What's good for the goose - Pinot Noir wines of Germany

by Alan Kingsbury - Monday December 12, 2016 1:12 pm

Choosing the right wine to accompany the Christmas poultry is an art in itself. Alan considers the merits of Germany's lesser known Pinot Noir reds.

While heavy, concentrated red wines may be well suited to winter casseroles, the poultry brought ceremoniously to the Christmas table will benefit from a wine that has some restraint, subtlety and a fruit spectrum that does not overpower the poor bird.

An answer may be found in the Pinot Noirs of Germany whose characteristics are well suited and whose prices are more affordable than their Burgundian counterparts.

For a classic roast turkey with all the trimmings, Johann Wolf Pinot Noir 2014 (Waitrose £9.99) is a joyously moreish red from the balmy and abundant Pfalz region.

Suffused with appealing strawberry aromas, it's a pale and light bodied wine, attractive on the palate with appealing, sweetish fruit complimented by fine, dry tannins and a smoky depth.

The style of these Pinot Noirs can vary according to the degree of barrel ageing used by the winemaker.

Hans Lang Pinot Noir 2012 (Virgin Wines £15.99) with its deep, black cherry palate tinged with wood and tarry notes, is a wine that proudly announces its barrique maturation.

Hans Lang is based in the celebrated Rheingau region and a member of the elite VDP association of top producers.

This wine will suit the taste for richer flavours and perhaps the choice of pheasant or duck confit.  

And what for the goose? It seems to be a popular choice for the individualist this Christmas.

For this we reserve our favourite German Pinot Noir discovery of the year, Steitz Spätburgunder 2012 (£23 The Wine Parlour).   

Give this gem a good long session in the decanter and it rewards the wait with a complex and eclectic bouquet of cassis, rose petal and a reminiscence of sherry cask.

The distinctive palate is worth savouring to the last drop, delighting as it does in dark red fruits marinated in flavours of blood-orange and dried apricot; while the ultra-fine tannins are an essay in finesse.

It's no wonder that this has been listed as one of the Wines of Germany top fifty wines.

The revelation of German Pinot Noirs is that they can combine reassuring quality with unexpected individuality; and maybe that's the simple magic that a good Christmas dinner requires.

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