The Kaiserstuhl can justifiably claim to be the single best-known district of Baden. Its volcanic soils and singularly warm climate give rise to powerful, vibrant Pinots of every type. Cousins Martin and Arne Bercher are the tenth generation of the family to run this highly-reputed estate, one of several we represent that are members of the VDP (indeed, Arne is V.P. of the Baden chapter).
The loess-rich soils of the village of Jechtingen produce a more delicate style of wine that we thought offered a charming counterpoint to some of the other Pinots Gris in the selection. The impression is tender but well-braced, with a billowing quality to the fruit and a deliciously sweet-fruited yet spicy aftertaste. It is however a real trocken wine!
This is the kind of wine that has made the Kaiserstuhl the Mother Lode of modern German Pinot Noir. Forceful but not overblown, it was aged exclusively in large, used casks, the better to preserve the singularity of its volcanic expression.
Grown from 25-plus year-old vines in a mostly volcanic, south-facing “Premier Cru” vineyard in Jechtingen, this wine shows all the virtues of Bercher’s over-performing basic Pinot on a grander and more imposing scale. Its seriousness, however, detracts in no way from the innate sweetness of the fruit, which hauls you right into the wine’s beating heart of stone.
Bercher’s originality is to offer an education in the influence of volcanic soils (Burkheim) versus loess (Jechtingen). In 2013, we narrowly preferred the fervid pungency of Burkheim as it influenced the Pinot Blanc. This is an imposing, palpably mineral wine that nonetheless has plenty of flesh on its manly bones. Wines like this lend support to the notion that Austria has a serious rival to its claim to make the world’s best Pinots Blancs!