still a bargain. And the Saulheimer Riesling/Silvaner/Spätburgunder Kalkstein at €12.50 - they are all screaming deals!
Regarding Enderle & Moll - I find your note similar to my impressions. I score them a point or two higher though!
As for the German clones, a couple of thoughts…one is when tasting last year in Ingelheim I ran across the Neus clone from Weingut Neus. I found it very intriguing and powerful, and interesting on the palate despite the obvious oak. Secondly, Frühburgunder! I luv luv luv these lipsmacking, early drinking mutants. They deserve a thread of their own.

Briliant write up, and a couple of real beautes here. The Violette I have had twice now and I think I rate it slightly higher than you. Great stuff.

Also another favorite producer of mine JB Becker does wonderful work with Pinot, worth seeking out for my money. Classical style and matching some of the best coming out of burgundy (chambolle-musigny and almost clone like) at a much friendlier price point!

Agree on JB Becker especially in ripe vintages. The 2015s are great. I won a mag of the legendary 1988 in the Winzer charity auction that I am extremely excited to try.

I’ll have to give my 2015’s a try soon, worth checking already or too soon? Have a case of the wallufer walkenberg spatlese alte reven and auslese trockens pinots ticking away. Side note, for all of JB Becker’s classical style of winemaking, love that they are embracing vinolok closures in their bottles (contentious opinion, I know!).

Thanks Otto. Very fine notes
I have had a lot of great Spätburgunder but never tried the ones you list
My fav is Keller Frauenberg

Thank you Otto - impressive notes! I’ve had the 2012 Furst Centgrafenberg twice over the past few years, and it was quite impressive both times.

Von Winning is probably my favorite producer in the Pfalz these days, but I have not had the Violette - will have to track it down.

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