The quality of German Pinot Noir is rising to levels where they do not have to fear comparisons even with Burgundy. If you are curious to taste some of the great examples, I’ve found one for you to get started with.
Happy New Year!
It’s January and you have guessed rightfully from the title of this post. I am safely cancelling Dry January this year (and possibly forever).
With that, I had no regrets opening a bottle of Weinolsheimer Kehr Pinot Noir ‘Julius’.
Especially since it was the perfect match for a delicious plate of beetroot spaghetti that I made last night to commemorate National Spaghetti Day. Celebrated annually on January 4th, I know I am a bit early but really, who cares? After all, isn’t every day good for pasta (and thus spaghetti)?
But first, back to the wine. The Manz Pinot Noir Julius Kehr is an excellent example for the new quality of Pinot Noir made in Germany.
As local winemakers are embracing the changing conditions caused by climate change, with warmer summers and milder winters, Pinot Noir is now the third most planed grape variety in Germany. In fact, growing conditions are perfect. Longer and warmer summers allow the grapes to reach their full ripeness while the wine benefits from Germany still being a cool climate wine region, allowing it to develop a perfect balance.
The result are complex, elegant reds that are bold in fruit and tannins. And with prices of red Burgundy wines getting out of control, it’s time to start looking for the excellent alternatives coming out of Germany.
About Weingut Manz
The Manz story began in 1725 and today the winery is led by the 9th generation of the Manz family. With the 10th already around as well.
Located in Weinolsheim, one of the many small wine towns in Germany’s largest winegrowing region Rheinhessen, the estate is not just one of the best in the area but is frequently lauded as one of the best in Germany. As underlined by an impressive list of awards.
With approximately 25 hectares under vine, like so many wine estates in Germany, Weingut Manz excels particularly in Riesling. But the love for red wine at Manz winery is growing too, and so is the understanding how to best master the process of maturing wine in barrique barrels. With several excellent Pinot Noir (Späteburgunder) and Cuvées now coming out of the Manz cellar.
Tasting Notes: Weinolsheimer Kehr Pinot Noir Julius
This limited edition is made from grapes hand-picked at the prestigious Weinolsheimer Kehr vineyard, one of the most traditional vineyards of the area.
Vines have been grown in this area already during Roman times. Protected by the mountains in the west, limited rainfall along with warm summers and mild winters guarantee an excellent quality of the grapes.
Weinolsheimer Kehr Pinot Noir is made from 100% Pinot Noir and matured 12 months in barrique. More precisely, in the ‘Julius’ barrel, which is named after winemaker Eric Manz’ son Julius.
In the glass, a dark red with violet hues and brown pigments.
On the nose, multi-facetted with aromas of red forest berries and pinecones, bitter chocolate, and cloves. Followed by aromas of tea, raisin, moss, tree bark, and scrub.
On the palate, pleasantly dry, fresh, and complex. Elegant acidity and velvety tannins with flavours of wild berries and pepper. Perfect balance.
Weinolsheimer Kehr Pinot Noir Julius pairs well with red meat and venison, stuffed peppers, or vegetable cuscus with meatballs.
Perhaps a less usual pairing, but the berry and slightly earthy flavours of the wine are a great match with the rich, earthy, and slightly sweet flavour of beetroot.
Recipe: Beetroot Spaghetti
After all the food during the holiday season, January calls for easy, quick dishes made with a minimum of time spend in the kitchen.
If you follow my blog, you might remember my homemade beetroot ravioli, with pasta dough made from scratch. Now you could obviously make red-tinged spaghetti in a similar fashion at home – but the good news is, you don’t have to.
To obtain the bright pinkish-red colouring and the distinctive, slightly sweet taste of beetroot, you don’t need to go to the great length making your own pasta. Especially as making spaghetti from scratch is quite another level compared to ravioli.
I’ve made the beetroot spaghetti using store-bought spaghetti, which makes it a quick and straightforward recipe, perfect for a nice weekday dinner. Or as a starter for the weekend.
400 g spaghetti
3 medium sized fresh beetroots (alternatively, pre-cooked beetroots)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
100 g ricotta
1 small onion, finely chopped.
100 ml beetroot juice
5-6 stalks of dill
30 g walnuts, roughly chopped
50 g parmesan, freshly grated
When using fresh beetroots, add beets to a large saucepan. Cover with abundant water and bring to a boil. Cook the beetroots until tender (for about 50 minutes). Make sure they will be covered by water the whole time. Add more water if it drops too low. The beetroots will be ready when you can slide a knife into the centre with ease.
Set aside to cool, then rub off the skin and roughly cut into pieces.
Cook the spaghetti in a saucepan with abundant salted water according to instructions.
Meanwhile, transfer beetroots to a blender. Add one tablespoon olive oil, lemon juice and 50 ml beetroot juice. Blend until smooth. Stir in the ricotta until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Fry the onion until translucent. Reduce heat. Add 50 ml of beetroot juice, then add the beetroot-ricotta puree. Heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously.
Drain spaghetti, add to the skillet and toss until well covered with the puree.
Serve topped with the walnuts, dill, and freshly grated parmesan.