Rheinhessen is the largest wine region in Germany and nearly a third of the wines produced there are red wines. Though the 2009 harvest in Rheinhessen was somewhat smaller, it was a particularly good year for ripening Pinot Noir, according to the German Wine Institute. The ripeness shows in this Pinot from Weingut Schäfer, which has a relatively high alcohol level at 13.5%. (The alcohol on most German reds that I have seen usually falls between 11% and 12.5%.) Fortunately, the Weingut Schäfer has a solid fruit base, since the alcohol, which gives the wine a sweet warmth, nearly dominates the palate and threatens to throw this wine out of balance. Aromas of boysenberry, tobacco, lilac, and perfume, along with a slight banana fermentation aroma. The palate has dark red fruit, vanilla, spice, cherry-flavored cough syrup, and a strong mushroom-umami. Light to medium body, medium acidity, and light tannins. Spice and red berry flavors linger, along with some heat. Good.
At Nine Acre Wines for $14.99.