Pfalz, Germany

Run today by oenologists Doris Eymael and her son Jan, Pfeffingen is counted as one of the top 10 estates in the Pfalz. Producing wine for more than 250 years, this leading German winery makes outstanding Riesling, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and Scheurebe. Pfeffingen wines are unique. They are rich in minerals, full of character, and have a fine fruitiness. Their outstanding quality is due not least to their first-class vineyard sites – Ungsteiner Herrenberg and Ungsteiner Weilberg. The Herrenberg site has chalky soil, which creates wines that are clean, chalky, and gin-scented, with zesty, firm structures. The Weilberg site consists of terra rossa (red loam) – the same soils as Australia’s famed Coonawara and one of only two such sites in Germany – and is the source of wines dominated by yellow fruits and bigger, fleshier structures.

Despite their long and illustrious history, Pfeffingen is hardly a haughty estate. In fact, on our first visit to this beautiful winery we were warmly greeted by Jan, a kind and soft-spoken winemaker, who led us on an amazing tasting, vineyard tour and treated us to a delicious lunch. Jan may be a local celebrity, but he is a very thoughtful and modest winemaker, through whose international experience and travel has acquired a deep understanding not only of his own wines, but also their place within the larger wine world. He has travelled extensively and is keen to make wines that embody the classical elements of the Pfalz, but also appeal to an international market. It is also for this reason that he offers his wines at modest prices. The quality is extraordinary and are some of best sources for richly styled Rieslings, exotic Gewurztraminers and Scheurebes, and superb Pinot Noirs. Their ancient vineyards of limestone and rich "Terra Rosa" in the heart of the Pfalz wine country grant them a unique place in German wine. Jan Eymael is unquestionably making the finest wines ever produced at this estate.