Messmer Pinot Noir 2009

 

I love German Pinot Noir. They generally have an earthy, smoky, deep forest disposition to them that I can’t get enough of, and unfortunately are also usually difficult to find on wine shop shelves in the States. Curiously I found Messmer Pinot Noir 2009 first at one of my favourite small boutique shops, then again at my local warehouse type wine shop a few months later. The Messmer estate was established over 50 years ago when Herbert and Elizabeth Messmer purchased land in the Palatinate region of southwest Germany on the slopes of the Rhine Valley, an area the Romans called “Gods own wine cellar”. Today their son Gregory heads the estate with the philosophy “we harvest what we sow” and his wines are renowned for their “clarity and specificity”.  The vineyards are organically farmed, no chemicals of any type are used, and the grapes are hand selected and harvested with reduced yields.

 

Transparent ruby with brick edges, after decanting aromas of dried strawberry, autumn leaves and hints of cherry swirled about in the glass. Blackberry and tart cherry joined subtle leather elements in the light to medium body, whilst smooth tannins, white peppercorn and earth notes comprised the agile finish.  Silky smooth with bright, tart fruits and an earthy foundation, this is a polished glass fantastic at the table.

 

100% Pinot Noir

Pfalz
Germany
Estate Bottled
12.5% Alcohol
$17
Enjoy now thru 2014

Leonard Kreusch Pinot Noir 2009

After my introduction to German Pinot Noir [Spätburgunder] I‘ve become obsessed with tracking more down. Unfortunately, even specialty wine shops in NYC don’t generally carry them in their inventory. To be fair, most people love German Rieslings but are skeptical or just totally unfamiliar with the fantastic reds that are produced there. Although perhaps the most significant blockade to importing German reds to America is that the German demand for their own Pinot Noir is so high that producers can sell out their entire inventory at the prices they want right at home. So when one of our best friends decided he wanted to go to a German Biergarten to celebrate his birthday with a humongous boot of beer, I enthusiastically kept my fingers crossed that they would have a German Pinot Noir behind the bar. It did not escape my attention that the Australian bartender thought my level of exuberance odd when I spotted Leonard Kreusch Pinot Noir 2009 on the menu. I wasn’t able to scout out many details, other than the grapes were sourced from the family estate on the Mosel River and that Leonard Kreusch is both the bottler and the importer.

Translucent brick garnet in colour, aromas of cherry blossoms and wisps of campfire smoke rose alluringly from my glass.  Fruity cherry with hints of strawberry harmonized with the fresh mineralty and stone elements in the light-medium body. A bright acidity contrasted and highlighted the brief yet satisfying finish with its rich, woodsy notes of lingering apple-wood campfire smoke.  Smooth and smoky yet bright and fruity, it’s yet another captivating glass that keeps me on the quest for ever elusive German reds.
Pete with his birthday boot and my husband
with eine mass
100% Spätburgunder [Pinot Noir]

Rheingau
Germany
Bottled and Shipped by Leonard Kreusch GMBH & Co
12% Alcohol
$9 [by the glass]
Enjoy now thru 2014

Messer Spätburgunder Trocken 2005

As a follow up to the vibrant Broadside Cabernet Sauvignon, my cousin poured a glass of Messer Spätburgunder Trocken 2005 to accompany dinner. This is not a bottle they usually offer; it had been special ordered from the distributer as it was requested for an event they had hosted. Spätburgunder translates to “Late Burgundian” and is what Pinot Noir is called in Germany. Although bottles are rarely exported, it is the most widely planted red grape in Germany. I considered myself quite lucky to have an uncustomary bottle in front of me, and my enthusiasm only heightened when my cousin’s description included the phrase “subtle undertones of decomposing woodland nymph”.
 
Translucent cranberry garnet in colour, rich earthy aromas of forest and wet leaves rose from the glass. Traces of cherry and lavender intermingled with damp earth and mushrooms in the medium body. My Thai potstickers highlighted the earthy mushroom, adding a truffle like complexity to the velvety smoothness. The finish consisted of wispy layers of smoke and woodsy oaky elements that moved into a contrasting bright, fruity strawberry essence. Delicate yet rich, smoky and earthy yet clean and fruity, each sip was a juxtaposition of pleasing opposites that fashioned quite the engaging glass.
 
100% Spätburgunder [Pinot Noir]
Pfalz
Germany
Estate Bottled
13% Alcohol
$20 [average price]
Enjoy now thru 2013