The Pfalz (Palatinate for those of you born pre-1980) is Germany’s second-largest wine region (behind the Rheinhessen) but also its largest producer of red wines. This speaks to a number of natural factors including a warmer climate (the Haardt mountains to the east provide protection), soils which look to loam and to sandstone for inspiration, and a gently undulating topography that shares little with the vertiginous slopes of the Mosel. This is not to say that the living is easy but styles and prices here are both a gentle reminder that there is friendlier face to German Riesling.
Riesling holds sway here for the whites but Pinot Noir is continuing its expansion as the warmer climate seems ideally suited to make aromatically complex wines that should give every Burgundian a sleepless night. The area to the west, near Bad Dürkheim, is one of two premium sub-zones where steeper slopes and a higher percentage of sandstone give the wines an extra gear.