Salwey is a family-owned winery located in Baden, in South-Eastern Germany.
Baden is unquestionably the most important region for Pinot Noir, known in Germany as Spätburgunder in all of Germany.
Baden is the only region in Germany that is assigned as an EU wine-growing zone B. In short, this designation relates to the suitability of a region to produce high-quality wines.
In this case, that means that the wines must have a higher Oechslelevel (which means more ripeness and natural sugars at harvest) than anywhere else in the country.
The winery itself has been highly-regarded as far back as the 1920s, at which time Heinrich Steiert was the patriarch.
Heinrich was also one of the founders of the Association of German Natural Wine Auctions, which laid the groundwork for modern German winemaking standards.
Today, the winemaking is handled by fourth-generation winemaker Konrad Salwey.
Salwey Pinot Noir Review
The wine for this bottle is estate-grown, meaning that the production process is handled entirely in-house, from grapes to glass.
It is grown in loess soil, which gives the wine a fuller, more supple character than other soil types.
This helps to give the wine an elegant, fruity, balanced feeling. The climate of the area is quite cool, and the wine shares some characteristics with Oregon-produced Pinot Noir.
The wine is a lovely scarlet color in the glass, with a ruby-like meniscus around the edges of the glass.
The legs are modest but present, forming and falling at a pretty moderate pace.
Lots of red fruit here. Think strawberries, red cherries, and pomegranates.
I also get a lot of lovely subtle notes coming through here and there, including fresh mint, hints of vanilla, and ground cloves.
These more subtle notes really help uplift the aromatics, giving them a lot more depth than I was expecting.
This is an absolutely mouth-watering bottle. Ample acidity helps to give the wine a certain sense of juiciness without being too fruity, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
The palate is complex, with tart cherries, cranberries, wild strawberries, and light hints of herby notes coming through on the tongue.
The wine also shows a lovely sense of what the French call “terroir,” or a sense of place.
Unmistakable hints of earth and minerality come through from the soil the grapes were planted in, along with a few wild mushrooms and a forest-floor kind of note which is a characteristic of truly great Pinot Noir.
What does Salwey Pinot Noir pair with?
This wine is incredibly versatile and easy to pair. I would recommend leaning into the German theme here and trying this wine with spaetzle.
Spaetzle is a type of dumpling or noodle made from eggs and is incredibly popular in Southern Germany.
Believe it or not, they are also remarkably easy to make!
Other great options include butterflied lamb, hearty mushroom-based dishes, and roasted turkey breast.
But try experimenting with this one, it’s pretty hard to go wrong with your pairing here!
What wines are similar to Salwey Pinot Noir?
You could go a couple of routes here. I would recommend trying red Burgundy wines.
Burgundy is the ancestral home, so to speak, of Pinot Noir in France.
They are known to be some of the best examples in the world of traditional Pinot, and the best examples boast plenty of red fruit and great structure and double down on the earthy characteristics present in this bottle.
Another good option would be to try some New World Pinot Noirs, specifically from Oregon. Reach for Penner-Ash, Evening Land, or Ken Wright for some excellent options.
Overall I am a big fan of this bottle. I feel as though German Pinot Noir is still a relatively unknown gem in most of the world, and it generally over-delivers on quality.