Dennis Wolf Spatburgunder 2020

This is one of two wines included in the Dirt Wine Club. Dennis Wolf’s CV reads like a who’s who of the wine world. Stints working with Klaus Peter-Keller, Ostertag in Alsace, Dagueneau in the Loire, and Chave in the Northern Rhône tell you that this is a winemaker with high standards—so you know you’re getting an above-average German Pinot Noir.

Pinot Noir? In Germany? Indeed. Here it’s called Spätburgunder, and it’s prized in German red wines the way Riesling is in whites. So much so that when we interviewed Burgundy legend Tomoko Bott of Chanterêves, she told us that if she hadn’t moved to Burgundy for love, she would be making Pinot Noir in Germany.

Dennis Wolf’s rendition comes from the Laumersheimer Steinbuckel Grand Gru vineyard in the sunny Pfalz region. It’s a fresh, low alcohol Pinot with vibrant red fruits and gentle oak influence.

Producer: Dennis Wolf

Country: Germany

Region: Pfalz

Grape: Pinot Noir

Tart raspberry, cherry cola, baking spice, and smoke

Then you should try: Pinot from Friuli in Italy or the Loire Valley in France.

- Pfalz is known for winemakers who don’t fit the mold—Dennis is right at home with his use of barrels and lees aging.
- Since it’s sunnier and more protected than other German wine regions, grapes ripen more the Pfalz, leading to riper fruit flavors and softer (but still magnificent) acidity.

Pair With: Grilled Chicken with Marinated Tomatoes and Onions

Adapted from Food & Wine

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
6 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
1 small garlic clove, grated
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
¾ teaspoon black pepper, divided
12 ounces small heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges (about 2 cups)
8 ounces cherry tomatoes and grape tomatoes, halved (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 medium-size red onion, thinly sliced crosswise into rings (about 2 cups)
8 (4-ounce) chicken breast cutlets
Crusty bread, for serving

Step One
Whisk together oil, vinegar, oregano, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl or baking dish. Add tomatoes and onion; toss well. Let marinate at room temperature, tossing occasionally, 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Step Two
Preheat a grill to medium-high (400°F to 450°F). Brush chicken with oil, and season with remaining 11/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Place chicken on oiled grates; grill, uncovered, until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Step Three
Transfer chicken to a cutting board; let rest 5 minutes. Slice as desired, or leave whole. Transfer chicken to a serving platter; spoon tomato mixture and any remaining marinade in bowl over chicken. Serve with crusty bread.