Wine of the week: an utter stunner from Germany

This German pinot noir balances resplendent mid-palate fruit density with a sonorous aroma and a cool, long finish.

2018 Spätburgunder ‘S’ Weingut Meyer-Näkel, Ahr, Germany £38.10,

Iris Ellmann runs The Wine Barn and she is a German wine dynamo. Her website features a collection of estates from all over the country, covering all styles and grape varieties, and I can highly recommend looking at it if you are curious to discover more about top-flight German wines. I attended a portfolio tasting of Iris’s wines the other day and came across this utter stunner.

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It is a beautiful pinot noir that won a mighty score in my notes. It manages to balance resplendent mid-palate fruit density with a sonorous aroma and cool, long finish. Germany is slowly becoming a force to reckon with in pinot noir and there are a good few world-class wines made there, but they tend to be fearfully expensive. Having said that, too many are still lean and foresty, so when buoyant, silky, exotically proportioned wine like this comes along, I sit up and pay attention. 

Meyer-Näkel is a pinot noir specialist and there are more expensive versions than my chosen ‘S’ cuvée in its portfolio. These Grand Cru wines load more oak onto their framework and I feel that this unbalances the whole and cramps their exuberance. This is why I love ‘S’ so much. With only 50% new barrels employed for 12 months, the oak merely seasons the ripe fruit and allows it to sing in the glass. This is a perfectly balanced pinot noir and represents great value for money.

• Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (




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