The Growers > Weingut Holger Koch
Holger Koch Bickensohl/Kaiserstuhl (Baden)
Size: 8 hectares
Production: 50,000 bottles
Grapes varieties: Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay
Baden, and in particular the pretty range of hills known as the Kaiserstuhl (‘emperor’s chair’), is the traditional seat of German Pinot Noir production. Holger Koch’s small 8.5 hectare estate lies at its heart. Growing up, he was ambivalent about making wine a career, but under some parental pressure did apprenticeships at estates in Baden, and four years of studies at Geisenheim. But he really fell in love with wine in Bordeaux, under the tutelage of Stefan Neipperg at Canon La Gaffelière, who opened his eyes to its thrilling possibilities. Four years running the famous Franz Keller Schwarzer Adler estate in Baden distilled his experiences into the aspiration to make pure, uncompromising, terroir-driven wines. And so he does.
He took over the family vineyards in 1999, and within five years had replanted half of them with proper clones; now 80% of the estate has been replanted. Its heart is the Herrenstück, with loess soils on volcanic bedrock, which produces cool, balanced reds and whites of great finesse. Always searching to improve quality, he is carefully experimenting with whole-cluster fermentation, skin contact for whites, and the use of new oak, but never at the expense of elegance.