New Producer - Benedikt Baltes

New Producer - Benedikt Baltes
We are delighted today to introduce our latest signing, a young dedicated winemaker producing top Spatburgunders from the illustrious sandstone vineyards of the Churfranken region. Very much a rising star, Benedikt was brought to our attention by a number of our Riesling producers who had all found much to admire in the supple, polished, pure and bright Pinot Noirs he is fast becoming known for.

Red wine production in this particular spot in Franken is said to date back to the 13th century so there’s plenty of pedigree in the steep vineyards and old Pinot Noir vines of this little red wine island, 65kms to the south east of Frankfurt. Neighbouring estate Rudulf Furst really put this region on the map for serious fine wines, and now joined by Benedikt, there’s a definite buzz around this tiny but heavily terraced zone.

Originally from the Ahr, but having been unable to purchase land there, it was in 2010 that Benedikt found the old state Klingenberg winery for sale. Established in 1912 it was run down, not producing great wines, but it did have 10 hectares of excellent classified old vine vineyards. It was a major result and the perfect fit for a winemaker hell bent on showing what great German sites can produce…

Gaining full organic and biodynamic certification in 2016, Benedikt’s mission has been to create truly German Pinot Noir in an elegant, understated, vineyard specific way. Using local and neutral oak for 300 and 500 lt barrels, ‘employing’ sheep to mow the vineyards, fermenting with indigenous yeasts, and farming local, often heritage German Pinot Noir clones, his vision is for wines of site transparency, but also regional and national character. “I want to make truly German Grosses Gewachs, not using French clones in French barrels. For me, German Pinot Noir can be quite like a Riesling. Riesling is intense and complex but not too rich in body and not too alcoholic. It is the soils that bring minerality and deepness to the German wines, our terroir isn’t that heavy, or that fruity – and I want to transport that finesse to my Pinot Noirs.”

With three Grosses Gewachs to his name, a top premier cru in Bergstadter Berg and excellent Ortswein and Gutswein Pinot Noirs Benedikt seems clear on his stylistic vision. These are wines of harmony and grace, excellent balance, polished but not worked textures and real character. They taste like German Pinot noir, made with great sensibility and refinement. We’re delighted to be bringing them onto these shores for the very first time.