Apparently today is Pinot Noir Day

… except of course, we can’t call it that. That’s too boring for Pinot Noir since the main promoters of this are in Australia, New Zealand and the US West Coast … so it is a #PinotSmackdown instead.

I can’t say that I have ever knowingly participated in a “smack down” before, and I think I’d walk away from anyone who’d offer to start one normally, but this is about wine, not fighting, right?

So, to assuage my guilt in promoting the trend, I have decided to do what I can to twist things around a bit. This isn’t a Pinot Noir street fight. It is more of a spat … or in my case, a Spät (pronounced “spayt“) for Spätburgunder

Their representative is Pinot Noir. It doesn’t sound very scary. Sure, they added “Noir” to make it sound dangerous and impressive, but “Pinot” is a”friendly” name – it is Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc, … event Pinot Meunier which you may have seen on Champagne labels.

MY champion goes by the impressive name of Spätburgunder, which is really just German for “late one from Burgundy”

I recall in my earliest wine tasting classes, about 15 or more years ago, hearing the old, worn and oft-repeated mantra of how “no-one else can grow Pinot Noir. It is just too fickle and is only at home in Burgundy”. Even then it sounded wrong.

Now you can easily find great Pinot Noir in Australia, New Zealand, California, Oregon, New York, Washington, … even Chile and South Africa. What escapes many wine lovers is that it can also be great in places like Italy, Austria, and Germany (and even more places, I’m sure). Better winemaking, plus more than a hint of climate change, means that it can come from a great many places, even where it may not have been good in the past.

So, to Germany.



This particular wine was made by a very good friend, Thomas Lippert, otherwise known as @winzerblog and one of Germany’s top wine bloggers. We met through the European Wine Bloggers Conference and although I have yet to visit Weingut Clauer where he makes his wines near Heidelberg, I feel like I know him well.

You need to check out this 2 minute video he made for a tasting of mine:

He, very graciously, sent me some wines to try some time ago, and I saved this particular red wine for a special occasion.

German wine drinker’s have discovered local red wines, and so they are all drunk in Germany and very little gets sold abroad. That is one of the main reasons you, dear UK and US wine lover, have probably never tried one. However, try to find one.

I find German Pinot Noir to have a greater leathery character. It tastes older and more evolved than you expect it to be. This wine from 2005 had all the lovely red berry fruit of pinot noir, but also hints of wilder berries, and even blueberries. But it is not just fruit flavours. It feels like this fruit has been wrapped in a tobacco leaf that should have been destined for a cigar, but was maybe deemed too fresh. The effect is still lively and crisp, but the use of oak and the dark character of the grapes, combine to make it feel warming and rich.

I paired it with a dish of duck breast and wild rice. A lovely, earthy combination.

I believe that my champion has acquited himself well in this confrontation with its cousins from around the world and I feel I chose wisely. I look forward to drinking more Pinot Noir from Germany in future and I hope you do too.

Thank you Thomas!