2013 Meyer-Näkel Sonnenberg Pinot Noir Grosses Gewächs Ahr

SKU #1270829 Jancis Robinson

 Seven months ago I was a little overwhelmed by the barrique notes, but a substantial transformation has already taken place, leaving more room for fruit and a softening of the texture. Blackberries and even a note of cassis are beginning to emerge from the oaky veil, the tannins are in a slightly more harmonious mood than last year. Sound acidity adds to a firm structure, which promises to take the Sonnenberg to its peak in about three years’ time. 17.5/20 points. (MS)  (4/2016)

K&L Notes

Meyer-Näkel has gotten noticed again in recent years with their entry-level wines introducing Pinot Noir fans to Germany's specialty Pinot region of the Ahr. But the estate originally became famous in the 1990s not for their entry-level Spätburgunders, but for their finest classified vineyard bottlings like this one. Sonnenberg is the warmest of Meyer-Näkel's three classified vineyard sites... they hold 3 acres on the site which rises at a 30% slope comprised of loess topsoil over slate. The sun exposure creates a warm microclimate at this extreme latitude, and the wine is particularly refined and demanding of age.

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Price: $77.99
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Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.


- Thanks to a recent string of excellent vintages and to the reemergence of Germany onto the international wine writing scene, this is a country that's hot, hot, hot! Germany is divided into 13 wine Region and produces a very wide variety of wine styles, from incredibly high-acid, dry wines to some of the sweetest, most unctuous concoctions on the planet and even a few surprisingly hearty reds. Most of the highest-quality wines are grown on steep banks along the rivers in these Region. Small vineyards are still mostly hand tended and picked, due to the difficult nature of mechanization on these slopes. White wine production accounts for nearly 80% of the total with Riesling being the most important varietal, though Muller-Thurgau is still more widely planted. Click for a list of bestselling items from Germany.