2016 Falkenstein Niedermenniger Sonnenberg Red Wine Trocken
Region: Saar Valley < Germany
Grape: Pinot Noir
Vineyard/cellar stats: Organic farming; single vineyard on gray slate soils; whole cluster pressed with partial carbonic maceration; aged in used Fuder (1,000L barrels); bottled unfined/unfiltered with zero added So2; zero-zero; 12.5% ABV
Winemaker: Erich Weber
Erich Weber, who makes ultra-traditional dry Rieslings and a few oddballs like this PN, likes to call himself Winzer Weber (Winzer is German for winegrower.) For him, the emphasis is on the work in his vineyards, where he spends most of his time, working by hand. This Spätburgunder, from the gray slate soils of their Sonnenberg vineyard, is a rare style - dry red wine that doesn’t go through malolactic fermentation (naturally, because the cellar is just too cold for ML to happen) and is never chaptalized (sugar added). Fermentation is partial whole cluster pressing and partial carbonic maceration, stems included, making a wine with the weight and texture of a Loire Valley red. But it is unmistakenly Pinot - sort of like old-school Burgundy with a prickly pop. Fresh, tart and willowy, with bushels of crunchy red fruits--wild strawberries, sour cherries, red currants, cranberries, raspberry seeds -- plus minerality and a touch of cloves. You don't see many German reds crossing the pond, as Germans themselves tend to hog them, but trust me, this is a gorgeous wine. Pinot lovers -- you need this! SERVE SLIGHTLY CHILLED.