It’s been a red red night: German Pinot Noir x 3

Pinot and me, we have a real love hate thing going on. He (yes, definitely he) can be so delicious and utterly attractive, basically non-resistable, and yet so cruel. Next morning, that is. Nothing worse than trying to tackle your morning run with a head full of pinot fumes… I’m not sure why that is, but I think that the low yield, slow fermentation and long skin contact necessary for great pinot produce some stuff on the side that has that not so special effect.

3SptbMayHaving said all that, nevertheless, it’s nice to succumb to temptation, from time to time, and not be sensible and all that. Therefore I found myself the other night with three very fine red guys. They all came from not so distant German shores, all from 2011. All three behaved like total gentlemen, but I still summoned some help in the form of cheese, to not completely loose it. The Recis from Rudolf May in Retzstadt/Franconia I found the most manly, with black currant and dill flower aromas and quite a bit of wood. Not exactly a cuddly type, but who turned into a truly elegant one when paired with some alpine cheese from South Tyrol that had been cured in Lagrein marc – YES! Much more approachable and forthcoming was the Mariage from Carolin and Erik Riffel in Bingen/Rheinhessen.

3SptbRiffelcheeseQuite an imposing frame, with lots of lovely sweet cherries to offer, that big guy just fell for a well ripened Charolais goat cheese from Burgundy. Both seemed more complex and intense than each on their own. They were more than happy to have me joining them and what a good time we had in that mariage à trois! The third guy I had already heard quite a bit about, but so far never met. In fact, 2011 is the first vintage of pinot noir (aka Spätburgunder) from the otherwise Riesling-centric Maximin Grünhaus estate on the Ruwer.

3SptbMaxGrüncheeseThey planted the vines in 2007, reviving an old tradition, and obviously know their Burgundy stuff… Elegant dry tannins nestled with sweet red berries, a touch of dark chocolat and just the right amount of bitter herbs, in a good, Amaro type of way, the acidity kicking in ever so discreetly to draw me back to the glass again and again. We looked each other deep in the eyes, then both suddenly felt a bit shy and turned to the cheese – who saved the situation with bravura. A half-ripened pecorino from the Maremma in Tuscany, it brought a distinctive lemon zest facet into the game which together with its sheep milk richness stood up to everything and anything going on… And I’m happy to report: the lady did go for that run, the next morning.

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