Christy Canterbury MW

Location: New York, NY

Master of Wine. Wine judge+public speaker. Journalist for Snooth+Decanter+TimAtkin.com+Beverage Media+SOMM Journal+Civiltà del Bere+others. Short-listed for the 2014 Roederer Online Communicator of the Year Award. Incorrigible traveler!

Deutschland Pinot Noir

I'm a huge fan of Pinot Noir, especially when it comes from a cool climate. Germany has both, and Germans often call Pinot Noir Spätburgunder.

Rank Wine Rating Price
1 Rebholz Pinot Noir Tradition Spätlese (2009)
Comments: This wine shows great fruit purity with broad brush strokes of black fruit, especially blackberry and black cherry. Not surprisingly, this Pinot Noir shows its world-wide signature of sophisticated and round tannins alongside its bright acidity. The judiciously ripe fruit can support the pronounced oak. Luckily, there is a nice balance of savory and mineral tones, too. Medium finish.
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2 Raumland Brut Blanc de Noir 'Cuvee Marie-Luise' (2004)
Comments: Red currant fruit and floral top notes jump out of the glass. Toasty bread and toasted hazelnuts follow on the palate. There is a caressing softness on the palate that suggests initially a nice pop of dosage, but it's only about 8 grams.This is an impressive Pinot Noir bubbly that is awfully close to Champagne in its minerality and in the finesse of its mousse. Happily, it's price point is a fair bit lower. Prost!
Average price: $29.99 from 1 store
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3 Jean Stodden Herrenberg Spätburgunder Grosses Gewächs (2009)
Comments: Overall, a correct Pinot Noir with plenty of crunch red fruit and damp forest floor. Tasted beside several other top notch Pinot Noir, the green undertones of this wine become more distracting. Moderate minus finish.
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4 Meyer-Näkel Neuenahrer Sonnenberg Spätburgunder (2009)
Comments: Not lacking an ounce of ambition, this Spätburgunder shows generously ripe fruit and a rather dense mid-palate. It's also quite oaky, but this could settle out in the mix with more time in the bottle as there is sufficient barnyard, game and Bing cherries to work around. Medium plus finish.
Previously available for $58.39
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5 Nelles Spätburgunder 1479n Ruber (2009)
Comments: A truly complete Pinot Noir, Nelles hit it spot on in 2009. The wine is replete with cherries, black plums, cigar locker and spice. Mid-weight on the palate, the acidity is mouth-watering and the tannins are silky and svelte. Seamlessly integrated oak and a lingering aftertaste.
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6 Elke Pinot Noir Pfalz (2008)
Comments: This is a lovely, satisfying, value-driven, varietally-correct Pinot Noir. It is not in the same quality field of the other wines I mention. And, that's just fine. Because this wine is 1/3 to 1/4 the price of the others. This is an easy-drinking, moderate-bodied wine with no new oak and perfect ripeness. Overall I give it 3 glasses, but for the value, it deserves 5! (THIS is why you have to read the notes with the numbers, stars, glasses, etc.)
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7 Hessische Staatsweinguter Kloster Eberbach Assmannshauser Hollenberg Spatburgunder Rheingau (2010)
Comments: This wine's pale ruby color is more akin to rosé than red, but that is never bad in Pinot Noir. The nose is restrained, offering notes of embers, forest floor, black cherry, baked mulberry and even blueberry. Overall, a pretty wine with no obvious new oak. The acidity is bright, but it doesn't help the short finish last much longer. Drink now to four years.
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8 Hessische Staatsweinguter Kloster Eberbach Assmannshauser Hollenberg Aus Dem Cabinetkeller Mauerwein Spatburgunder (2010)
Comments: Deep ruby color with greater fruit emphasis on the nose than the "basic" cuvée. Red currants, red and black cherries, mulberries and forest floor aromas are abundant. The acidity is lifted and both the structure and aromatic profile are classic and Old World.
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9 Weingut Robert Konig Spätburgunder Auslese Trocken Assmannshäuser Frankenthal (2011)
Comments: Moderate ruby red with a large paler ruby rim, this wine just misses the mark. Aromas favor sweetened whipped cream, macerating ripe red plums and pomegranate sorbet. The new oak is evident and just a bit much. However, the moderate tannins and easy acidity blend in well. The medium finish shows there's good substance here, so I'll be on watch for future vintages.
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10 Diefenhardt'Sches Martinsthaler Wildsau Spatburgunder Erstes Gewachs (2009)
Comments: Brilliant deep ruby in color, this wine possesses perfect ripeness for its structure. The aromas are rich - black cherries, crackling fireplace logs, charcoal grill pit. Vanilla appears on the palate, but this flavor melds rather well with the wine's ripeness. The finish is solidly medium. A wine to hold for 3-4 years before drinking again.
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