Introducing the wines of Eymann
Author: Fiona Hayes
One of the advantages of being a long-standing and reputable wine merchant (if we don’t say so ourselves) is that we have been lucky enough to work with some of the greatest winemakers and wine estates for a good number of years, often with relationships being formed over great wines and good food. But we are also constantly looking towards the future, exploring the potential of emerging wine regions, promising new winemakers and new wine trends. In recent years, we have been observing the growing importance of Pinot Noir in Germany (see, for example, Jancis Robinson’s recent article on the topic) – this, combined with our quest for young and exciting new winemaking talent, led us to discover the wines of Eymann in the Pfalz.
A family business based in the small village of Gönnheim (in the Mittelhaadt region of the Pfalz in southwest Germany), Eymann is now being run by Vincent Eymann, who recently took over from his father. Not only is the Pfalz Germany’s second largest in terms of hectares planted, but it is also one of the warmest. This gives its Rieslings a rounder weight and style compared to those grown in the Mosel, as well as enabling it to fully ripen Pinot Noir and avoid any green or under-ripe characteristics that cooler climates often need to be conscious of.
Sustainability and safeguarding the future quality of the vineyards and wines is a top priority of the estate, which has worked organically since 1983 and biodynamically (Demeter certified) since 2006. There is a purity that is recognisable in all the wines – something that can be attributed, in particular, to the thick loess topsoil, with its high lime and mineral content, but also the Rhine river deposits in the subsoil of gravel and sand.
The Eymann family has been dynamic with the varietals planted on their 15-hectare property (a mix of Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Silvaner, Gewürztraminer, Gelber Muskateller, Spätburgunder, Merlot, St Laurent and Cabernet Cubin); we, however, have selected a few standout wines from their range, wines that we feel really reflect the estate’s style and terroir: their Gönnheimer Riesling, Toreye Spätburgunder and their single-vineyard Sonnenberg Pinot Noir and Riesling.
The grapes for the Gönnheimer Riesling and Toreye Spätburgunder are hand-picked from various vineyards in the village of Gönnheim. Both these entry-level wines are incredibly good value (£12.75 and £19.50, respectively) and approachable in their youth. The single-vineyard Riesling and Pinot Noir from the Sonnenberg are from older vines. The Riesling seeing eight to nine months in 1200-litre oak barrels, while the Pinot Noir benefits from 18 months in French barriques and tonneaux.
We are incredibly excited to be working with Vincent and his wines, and even happier that they happen to be a fellow family business.
Make it the 2015 Toreye Spätburgunder: While it’s rarely acknowledged, Germany is the third largest producer of Pinot Noir (aka Spätburgunder) in the world. This is a wonderful example of an accessible, refreshing Pinot that offers an interesting alternative to Burgundy. Aromas of red cherry, redcurrant and raspberry mingle on the nose. Herbal top notes with a hint of savoury spice continue onto the palate, which offers chalky tannins balanced by lively acidity and a delicious juiciness.