The Ahr Valley is located close to the northen edge of where wine growing in Germany is still possible - further north it would be too cold to ripen grapes fully. The region has incredibly steep vineyards - some of which almost require mountain climbing skills to work them! Soil is made up of black slate, that reflects heat back to the grapes, and most vineyards have to be cultivated painstakingly by hand. Within Germany the region is famous for its Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir), yet you might not have heard about it because there are barely 550 hectares farmed.
Jean Stodden is one of the best producers in the region, and he is a true Pinot Noir specialist. Jean has 6.5 Has of vineyards in the village of Rech split among three mountain vineyards: Recher Herrenberg, Dernauer Hardtberg and Ahrweiler Rosenthal.
The Stodden family have been dedicated to producing fine wines in Germany since 1578 with the philosophy to work in harmony with nature. They have never been a champion of the soft Pinot Noir style usually found in the Ahr, instead favouring ideals that hail from the Côtes de Nuits in Burgundy. Dujac, Ponsot and Roumier are all firm favourites (and friends) of the Stodden family who aim to capture some of this essence, but with a German expression.
The winemaking is fairly traditional with longer macerations (4 to 21 days), then fermentation on skins until the right amount of body has been achieved. The wines and lees are then transferred to barriques from the massif Central in France for a minimum of 16 months after the harvest to develop fully.