FT.com: "Germany is a hotbed of young wine talent"
When the voice of "the wine pope" sounds, the worldwide wine community listens intently:
In her latest FT.com column, Robinson is particularly impressed by the fact that wine producers from the 13 German wine-growing regions not only stick together in aid campaigns after natural disasters (Ahr region charities) but also help each other with ever new perspectives in exports.
A golden generation
Exemplary, she names the wine producers Klaus Peter (KP) and Julia Keller (G-Max, Riesling) in FT.com. Jancis Robinson describes how, at the request of their US importer Stephen Bitterolf, the two suggested other young and previously unknown winemakers ("the golden generation") in order to establish a new export package on the market - which was for the first time in 2020 offered and quickly sold out.* (see selection below).
Keller curates successful campaigns like this right through to the bottlers. According to Jancis Robinson, this attracts (besides others) the well-known UK importer Howard Ripley, who started a similar 6-pack campaign for the UK market. "I have the feeling that we are on the verge of a breakthrough," says Ripley employee Thomas Sebastian to Jancis Robinson: "(...) We take on new growers every year."
The red wine revolustion in Germany is real
The red wine revolution in Germany is real, Robinson continues to explain. "Warmer summers and fine woody notes have made the Germans serious rivals to red Burgundy." Spätburgunder, the German term for Pinot Noir, was planted on 11.3 percent of German vineyards in 2020, while it accounted for less than 7 percent in 1995.
"One of the young producers included in the US case was the talented Philipp Wöhrwag of Müller-Ruprecht in the Pfalz region, a hotbed of young wine talent," said Robinson. I recently met him at a tasting in London organized by Keeling Andrew (British import company behind restaurant and magazine 'Noble Rot'). Wöhrwag's Saumagen N Riesling 2019 was included in the "Keller"-selection sold in the US but was excluded from the UK case as its wines are now imported by Keeling Andrew. Nevertheless, he was full of praise for this initiative. "Intelligent thing," Wöhrwag says, according to Robinson.
Game changer in Exports
Howard Ripley employee Thomas Sebastian agrees. "It is indeed remarkable when one of the leading winemakers in the country pulls the younger generation along like that, even if he doesn't have any shares in the game." According to Jancis Robinson's findings, US importer Stephen Bitterolf adds: "If someone recommends fellow winemakers out of deepest conviction, this triggers game changing effects. Klaus Peter Keller feels a responsibility to bring the spotlight to more players."
Peter Leipold from Franconia/Franken region is also "on the way to becoming a young genius", Jancis Robinson learned from Klaus Peter Keller. "He worked here in our winery for two years before moving to Liger-Belair [in Burgundy]. He has a special feeling for wine, you don't learn that in school. His Burgundy is one of the best-kept German Burgundy secrets," notes Keller.
*Klaus Peter Keller's recommendation for US-market:
Achenbach, Porphyr Riesling 2020 Rheinhessen (Wonsheim) 12.5%
F E Huff, Schwabsburger Riesling 2020 Rheinhessen (Nierstein) 12.5%
Seehof, Westhofen Scheurebe 2020 Rheinhessen (Westhofen) 12.5%
Mertz, Steinalt Portugieser 2019 Rheinhessen (Eckelsheim) 13.5%
Giegerich, Pitztaler Berg Spätburgunder 2018 Franken (Grosswallstadt) 13%
Leipold, Obervolkacher Spätburgunder 2017 Franken (Volkach) 13%