Here’s something you don’t see in Australia very often… Spätburgunder from the Ahr! Heart & Soil has picked up the Jean Stodden wines and staged a little pre-arrival tasting at their office last week. These will be available in very small quantities.
Alexander Stodden could rightfully be considered one of the most sensitive interpreters of the Pinot Noir grape in Germany. This was my first time tasting the wines and I was delighted by what I was shown.
These wines are harvested from very steep slopes around the village of Rech, in the western Ahr. The propagation of Spätburgunder/Pinot Noir has a long history here but sadly, due to economic pressures, the region has shrunk over time and now only some 548 hectares are planted with vines. This special region is actually further north than the Mosel, but the combination of steep slopes and a little warmth from the river creates a fairly consistent climate for grape growing. The early ripening Frühburgunder is also an important grape variety around the Ahr.
Alexander picks his best fruit from an ungrafted portion of the Recher Herrenberg. You find greywacke amongst the loess and loess-loam in this very well exposed site. Not all growers here benefit from such choice parcels of land.
I think that the appearance of this wine will make an immediate impression on most tasters. It’s a brilliant, very translucent garnet that promises a pure and filigreed Pinot Noir… and it delivers. Sweet fruited, floral and as fine as quality China but in no way as brittle. What a wonderful start to the line up. Aged in 1000 litre barrels.
2015 Spätburgunder ‘JS’
A little more power here, but not too much… deeper colour, for sure. This shows a more savoury tone than the previous wine. Barrique ageing does it’s work here. Firmer tannin structure and greater concentration.
2014 Spätburgunder Recher Herrenberg
Offers all of the sex appeal of great Volnay, if I may be so bold. It’s a very elegant and seductive wine that comes wrapped up in a tight crimson dress. The full spectrum of sweet forest fruit, undergrowth and rose petals is on exhibit here. Really fine. I have to add that it was my favourite wine on show.
2016 Spätburgunder Recher Herrenberg
Unfortunately this had fallen victim to it’s closure… looking through the TCA, the quality was very apparent.
2015 Spätburgunder Recher Herrenberg GG
This wine spent 19 months in new oak, it gives a certain element of polish and ‘flash’ but it’s certainly not a monster. In fact, it’s amongst the most refined GG Spätburgunder available. Really poised, fleshy, bright and very long.
2016 Spätburgnunder Alte Reben
From old (60 plus) year old vines in the Recher Herrenberg. It’s a dense wine with a chewy tannin structure. It holds the 100% new oak well. There’s no denying the quality of fruit here… but it deserves a few more years allowance to shed some weight and let the fruit speak. Otherwise, it’s powerful, evocative and really delicious.