The forgotten border region of the northern Pfalz is riddled with limestone soils making it perfect for, among other things, certain varieties that do well in Burgundy, like, well, Chardonnay.
Yet here the temperatures are a bit cooler, the nights a bit brisker, and so the Chardonnay that the young brothers Brand farm comes with a tad more acidity, a few thousand more volts of electricity than most of the more luxurious examples from Burgundy and the New World. This is no-nonsense, organically farmed, young-vine Chardonnay that is ripe, yet sizzles with energy and acidity. And just to make sure that the wine glows in the dark, the brothers add a small bit of Riesling to the cuvée (usually 10% or less) which turbo-charges everything, heightening and sharpening the aromatics, making the wine perfumed and even more explosive.
The brothers Brand, Daniel and Jonas, have quickly brought attention to the far northern Pfalz, this cool-climate, limestone-rich, yet otherwise overlooked region. I would say the brothers (along with Andreas Durst) have redefined this place, but that presupposes the place has actually been defined, which is a stretch. The “famous” Pfalz, the Mittelhaardt region, is a good 45-minutes south. Here, however, in the north, in the Brand brother’s village of Bockenheim, well, things are a bit quieter; the historic and gilded estates of the south, with their tended gardens and bustling tourism, give way to a quieter, more gritty, working agricultural feel in the north. For the Brand’s wines, well, first there are the liters – these are the wines that immediately made both John and I look at each other with eyebrows a-raised, sharing that look of delight when something stands apart because of its internal, brightness, purity and zzziiiinnnnng. They still fascinate and delight; there are few better deals in wine. In the years since, the Brand brothers have quietly experimented more and more with 0-sulfur winemaking. The Pet-Nats are riveting, ultra-light testaments to what this region is capable of; in the already-saturated world of Pet-Nat, they have a dedicated following and disappear quickly. The rather long and eccentric list of 0-sulfur “Pur” wines that the brothers released beginning with vintage 2016 reflect a lot of experimenting, both in the vineyards and in the cellars. They are the beginning of what is likely to be a grand story of natural wines in the north.
Katie and Denny
Your friendly neighborhood wine shop, focused on small production, organic and biodynamic, natural wines. Connect with us on Instagram for suggestions on your next bottle and to follow along in our downtown Lafayette wine journey.
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210 E. Vermilion Street, Lafayette, LA 70501
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