Becker

Region: Pfalz

Newcomer of the Year in 2006 and for eight of the last nine years the estate produced Germany’s top Pinot Noir as chosen by Gault-Millau. For many years now, the Becker estate located in Schweigen, very far south of the Pfalz on the border of Alsace, has been one of the top Pinot Noir producers in Germany. The best Becker Pinot Noirs compare favorably with the best Burgundy has to offer.

In 1973 when Fritz Sr. took over the estate from his father, he stopped selling grapes to the local co-op and started bottling and selling his own wines. He was also one of the first that independently, but in parallel with Dr. Heger, Fürst and Meyer-Näkel, started using barriques for his Pinots. In the beginning he was very frustrated trying to successfully in his words “transferring the gift of nature into fine wine”, as his colleagues in France had been doing for many years!

In 2005 Fritz Jr. took over the winemaking at the estate and his father continued to oversee the outside vineyard work. In 2007, the Beckers started to work with lower must weights more in the range from 92-98 Öchsle rather than previously with 100 Öchsle or more. They learned that physiologically ripe fruit needs acid more than additional sugar.

Almost 70% of their vineyards are located in Alsace. The fruit for their Grosses Gewächs Pinot Noirs comes from two great sites: the Kammerberg, a steep single vineyard near Wissembourg was recovered by Fritz Sr. in 1966. The old vines with mostly German clones and some French grow on deep marl lime soils that produce powerful but also refined, mineral driven Pinot Noirs (it is all about the dirt here!); the other Grand Cru is the St. Paul cultivated in the 14th century by the Cistercians of Wissembourg. The site had since become overgrown but the Beckers uprooted trees and bushes in early 2000 and planted a mix of Pinot clones from Dijon and the German Marienfelder clone. The first vintage was harvested in 2004 and even then the Pinots were very fruit driven (the Dijon clones) but with lots of finesse and refinement.

St. Paul Pinots are released two years and the Kammerberg three years after the vintage. The Beckers also produce a Riesling Grosses Gewächs from the Sonnenberg with “poor” limestone soils that brings a surprisingly light and elegant wine. In addition a series of very good Pinot Blancs (a lot of limestone here!), a superb Gewürztraminer and an interesting red, “Guillaume” (a cuvee of Cabernet, Merlot, Dornfelder and Pinot Meunier).

From the 28 ha the Beckers produce over 12,000 cases annually. Plantings are 60% Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, 22% Riesling, and the remaining 18% includes Silvaner, Gewürztraminer and Muskateller.

Estate Profile

Owner

Fritz Becker Sr.
Fritz Becker Jr.

Wine Makers

Fritz Becker Sr.
Fritz Becker Jr.

History

Fritz Becker Jr. is the 7th Generation

Growing Area

28 hectares

Bottle Production

12,000 cases

Vineyards

Kammerberg (1.5ha)
St. Paul (1ha)
Sonnenberg (1.2ha)
Wormberg (1ha)
(Above represents only holdings in top sites)

Soils

Kammerberg – Heavy, deep, topsoil with limestone
St. Paul – Loose top soil with pure limestone
Sonnenberg – Limestone soils
Wormberg – Heavy top soil with limestone

Varietals

60% Pinot Noir, Blanc, Gris
22% Riesling
18% Silvaner, Gewürztraminer and Muskateller

Wines

Becker Family Pinot Noir
Becker Family Pinot Gris
Becker Family Pinot Blanc
Becker Pinot Noir, Schweigener
Becker Pinot Noir GG, Sankt Paul
Becker Pinot Noir GG, Kammerberg
Becker Mineral Chardonnay

Dry vs Sweet

95% Dry
5% Sweet

Cellar

French Oak
German Oak

Eco-Friendly

Sustainable vineyard practices

VDP Member

Member since 2000

Trade Resources

2015 Becker Family Pinot Noir

2018 Becker Family Pinot Gris

2018 Becker Family Pinot Blanc

2015 Becker Pinot Noir, Schweigener

2015 Becker Pinot Noir GG, Sankt Paul

2015 Becker Pinot Noir GG, Kammerberg

2016 Becker Mineral Chardonnay