From the deep southwest of the country, more precisely from the Kaiserstuhl region, we have wines by Holger Koch in our glasses today for the first time. We drink from the base a Weissburgunder Kaiserstuhl from 2019 and, one quality level above, a Pinot Noir Herrenstück from 2017. Holger Koch cultivates about 8 hectares of vineyard in intensive manual labour, with lots of greenery in between the vines and without any herbicides. The southern Kaiserstuhl is certainly one of the warmest wine-growing regions in Germany and in these locations the winery concentrates on Burgundy varieties.
We start with Weissburgunder Kaiserstuhl, of which a part of the grapes were fermented on the mash to bring more structure into the wine. After opening it smells of tender, yellow fruit and on the tongue you can directly feel the time on the mash. It has a good grip, paired with a little apple skin, minerality and diluted elderflower spritzer. Surprisingly much power and pull and much more substance and length than I would have expected in a Weissburgunder entry level wine. And surrounding everything it has this charming fruit. Over the evening the wine becomes fuller, the acidity remains fresh and the spice is strong. But never biting or exhausting, and always in such a way that one likes to take the next sip. And then the sip after that.
After a night in the fridge the fruit has become much more intense. Creamy apples and pears, light tropical fruit, mango or melon and in the mouth the structure of the first evening. This is one of the best Pinot Blancs I have ever had in my glass for under 10 Euros. Of course the wine is not a monster of complexity and the discussion whether a wine is boxing above its weight class I find rather tedious. However, this combination of fruit, structure and seriousness and the appropriate freshness is simply a lot of fun.
The Pinot Noir, like the Pinot Blanc, also appears fresh and lively. A little tannin on the tongue, red fruit and first spices. You can feel wood, mentholated, minty aromas on the tongue and despite the power everything remains elegant and playful and rather cool. Also here the balance between the fruit and the rest is very well done and just as with the other wine the fruit takes center stage throughout the evening. Dark berries, cherries, plum roaster. The wine becomes softer and even more harmonious.
After on night the fruit becomes so fresh that you wonder if there are sweet cherries mixed with figs and sprinkled with blackcurrant spritzer in your glasses. The tannin is now so fine that it just about wraps around the fruit, forming a fine framework and only supporting without really being noticed. In between, the aroma is reminiscent of strawberry cream candies and cold fruit tea. Don’t get it wrong, there’s nothing sweet in the taste, but the association shoots through your head. I like this a lot.