Original poster from the 1992 movie

"Sister Act": Meyer-Nakel

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The Ides of March is upon us, but rather than thinking of Shakespeare and Ceasar, we shall pay hommage to this month's other namesake: Women's History Month. In light of this, we shall feature a sister act perhaps not as well known to our shores; the pinot noirs of the Ahr's Meyer-Nakel.

The Ahr in the northwestern corner above the Mosel

The story of survival of the Mayer-Nakel sisters could be a movie in and of itself. For those of you not familiar with the Great Flood of Germany's Ahr Valley of 2021, please read the following excerpt from The Week newsletter. In a nutshell, in mid July, "a low-pressure system began forming over the area where Germany meets Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands" said The Economist. "Puffed up by heat –in the Netherlands, it had been the hottest June since 1901– it sucked in moisture from all across central Europe. Then it sat there for days, disgorging colossal quantities of rain. Soon entire towns were under water. Across Germany’s northwestern states, houses, bridges and cars were swept away. Villages were destroyed. The press called it a Jahrhundertflut, a once-in-a-century flood: the worst in postwar history. Nearly 200 people died in Germany and Belgium with hundreds still unaccounted for."

One of many destroyed bridges, healthy vineyards above

In the Ahr, the Mayer-Nakel sisters narrowly survived the raging flood by breaking through a window upstairs in the winery and, after being swept away by the rushing current, clung onto a tree that their grandfather had planted a kilometer away for 11 hours before being rescued!!! Of course, most of the wine in barrel in the winery got swept away. Miraculously, nine barrels of the 2020 vintage were recuperated downstream 75 km away in Belgium; there will be an upcoming wine dinner and limited release with these "Lost Wines". As per the distributor: "With thick brown mud covering everything, most of the barrels swept away, and the majority of the equipment ruined, a clean-up of this magnitude would seem insurmountable. Enter nearly every major winemaking team in Germany who helped harvest the vineyards located above the floodplain. Hans & Valentin Rebholz, Katharina Prüm, Klaus Peter Keller, Friedrich Becker, Cornelius Dönnhoff, Dorothee Zilliken, and Oliver Haag were just a few of those volunteering on-site. As for equipment, barrels were donated from wineries around France and Germany, and space was given to the sisters by Haribo, the neighbouring German gummy bear manufacturer, for use as a makeshift storage facility!" I have been told by the importer who visited last year that a new winery has been built on the hillside (no more valley floor as it could happen again due to climate change as the instigator).

Meike and Dorte in the vineyards high above the valley floor

As Dorte explains in an interview with the VDP: "Our winery is located in the Ahr, a tiny wine-growing area, but it is the largest contiguous red wine growing area in Germany. 80 percent of our vineyard area consists of Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) and Frühburgunder (Pinot Noir Précoce or Pinot Fin), which we cultivate here on steep, slate slopes! The barren, rocky slate soil on the steep slopes yields mineral, elegant and taut wines. You can taste this in the glass." They  are the 5th generation having taken over from their father Werner who put the winery and the Ahr on the map. Like many of Germany's wine-producing river valley regions, the hillsides are occupied by prime vineyards and the riverbanks are home to the wineries. So in the Ahr, much of the vineyards were spared from the catastrophe down below. The deep valley of craggy rocks along the Ahr River perfectly positions the vines to catch as much sunlight as possible, providing additional warmth and sun exposure in one of Germany’s most northerly winegrowing regions. The unique microclimate is reflected in Meyer-Näkel’s red wines – fruitiness and full body in the foreground, and a slight herbaceousness and minerality on the palate. The estate also produces Frühburgunder, a mutation of Pinot Noir that was considered extinct until the 1970’s but successfully revived. Frühburgunder has many similar properties to Pinot Noir but matures earlier and typically produces softer wines with lower acidity. Dorte and Meike think this cuvée could turn into a Grosses Gewächs in time (the Ahr is the only region in Germany that allows for GG Frühburgunder).

The 2021 vintage, a result of the band of German winemakers' group effort after the flood, has finally reached our shores. We are thrilled to offer their 3 cuvees; the Pinot Noir rose, the Fruhburgunder (Pinot Fin) and the Estate Pinot Noir. These three wines are extremely rare, so lets be sure to drink them to help bring awareness to the Ahr and rebuild the Meyer Näkel name! As per the importer: *All proceeds have been prepaid to the Näkel family towards their rebuilding efforts.” ALL WINES ARE AVAILABLE  IN STORE FOR PICKUP & SHIPPING. PROST! GISELLE HAMBURG

 

 

Meyer-Nakel 2021 Ahr Pinot Noir Rose

A delightfuly pale rose from 100% Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) from decomposed slate and greywacke stone. The Pinot Noir grapes were gently pressed with a pneumatic press with only minimal time on the skins and fermented slowly in stainless steel tanks under cool temperatures. Unfiltered, the wine was cleared through sedimentation. This is a elegant light Rosé with notes of strawberry, peach,  melon and red cherries.

  • rosé
  • 11 in stock
  • $29.99

  • Organic

Meyer-Nakel 2021 Ahr Fruhburgunder

Frühburgunder (known as Pinot Fin or Precoce in Burgundy) is an old grape variety that is an early ripening variety of Pinot Noir. The very small, thick-skinned grapes produce fruity and full-bodied wines with intense color, bright acidity and gentle, delicate tannins. Aged in used french oak barriques for 10 months. Notes of raspberry, huckleberry, morello cherry and roasted cacao bean.

  • red
  • 14 in stock
  • $42.99

  • Organic

Meyer-Nakel 2021 Ahr Pinot Noir Estate

A typical traditional Ahr Pinot with an elegant nose of ripe red fruits, such as cherries and raspberries, intertwined with floral aromas, hints of earth and notes of juniper and laurel. The palate is round, smooth and juicy  with an intense and persistently aromatic finish with fine savouriness and minerality. Aged in old oak barrels.

  • red
  • 8 in stock
  • $53.99

  • Organic