2007 Becker Estate Pinot Noir

Posted by CrushWine

Authentic Winemaking and a Pinot Noir Steal at $16.80
(How Do You Say "Back Up the Truck" in German?)

Consider today's offer a dazzling introduction to the new, more balanced, more sophisticated sensibility of German Pinot Noir, though it's also one of the most profound values in Pinot Noir we've come across in a long time.

While the value this wine offers is glaring and obvious (we're talking really good Pinot Noir for well under $20!), what I think needs emphasis here is the seriousness of this bottling.

This is real Pinot Noir made from fruit that is all hand-picked from the Becker's top sites, including the Kammerberg and Sankt Paul vineyards. Fermentations are carried out in stainless steel and open-top wooden fermenters with twice daily punch-downs. The juice is aged in big (2,400 liter) oak barrels (no new oak!) and bottled unfined and unfiltered. You don't get this quality and attention in most Pinots at twice the price. (Check out the gnarly old-vines in the Kammerberg Vineyard; the oldest were planted in 1967.)

This is truly one of the most authentic "value" bottlings out there and the palate speaks powerfully of this authenticity. This is not a rich Pinot Noir with a massive palate weight, extracted fruit or a voluminous profile. There is no sugared fruit, no deep and dark notes of cassis, nor any of that creamy toasty quality you get from new wood (or new wood chips).

Indeed, the fruit in the 2007 Becker Estate is forward and juicy, but there is also a beautiful briskness in its delivery, a taut energy woven into a decidedly silken mouthfeel. The elegance and form of this Pinot Noir - especially for Burgundy lovers - will thrill. (Given its under-$20 price tag, it might honestly knock you over.) The vivid fruit is balanced by a great acidity and even a thin vein of minerality awash on the mid-palate and a brisk fruit quality that makes the bottle extremely refreshing (consider the hot summer, just around the corner). It also makes this Pinot Noir an incredibly versatile partner to food.

This wine is so good, and such a profound value, that I wouldn't hesitate for a second including it amongst the top value Pinot bottlings from around the world, including the U.S., Argentina and Chile, even though, as discussed the style is much more Old World.

It should go without saying therefore, that this is a "Back Up the Truck" offer, though see below for my father's amusing disclaimer.

Some context should also be provided, because very often the difference between the German and American markets is significant. The Friedrich Becker estate is nothing less than a TITAN of German Pinot Noir; their single-vineyard Kammerberg is, to my palate, one of the best, if not the best, German Pinot Noir currently being made and the wine is about as collectible (and as rare) as German Pinot Noir gets. That said, it has a $100-plus price tag that is not for the faint of heart.

Today though the focus is on the Estate, not only because of the more gentle price, but also because I believe the 2007 is the best one they've made to date. What 2007 offered its miraculous Rieslings, it offered Pinot Noir, at least in the Pfalz - and that's super-long hang times and glorious fall weather.

I've had the 2007 Becker Estate at least four times: The first time was in New York at an industry event. I loved it and therefore ordered a bottle so that I could taste with Joe and the crew here. (My rep was nice enough to grab one of the few bottles available in New York from Little Giant, which I would say deserves a shout out not only for the honesty and clarity of the food, but also for the intelligence and courage of the wine list. If you haven't gone there - go!) I had the wine twice in Germany last month with Fritz Becker himself and then, finally, last night, sipping while composing this very offer.

Every single time it has impressed me more: a very good sign.

It also happened to impress the entire Crush Crew so thoroughly that we negotiated with Becker and the good people of David Bowler Wine to sweep up - at a very sharp price - NY's and probably the East Coast's first allocation of this wine. The first 10 cases have just arrived at the store and the second (and larger) shipment will arrive in early June. The stash we have on-hand is first come, first served - while all other orders will have to wait a short two weeks to get their fix.

That said, our parcel is far from unlimited and given the severity of the deal and the response we've had to our previous Pinot Noir-based "Back Up the Truck" offers, it's best to order now! Please give us your maximum order, though we may have to limit allocations to 12 bottles per customer. To order, call (212) 980-9463, email us at offers@crushwineco.com or click below.*

How Do You Say "Back Up the Truck" in German?

When I emailed my dad (a native German speaker, born in Vienna) for a German translation he responded to me with the following, matter of fact statement. I don't know why, but I find this one of the funniest things he's ever written me (and he's a very funny man): "Oddly enough 'Back Up the Truck' does not make much sense in German because, unlike in the USA, most trucks are loaded and unloaded from the side."

Friedrich Becker

Weingut Friedrich Becker is one of Germany's greatest estates - it's also one of the quirkiest German estates as a good 2/3 of the vineyards are in France's Alsace. I could spend some time writing about this, but again I'd probably just refer you to Dr. Vino's great post about the estate and the complexity of the German/French border in this region.

Weingut Friedrich Becker, as you might have gathered, is most famous for their Pinot Noir. A full 70% of the production is in fact red wine. (For this email only, we'll ignore the white wines, which have been making tremendous strides in the last five years...but you'll be hearing more about this b/c the Pinot Gris and the Pinot Blanc and the Riesling are just killer.)

Becker's top vineyards - both Grosses Gewächs - are the Kammerberg and the Sankt Paul vineyards, both of which have a solid foundation of limestone, Pinot Noir's preferred soil. Friedrich Becker senior (his son's name is also Friedrich, though he goes by Fritz) in fact planted the vines in the Kammerberg himself after the war, an incredibly insightful and daring thing to do some 40 years ago. For this reason, not only is the Kammerberg vineyard a very special place for the family (walking through the vineyard with Fritz, you can feel the pride, understandably), it also boasts some very old vines - at this point 40+ years old.

The Sankt Paul vineyard lies not very far away, and though the vines are at the moment younger, Fritz believes the site has tremendous potential. While the limestone here is no more profound than that in the Kammerberg, there is less top soil here and so the vines very quickly find themselves surrounded (by limestone that is); the wines, already, show incredible finesse - a fineness.

This is an estate you'll be hearing MUCH more about in the next few years...I have no doubt.