The Winemaker and the Fox
Dima and Misha are going on a hunt. A hunt for gentle foxes. A wilful fox that made her tail fly on the label of Friedrich Becker’s Spätburgunder shows the whole world who you need to be to grow Pinot Noir in Germany rather than Burgundy. And you need to be a Pfalz landowner whose ancestors wouldn’t even imagine that this particular slope on the edge of the forest is ideal for winegrowing. Huge limestone reservoirs – heirs of prehistoric geological catastrophy, – and thick mountain forests of Pfalz create an inimitable terroir where Pinot Noir grows ripe a little later, but even more expressive than its Burgundian kin. That’s exactly what Friedrich Becker – descended from a family of farmers – realised. And he chose Pinot Noir as his main goal and advantage. When he poured his first bottle of Spätburgunder in 1973 he was met with both disputes and derision: the local tradition didn’t have the usual standards of winemaking. Well, what does he care for idle talk, if his wine from the very beginning had elegance, great body and a rare range of balanced tastes. Today the big family of Beckers is working away on its patrimonial winery, making one of the best Pinot Noirs in Germany. Foxes prowl about between the vines – they’re interested in chickens, not the grapes. Sometimes they actually get chickens as a prize for striking without a miss. It’s in the local nature, confident and cunning.