Within Germany's endless, steep vineyards of Riesling hides an unsuspecting location for the best Pinot Noir in the country. While many vineyards grow Pinot Noir and a handful of producers that would qualify as excellent, August Kesseler sneakily pulls in at the top of the list. Kesseler wines are scarce in the US and is not a name that gets thrown around when talking German wine, but after tasting though an almost complete line up including multiple vintages, it defiantly should be. August Kesseler is in the Rheingau in Assmannhäusen, nestled in a bend within the Rhine River. This location is the most suited to Pinot Noir than any other area in Germany.
The Cuvee max comes from the classified Erste Lagen Vineyard of Assmannshäuser Frankenthal. Here on a steep slope of Phylitt and sparse slate, the vines fight for nutrients to survive, creating a lower yielding yet concentrated and complex fruit. The Cuvee max is on Premier Cru quality and is incredibly structured and deep, easily lasting for another fifteen to twenty years in the cellar. Many Pinot Noirs that we have tried from Germany, mainly the Mosel, have a hard time finding the balance of minerality and fruit, but that is not an issue here. Cuvee Max seamless, elegantly showing ripe fruits that shift between red and blue with notes of spice and slightly smoky minerality. This is somewhat Vosne-Romanee-esque, and while the tannins could use some time to integrate more, this is incredibly fresh and juicy. We know this is not a cheap bottle to take a flier on, but those that do will be greatly rewarded. Kesseler praises 2015 as one of their top Pinot Noir Vintages of all time and has sold out at the winery. However, we were able to source a substantial amount that will be arriving soon. Cuvee Max competes with some of the best Pinot Noirs from any region and is, without a doubt, one of the best we have tried from Germany next to their incredible Hollenberg bottling that goes for twice the price. Highly Recommended.