2021 Weingut Meyer-Näkel, Pinot Noir, Estate, Ahr, Germany.
Absolutely gorgeous in the glass, with a bright ruby/garnet hue and smoky mineral, rose petals and red fruits on the nose, this Estate Pinot Noir from Meyer-Näkel shows off its distinctive steep Ahr River and slate soil terroir perfectly and with total seduction on the silken and complex palate. To think after what this region and Meyer-Näkel suffered in this vintage, with a devastating flood that actually swept away hundreds of homes and the winery was completely turned outside down with the waters so fierce that many barrels filled with the year’s wines were taken miles away! It’s a happy miracle that this wine still exists and that it is drinking so delicious with layers of spiced raspberry, black cherry, cranberry and strawberry fruits all folding together seamlessly along with briar, flinty mineral, saline, delicate earthiness and orange tea. I love German Pinot, or Spatburgunder as they call it, and Meyer-Näkel is without question one of my favorites, it is always a treat to drink this winery’s wines, especially the estate bottlings. I really enjoy the thrill of the ripe fruit and slate(y) tension, a combination that makes these wines special and rewarding, especially with food, from blackened salmon to wild mushroom dishes and or Holiday meals. The modern winery was founded in1950 when the wedding of Paula Meyer and Willibald Näkel created Meyer-Näkel as an estate, but it was their son Werner that brought international fame to the property and the region itself, especially since the early 2000s. I have often bought these wines, with this one and the Blue Slate offering being the two that I most certainly look for, as well as the Rosé of Pinot Noir, which is a sublime Summer wine.

Sisters Dörte and Meike Näkel have continued the family traditions here at Meyer-Näkel, since taking over from their legendary father Werner Näkel, who set the world on fire with his Pinots, earning the nickname “Red Baron” for the quality of his Pinots, some of which were named the best Pinot Noirs in the world in Decanter. Dörte & Meike have stamped their own signature to the collection ere at Meyer-Näkel, using much less new oak and adding a more natural and transparent quality to the wines, which seem to be getting even better and better under their talented guidance. As mentioned before, based in Dernau, the Meyer-Näkel estate is blessed with some amazing vineyards, some of which are VDP Grand Cru or Grosses Lage, set on pure slate looking down on the Ahr River, a region which lies in the rain shadow of the Eifel Mountains, meaning it is usually drier climate and with perfect southern exposures that draws in the warmth of the sun. Even though this region is one of the most northerly area of German wine production, it is mostly known for its red wines, with Pinot Noir being the star grape, as these Meyer-Näkel offerings prove to great effect. The winery notes, that the name “Ahr“ goes back to the Celtic word “aha”, meaning water and the river, which has always been cherished here, even in ancient times by the Romans, has carved out a deep, steep-sided valley of craggy rocks and chasms on its way through the Ahr Hills and the vines cling bravely to these hyper steep sites. This Estate Pinot comes from handed tended, sustainably farmed, vines set on the weathered slate and Greywacke soils with the grapes, 100% de-stemmed, gently macerated and then aged exclusively in used lager format oak barrels to promote purity. Dörte and Meike have heroically renovated and rebounded after the floods, and I recommend searching out their authentic and gracefully elegant wines!
($46 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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