December is a great time to reflect. What worked well? What could be done better? How can we achieve this next year? It’s also a great time to step outside the realm of Riesling production at the Mosel. One of my biggest fears as a Riesling producer, is developing a ‘cellar palate.’ Because we work so intensely with one variety, adaptation can lead to acceptance – losing your ability to be critical. Exposure is the key. A colleague, Daniel Vollenweider, had invited me to a Burgundy tasting he was hosting. I knew Daniel had acquired much knowledge through a passion for Pinot Noir from Burgundy. Without further delay, I reserved my seat with Pinot&so and took the sensoric journey through Côte d’Or and Côte Chalonnaise……wow, what a trip! If you find yourself all Rieslinged out whilst at the Mosel, expose yourself by visiting Pinot&so in Traben Trarbach.
Below are a few questions I had for the team at Pinot&so:
Who is Pinot&so?
Daniel Vollenweider, Riesling winegrower; Roland Hölzenbein, a true Mosel guy out for red experiences, and Peter Wurm, Berlin based wine-photographer and grafic artist deeply in love with the Mosel and Burgundy.
Why Pinot Noir?
Other than Riesling (plus Silvaner and some Piemont varieties) the most interesting grape for our taste – a red with as much delicatesse as it’s got muscles. Perfectly balanced between refinement and being straight forward, more firm than the Bordeaux styled wines, and singular, unimmitable.
Describe Burgundy in one sentence:
Still the best place to grow Pinot Noir – forgive me, all you other regions …
Which characteristics do you  look for in a Pinot?
Delicacy combined with strength, etheric fruitiness underlined with minerality, seductivity with a hint of intellectual challenge.
How do you choose your Burgundian producers?
Recommendations, own research in the British and French wine journals. And sometimes, chance helps, like picking a good glass in a vinotheque.
When is the best time to visit the region?
Any time from May to October … depending on what you expect. During harvest (late September to mid October), tastings may be a bit hard to arrange … Winter or spring may be better for cellar visits.
What should I eat when I get there?
Try the typical dishes: Sausages, Beef Bourgouignon, Pâtés, Quiches … In Beaune, there is also a special Gingerbread, and in Dijon, mustard is a typical.
But good look if you’re vegetarian. The Saturday market in Beuane is highly recommended for a visit.
Which wines would you recommend I buy to get an overview of the region?
Red: A Mercury, a Volnay, Beaune or Pommard, a Nuits-St-Georges, Morey-St.-Denis or Gevrey-Chambertin.
White: a Pouilly-Fuissé, a Rully, a Meursault or a Chablis. But keep in mind that like with the reds, the higher qualities need quite a few years to show up their full potential.