Whose Pfalz is it anyway? Winemakers Von Buhl & Becker this WNW!
This week we are so excited to have not one, but TWO winemakers in store! These two winemakers are from one of our very favorite wine regions in Germany, the Pfalz (Faltz) region. Fritz Becker, Winemaker for Becker and Richard Grosche, Winemaker for Von Buhl are two winemakers for the modern age. We are only able to taste four wines, however there will be six wines from you to choose from? But first, Whos Pfalz is it anyway?
The Pfalz is a narrow stretch of land just 9 miles wide that extends peacefully through a gentle landscape of budding vineyards, fertile orchards and picturesque, half-timbered villages. It is the second largest German wine region by growing area and only topped by Rheinhessen, which it borders to the north. From there, the Pfalz stretches to the French border 53 miles to the south and borders the French wine growing region of Alsace. Near the French city of Wissembourg, some vineyards even reach across the border into France. To the west, it is sheltered by the uplands of the Pfälzerwald, which protect it from cold winds and heavy rainfalls. To the east, it is bordered by the lowlands of the Rhine River. It is a beautiful, idyllic landscape that reaches a ratio of grapevines to people of 600:1. Before the phylloxera epidemic erased many of the vines in the Pfalz at the end of the 19th century, wines from here were among the most expensive and most highly prized in the world. Riesling from the Pfalz was served at important international events, including the opening ceremony of the Suez Canal in 1869.
The Pfalz benefits from almost perfect conditions for viticulture and is one of the warmest German wine growing regions with around 1,800 hours of sunshine per year. Summers are dry, but not too hot, and winters tend to be mild, creating near-Mediterranean microclimates. The climate is mild enough for almonds and other warmer weather plants to thrive. Riesling is by far the most important white wine grape and continues to grow in importance. In 2008, the Pfalz became the largest Riesling growing area in the world with almost 5,500 hectares of plantings. While Riesling plays a dominant role throughout the Pfalz, the southern Pfalz has also distinguished itself with its Pinot varietals. The warmer climate and deep loess-loam soils are conducive to Pinot Blanc (Weißburgunder), Pinot Gris (Grauburgunder) and Pinot Noir (Spätburgunder). Almost 40% of the growing area is planted with red vines, making the Pfalz Germany’s largest red wine region. Today, the Pfalz is highly regarded for its red wines and, each year, its vintners are among the recipients of the German Red Wine Prize. The most widely planted red wine grape is Dornfelder, followed by Pinot Noir.
Newcomer of the Year in 2006 and for eight of the last nine years the estate produced Germany’s top Pinot Noir as chosen by Gault-Millau. For many years now, the Becker estate located in Schweigen, very far south of the Pfalz on the border of Alsace, has been one of the top Pinot Noir producers in Germany. The best Becker Pinot Noirs compare favorably with the best Burgundy has to offer. In 1973 when Fritz Sr. took over the estate from his father, he stopped selling grapes to the local co-op and started bottling and selling his own wines. He was also one of the first that independently, but in parallel with Dr. Heger, Fürst and Meyer-Näkel, started using barriques for his Pinots Almost 70% of their vineyards are located in Alsace. The fruit for their Grosses Gewächs Pinot Noirs comes from two great sites: the Kammerberg, a steep single vineyard near Wissembourg was recovered by Fritz Sr. in 1966. The old vines with mostly German clones and some French grow on deep marl lime soils that produce powerful but also refined, mineral driven Pinot Noirs (it is all about the dirt here!); the other Grand Cru is the St. Paul cultivated in the 14th century by the Cistercians of Wissembourg. From the 28 ha the Beckers produce over 12,000 cases annually. Plantings are 60% Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, 22% Riesling, and the remaining 18% includes Silvaner, Gewürztraminer and Muskateller.
2013 Becker Pinot Noir Dry :: $24 sale $21.50
Some of the fruit for this Estate Pinot Noir is from the estates top Grosses Gewächs vineyards. The chalky limestone yields supple flavors of black cherry fruit, baked rhubarb, and blueberry on palate. There’s a velvety finesse, which yields to aromatic violets and lavender, freshly picked tarragon, cola and bitter dark chocolate.
2011 Becker Cuvee Guillaume :: $25 sale $22
A wonderful red wine cuvee consisting of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 25% Dornfelder with Traces of Pinot Pinot Meunier and Portugieser. Good richness and persistence on the palate, expressing dark fruit especially Black berries. Great value, works with fatty cuts of meat as in Steak.
2016 Becker Pinot Gris Dry :: $22 sale $19
Loads of lovely minerality encompass a round fruit texture that is biting, succulent and pervasive.
Founded in 1849, Reichsrat von Buhl is located in Deidesheim, Germany. The estate is owned by the Niederberger family, but has been leased to a Japanese operating company since 1989. The team is comprised of estate manager Stefan Weber, winemaker Michael Leibrecht and vineyard manager Werner Sebastian. The estate owns 153 acres of organic vineyards in the Pfalz region. Riesling (88%) and Pinot Noir (8%) are the primary varietals planted, with lesser amounts of Scheurebe, Rieslaner and Sauvignon Blanc. The Reiterpfad Vineyard in Ruppertsberg is comprised of sandstone and calcaire soils and Paradiesgarten Vineyard in Deidesheim is planted on red clay and yellow sandstone. In Forst, the estate has significant holdings in the Grand Cru vineyards of Kirchenstuck Pechstein, Ungeheuer and Jesuitengarten, which are all planted on soils comprised of clay, basalt, limestone and sandstone.
2015 von Buhl Riesling Sekt Brut :: $38 SALE $33
Fruity, light and with a citrus fragrance, Riesling Sekt Brut is the perfect opening to any celebration. The fruit aromas are caressed by a fine yeast bouquet, reminiscent of freshly baked bread. Suppleness, fruit and spirit are brought together on the palate.
2016 von Buhl Riesling BONE DRY :: $18 SALE $15
This is a fresh, zesty, palate cleansing Riesling that wildly drinkable and refreshing – perfect for summer sipping.
2014 von Buhl Riesling Kabinett “Armand” :: $24 SALE $21.50
A blend of 100%Riesling Grapes from the best vineyards in the Mielhaardt area. is elegant Riesling is characterized by good structure, a rare racy acidity and fine fruit. The wine shows an intense minerality with a very long finish.
We start sippin’ and tastin’ at 4pm. Hope you can make it! Tag your pics #pickitupatpearl and #Neverabadbottle so we can CHEERS!
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