The RheinlandPfalz region lies to the north of Alsace, between the River Rhine and the Haardt Mountains. Protected by the mountains, it is one of the warmer growing areas, able to ripen its fruit successfully in most vintages which was possibly the appeal to Riesling specialist Ernst Loosen, who has to contend with less predictable conditions on his more northerly home vineyards around Bernkastel. Germany is the third-largest Pinot Nor producing country in the world, and the Pfalz is one of the major regions for this variety. Until quite recently, Germany resisted calling Pinot Noir by its French name, and continued to bamboozle potential aficionados of the varietal by calling it Spätburgunder. Things have now changed. Villa Wolf Pinot Noir is warm and medium-bodied, with a firm acid structure. Its dark cherry fruit is juicy, ripe, and forward, with a spicy mid-palate. Six months of barrique aging gives the wine a smoky depth and a nice touch of earthy tannins.