The Klingenberger: Fürst Pinot Noir

Posted by CrushWine

The Fine-ness of German Pinot Noir
2009 Fürst Pinot Noir Klingenberger

It's not cheap and it sounds like something from Star Trek.

What can we say, we can't recommend it enough.

This is perhaps our favorite Pinot Noir currently being made in Germany. It's sort of that simple.

Paul Fürst has for many years been one of Germany's greatest practitioners of Pinot Noir and his Klingenberger is the quietest, the most understated and elegant in his stable.

This is a needle-fine Pinot, a wine of simply extraordinary textural elegance; it's sappy and sweet-fruited with smoke and iron-inflected notes of soil and mineral. Yet the Klingenberger is really, above everything else, about texture, about form, about the satiny feel and the extreme suppleness of the mid-palate.

As with the wines of Alzinger or Lafarge or Lauer or Verset or Lapierre this is a quiet wine, a wine that needs a calm room to really be appreciated.

It's fair to say that this is not for people looking for power, or luscious waves of fruit - it has little to do with the new world expressions of Pinot Noir. That said, for Burgundy lovers this is a worthy experience. In the right environment, it will be down right revelatory.

I also think there is something about the soy, smoke and spice notes that flirts with the more austere Syrahs of the Northern Rhône, Cornas especially, with its sinewy, lean yet muscular form.

While the Fürst family has been making wines in Franconia for many, many years (1638 to be exact), it was only in the last few decades, with Paul Fürst at the helm, that the estate has become one of Germany's finest. If you know anything at all about the estate, it's likely to be the rich, red-sandstoned Centgrafenberg vineyard. The estate has largely made its name with this vineyard and the dense, broad, powerful wines this site produces.

While Herr Fürst has long since had a reputation for great Pinot Noir in Germany, the 1990 being his break-out vintage, the Klingenberger is a newer acquisition for the estate. I remember first tasting a bottling at the estate in 2007, and while next to the Centgrafenberg it seemed diminutive, almost dainty, there was no mistaking the finesse and breed of the wine.

The 2009 is awesome - it shows a bit more depth and meat than the 2008 without losing any of the fine-ness.

Still, this is a wine to coax out of its shell - please give the wine a good decant and even revisit it on day two. Better yet, buy a few and cellar the wine. The story with this wine is NOT in the first pour. But with time open, the wine finds its balance and it is ravishing.

This is the second year we've offered out this wine - a small cult has developed for it, which is nice to see. The wine deserves it.

To order, please email us at or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Stephen Bitterolf
Wine Director
Crush Wine & Spirits