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2018s from Weingut Dautel - high-class German Pinot Noir

February 2021

Dautel Michaelsberg - Copy

Around this time last year, we struck it lucky. My colleague, Laura Hollingsworth, and I headed to a tasting in Munich to assess a range of different German Pinot Noir, or Spätburgunder, and happened upon the wines of Weingut Dautel. This tasting afforded us a great opportunity to compare examples from leading estates and gain a view of the shift in quality that has taken place with this variety in Germany in recent years.
 
Why such a shift? Simply put, it is on account of climate change. As we recently commented in our Burgundy Vintage Report, hotter and drier summers are leading to advanced harvest dates. Traditionally, the Burgundy Pinot Noir harvest would have started towards the end of September, today it seems to be heading towards the beginning of the month, as in 2019, or the end of August as in 2018. While changing conditions are more than troublesome for different agricultural sectors, the 2018 vintage in Germany, the hottest and driest spring and summer ever to be record, led to impressive results for winemakers in terms of both yield and quality. If you are a more northerly wine region, climate change is leading to more dependable ripeness and growers in Germany that may have previously struggled to ripen grape varieties like Pinot Noir fully, or if they did, build sufficient concentration, are clearly reaping some rewards. An institute researching the impact of climate change in Germany believe that by 2040 most of Germany will be suitable for viticulture, leading to the birth of new wine regions.
 
With the scene set, we return to the Dautel 2018s, offered here. I expected a greater degree of concentration and ripeness than the 2017s, and that is just what I found. I was fascinated by the 2017s – their purity and poise, but the 2018s have an extra dimension. Christian Dautel’s estate lies 20 kilometres to the north of Stuttgart in the region of Württemberg and extends over around 20 hectares of vineyard. His two Grosses Gewächs Spätburgunder or ‘Grand Cru’ Pinot Noir, namely Schupen and Forstberg, reveal subtly different characters backed by the added richness of the 2018 vintage. The Schupen is the more restrained of the two and the Forstberg the more powerful. Christian, who has been head winemaker at the estate since he took over from his father Ernst in 2013, focuses on allowing the wines to finely express the nuances of his various vineyard sites. He therefore uses very little new oak and eschews the use of barriques in favour of larger 300 litre hogsheads as well as much larger oak barrels. The estate’s vines are planted at high densities, in order to create competition for the vines and limit yield – production of Forstberg GG is approximately 250 cases of 6 bottles, and Schupen GG is even lower, at around 220.




2018 Spätburgunder, Schupen, Grosses Gewächs, Weingut Dautel
£150 per 6 bottle case in bond

  
The Bönnigheimer Schupen vineyard is at an altitude of 300 metres, with calcareous soil and an average vine age of around 50 years, yielding aromatic wines with a darker fruit profile. 
Bright in the glass, the 2018 Schupen starts to open with air, revealing dark cherry and hedgerow fruit notes, with a scented accent. Juicy and vibrant, this Pinot Noir shows real pedigree with the same effortless elegance seen in the 2017, with a greater sense of depth. There is plenty of fruit held in check here, gently mineral-nuanced, slight aromatic herb notes too, just needing a little patient cellarage to show itself. Showing fine purity and a lightness of touch, this is a beautifully ripe, appealing wine with notably sleek profile. Worth giving this impressive 2018 a little more time before broaching. Drink 2022-2030. (SL)

 
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2018 Spätburgunder, Forstberg, Grosses Gewächs, Weingut Dautel
£150 per 6 bottle case in bond

  
The Oberstenfelder Forstberg vineyard lies on steep, south-facing slopes at an altitude of 400 metres. The vines here are on average 20-30 years of age, planted in soils of coloured marl, and yield wines with a notable mineral drive on the finish. 
Perhaps a little deeper in the glass, and more giving aromatically too; the nose offers dark fruits, juicy and ripe, and hints of savoury spice. More ample on the palate, in fact admirably concentrated – the fruit here is darker; loganberry, damson and cherry with gentle creamy swirls. More expansive than the Schupen, certainly at this stage, there is a glorious seamless texture to this 2018, and yet it finishes fresh and mineral. This has terrific substance but not to the detriment of finesse – it finishes with a sense of taut fruit. Again, probably a little more staying power than the impressive 2017. A really beautiful, seductive wine. Drink 2023-2030. (SL)
 

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It suffices to say we are delighted to be working with Christian Dautel’s estate and regard his as exceptional wines, with a very bright future. We also look forward to visiting when we are able to do so and seeing how his story unfolds. No critics have yet tasted these wines, it will be interesting to read their reviews in due course.
 
Please let us know of your interest.
 
All the best,
 
Simon 


To request a wine, please do not hesitate to contact any member of the Atlas team. We can be reached on +44 (0) 20 3017 2299, info@atlasfinewines.com or by submitting the form below. Please note that stock may be limited and is always sold on a 'first come, first serve' basis. 

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Atlas Fine Wines Ltd. 

4-5 Castle Court  
London EC3V 9DL
T: +44 (0) 20 3017 2299
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