Villa Wolf Pinot Noir, Germany - February 2018 Wine of the Month
Of all the misconceptions about wine, none is perhaps harder to shift than that all German wines are sweet (or off-dry, at least). Yet some of Germany's best whites and all of its reds – yes, it makes red wine, too – are completely dry. You won't find them in the cooler Mosel, but in more southerly regions such as the Rheinhessen and Pfalz who now produce some excellent wines.
This month we present to you a winemaker who is pulling out the stops to offer exceptionally affordable, classic German wines which are modern, dry, fresh, brimming with fruit, and certain to put Germany firmly back on the map as an excellent wine producing country.
About Villa Wolf
Founded in 1756, in the Pfalz region of Germany, the J.L. Wolf estate (now called Villa Wolf) was a successful and highly regarded winery for more than two centuries. It entered an especially glamorous era with the construction of its Italianate estate house and villa in 1843.
In the latter years of the 20th century, however, the estate languished, lacking a firm hand to guide its wine production. Fortunately however, Ernst Loosen, of the Dr. Loosen estate, took over the vineyards in 1996, launching a dramatic turnaround in the estate’s quality and reputation.
The goal at Villa Wolf is to produce wines that express the pure, authentic terroir of the Pfalz, whilst being affordable.
The Pfalz region also has a long tradition with other grape varieties, allowing Ernst and his team to expand their winemaking palette to include Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Gewürztraminer and Dornfelder.
The Pflaz Region
The Pfalz (aka ‘the Palatinate’) is the wine growing area that lies between the Haardt Mountains and the Rhine River in southwest Germany, directly north of France’s Alsace region. As in Alsace, the mountains protect the area from cold and wet Atlantic weather, making it one of the warmer and drier areas of Germany.
Because of this unusually warm and dry climate, surprising things, such as almonds, figs and lemons are grown in this region, which is known to tourists as “the Tuscany of Germany.” Naturally, wine grapes also do quite well here where it is possible to achieve full ripeness in every vintage.
The predominant soil type in this area is a well-drained, weathered sandstone. It produces wines with a fruit-driven purity and a stony structure.
Villa Wolf Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir has a long tradition in the Pfalz region, where it is known as Spätburgunder. Villa Wolf Pinot Noir is warm and medium-bodied, with a firm acid structure. Its bright black-cherry fruit is juicy, ripe, and forward, with a spicy midpalate. Twelve months of aging in used barriques gives the wine a smoky depth and a nice touch of earthy tannins. At 12.5% ABV, it’s an excellent, approachable red wine for everyday drinking, and is an ideal match for roasted lamb, smoked salmon, and game such as pheasant.