The Spotlight n°1 - The Pfalz Region
Located in southwestern Germany, between the Rhine River and Haardt mountains, The Pfalz Region, with over 23,684 hectares of vineyards and approximately 10 000 producers, is the second-largest wine region in Germany after Rheinhessen.
Boasting a rich winemaking history dating back to Roman times, Pfalz is one of the most innovative regions in Germany with young winemakers, who focus on sustainability and biodiversity, and create affordable yet remarkable wines.
Best known for Dry Rieslings and fuller-bodied reds that can reach 13% alcohol such as Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir), this region offers great variety.
Climate and Terroir
Thanks to the long, warm summers and cool nights this region has a warm enough climate for many grape varieties to ripen to perfection and develop complex flavours. Temperatures average between 11-14 degrees Celsius in the valleys and 8-10 degrees in the mountains allowing grapes such as Riesling and Pinot Noir to thrive.
The soil of the Pfalz wine region is quite varied throughout with areas of limestone in the north (where Riesling takes some of its notes from) while in the south, loess and loam are more common defining the profile of most red grapes.
Pfalz's winemaking tradition is deeply ingrained in its culture, with family-owned wineries producing exceptional wines year after year.
These winemakers are passionate about their craft and are dedicated to producing the highest quality wines possible.
Many producers are committed to biodynamic and organic farming practices that can ensure the long-term health of the vineyards.
This includes using natural fertilizers, cover crops, and crop rotation to maintain soil health and reduce the need for pesticides and herbicides.
One of the unique features of Pfalz's winemaking is the use of wooden barrels for ageing. Unlike many other regions that use stainless steel or concrete tanks, Pfalz's winemakers prefer to age their wines in large wooden barrels, which impart a subtle oak flavour and help the wines to develop additional complexity.
There are many different grape varieties grown in the Pfalz region:
White varieties include Riesling, Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc), Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris) and Müller-Thurgau. Red varieties include Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir), Dornfelder and Portugieser.
The undisputed star of this area is Riesling, with around 6 000 hectares cultivated.
Characterised by vibrant acidity, mineral notes, and complex flavours, this grape variety has great longevity, as the wine produced can age for decades and continue to improve with time.
Another notable grape is Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc), this versatile grape is known for producing wines that are crisp, refreshing, and fruit-forward, with aromas and flavours of green apple, pear, and citrus.
Looking at red varieties, the delicate Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir), is produced mostly in the south and is known for its elegant and complex flavours, with notes of red fruit, spice, and earth.
Overall, Thanks to the charming towns and villages, as well as picturesque countryside and historic castles, Pfalz Region is a cultural, gastronomical and enological must-visit.
Whether you're a seasoned wine connoisseur or just starting to explore the world of wine, Pfalz will surely delight your taste buds and leave you with a newfound appreciation for the art of winemaking