I’m just back from the Pfalz wine region in Germany - my first trip of the year.
Now, I knew we were onto a good thing with Gerd Stepp. But after finally visiting him for the first time, I really get it now.
Let me tell you all about it…
One lovely thing about Pfalz is that it’s not too far from home.
After jumping on an early Thursday flight from Dublin, by midday I found myself fully immersed in rural German life, enjoying a hearty Curry-Linsensuppe with Gerd.
Pfalz is 90 minutes south of Frankfurt, and has a real Burgundy-meets-Alsace feel to it. Each village, as charming as the next one, is only a few minutes’ beautiful drive apart.
Mosel seems to get all the international attention… but trust me, Pfalz has a lot more going for it.
The combination of a warm & dry climate and varied soils make it capable of producing world-class Pinot Noir and Riesling.
To make the most of Pfalz, you need know the right person
This is where Gerd Stepp comes in. I first met him 10 years ago, when I brought his wines over to the UK with Naked Wines.
Prior to that, he’d spent 20+ years making wine all over the world… from Tuscany to New Zealand and even Zimbabwe, before settling back in his hometown village of Bad Dürkheim in Pfalz.
The vineyards he works with here are some of the best in all of Germany, and he uses all of that international experience and savvy to make seriously impressive wines.
One of those vineyards is in very high demand
On Friday morning we pulled up at a small village called Kallstadt.
Six million Germans emigrated to America in the 1800s. Two people who left Kallstadt would go on to make a big mark on the world - one guy called Heinz, and another called Trump.
But the real reason we were there was to check out the famous Saumagen vineyard, which surrounds half of the village, sloping gently up towards the Haardt mountains.
It’s a very special site, with a unique mixture of limestone and loam soils. This gives Riesling a deliciously minerally taste, unlike any other in Germany.
And the prices are starting to reflect that - I was stunned to see them for €120+ a bottle on a local restaurant list.
Compared to what you pay for Gerd’s Saumagen Riesling as a member - just €18.46 a bottle.
And that sort of value is exactly why you’re here!
Keep this quiet…
I mentioned to Gerd that I’d noticed an uptick of sales of Riesling at WineSpark.
He’s heard the same in his other markets. He's worried that if Riesling suddenly takes off (like Albarino), Pfalz doesn’t have enough quality sites to cope with demand. And then prices will shoot up.
And given the exceptional value of Pfalz Pinot Noir, it’s only a matter of time before it takes off too.
So let’s keep the delights of the place to ourselves, before the world wakes up to it!
After a brief hiatus, the wines are back. Taste them here
Gerd’s Buntsandstein Pinot Noir was our best-selling wine at Christmas. So it’s no surprise that we were out of stock for a few weeks.
I’m delighted to tell you now that the wines are back. So I’ve built a special 6-pack of Stepp classics so you can see the quality for yourself.
In the pack you’ll get…
- 3x Pinot Noir Buntsandstein 2020 - Pfalz is perfect Pinot country, with its long growing season and mixed sandstone soils. These soils give intense fruity and floral aromas to the Pinot. Gerd gets his oak barrels from a friend that makes Grand Cru Burgundy, and ageing in these really adds a really luxurious dimension to the wine
- 2x Riesling vom Saumagen 2020 - from one of Germany’s best Riesling vineyards, wines made from plots right beside this have got 100 Parker Points and sell for big bucks. It’s soft, creamy and intensely tropical, with gorgeous texture and minerality
- 1x Pfalz Chardonnay 2021 - The latest addition to Gerd’s range… a ripe, round and refreshing Chardonnay, also aged in those magic Grand Cru barrels from Burgundy. Think Hautes Côtes de Beaune quality at German prices.
I have a lot to thank Gerd for…
He’s one of 14 world-class winemakers who originally invested in WineSpark.
You know that when a winemaker of Gerd's calibre gets involved, there must be something wrong with the traditional way of buying and selling wine.
Gerd’s also extra-motivated to give us exceptional quality and value - and it’s working for all of us.
You’re getting great wine for your money, I get happy loyal customers, and Gerd’s sales have rocketed. Now that's a win all round!