How This Collaboration Came to Be…
a summary of the story
In 2020 we made the decision to forgo Pinot Noir production due to wildfires, leaving us with some holes in our portfolio. This “opportunity” gave us some freedom to get creative. We harnessed our flâneuring spirit and looked outside of our region to explore other beautiful examples of Pinot Noir in hopes that our curiosity would uncover something significant.
Indeed it did. In fact, it brought us to a new terroir… an old world terroir.
Introducing Weingut Friedrich Becker of the Pfalz region in Germany!…(continued below)
With the help of the Becker family, we now have two 2020 Pinot Noirs that are unequivocally representative of this world class region. And even more unique, these wines were a result of a collaboration from two world class winemakers; made by them and blended by us.
2020 Flanieren Pinot Noir – Releasing Spring 2023
2020 Spazieren Pinot Noir – Releasing Fall 2023
Russell, our Director of Sales & Hospitality, is to thank for this truly one of a kind and creative collaboration. Back in 2014 he had the opportunity to work a harvest with the iconic second generation winemaker of Weingut Friedrich Becker, Fritz. When we reached out to propose this wild idea of crafting two club exclusive bottlings from Becker, Fritz’s response was an enthusiastic, Yes! Or should we say, Ja! We are beyond thankful to have the opportunity to introduce you to Fritz’ wines. Becker is producing some of the most prestigious wines in Germany, consistently receiving 95-99 point ratings from acclaimed reviewers like James Suckling.
This project that has been thoughtfully brought to life over the last 2.5 years and it’s finally here. We are truly so excited to introduce you to the Pfalz.
The Process & Timeline
Fall of 2020
Weingut Friedrich Becker Produced Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir) from the 2020 vintage. The 2020 vintage was very high quality nationwide. Read more about the 2020 Vintage in Germany.
Summer of 2021
Flâneur sent Becker verticals of La Belle Promenade Pinot Noir and Flânerie Pinot Noir for Fritz to familiarize himself with Grant’s Winemaking style and our estate terroir.
Fall of 2021
Julie Doerschlag, Marty’s wife and talented artist behind the Flâneur label designs, created a new Flâneur label that would be used for this collaboration. She incorporated the Fox from the Becker label with the Flâneur to represent the collaboration.…(continued below)
Winter of 2022
Becker sent Flâneur numerous samples of barrel composites as options for assembling the final blends, Flânieren and Spazieren Pinot Noir. Flâneur’s Winemaking team, Grant and Anthony, as well as Owner, Marty, sat down for a long blending session to craft the wines. The final blends were then communicated to Becker to assemble back in Germany.
Spring of 2022
Becker assembled the wine and on April 20th, bottled just over 236 cases of the Flânieren Pinot Noir and 270 cases of the Spazieren Pinot Noir.
The Architect & The Builder
By Flâneur’s Winemaker, Grant Coulter
“Nobody at Flâneur is afraid of a building project. Whether it comes to transforming a turn of the century grain elevator into a grand hospitality center or converting a 1970’s warehouse into a state of the art winery, we revel in the idea of taking an existing place and making it our own.
When we were presented with the idea of building two unique cuvée’s from the storied cellars of Weingut Friedrich Becker, we got out our tools. Fritz Becker, the 2nd generation winemaker at his family’s estate, was the architect of these 2020 wines and we were the builders. Over the course of months of discussion and finally a selection of barrel samples of the 2020 Vintage we went to work… (continued below)
…The Flanieren is built of stone and timber, deep and rich and with rough cut beams that create the structural pieces that frame the palate. In the center is a large stone fireplace which gives a shock of light that brightens the palette. Tapestries of dark cherries and currents hang from the stone walls that smell of earth, white pepper and slow cooked game.
The Spazieren (released this coming Fall) is a traditional half-timber home adorned with windows that let in sunlight that play across the palate like winter sunlight. The lofty ceilings, made of hand hewn oak, join together like the smells of dusty cherries, paprika and porcini mushrooms. Imagine the center of the home as a rustic kitchen, appointed with iron pots and shelves filled with milled grain, dried cranberries and sassafras in the deep root cellar.
Given time these will become classic structures and needless to say, this was a fun exercise for new world youngsters to build a dream house in the old world.”
Grant, The Builder
(left) Grant Coulter, Flâneur Winemaker
(right) Fritz Becker, Weingut Friedrich Becker Winemaker
Words From Russell
“In 2014 I spent three months living on the Weingut Friedrich Becker property, in the Pfalz, Germany, while working harvest with them. I met Fritz Jr. one year earlier when buying barrels from him for another German winery I was working at in 2013. I was already familiar with their quality, unusual focus on Pinot Noir for the area, and nearly unrivaled reputation that is loaded with accolades of the highest degree from journalists across the board...(continued below)
…One year later I had a one-way ticket booked, again, for Germany! The three months were incredible and I maintain a friendship with Fritz to this day. We chat regularly and have bumped into each other around the globe a few times since 2014.
When the wildfires of 2020 discouraged Flaneur Wines from making red wines, leaving us with a gap, I came to the idea of exploring the world around us and sourcing wine from another region. But what was the link?? Fritz’s wines made perfect sense. Marty, the owner of Flaneur, is German. I have worked there. Fritz focuses on Pinot Noir, and Grant and Fritz loosely mirror each other in their pursuit of quality and experimentation.
Even more perfectly aligned, Fritz over-vintages his wines; meaning he keeps the wine in barrel for extended periods of time. With the 2020 vintage still in barrel Flaneur Wines had the opportunity to create a unique blend, exclusive to us, from Fritz’s cellar. While the raw material and resulting wines are quite unique from the traditional expressions we craft from our estate vineyards, the spirit rings through.”
-Russell Lichtenthal, Director of Sales & Hospitality
The Becker family has been growing grapes in the Pfalz for 7 generations. In the early 1970’s, Fritz… (continued)
Sr. saw the promise in his family vineyards. He and his peers’ love of fine wine drove the decision to cease selling grapes to the local co-op and start producing their own wines. Inspired by quality wines of the world, and modeled after Burgundy (a three hour drive from their estate), the winery was launched. Now with their second generation winemaker at the helm, Fritz Jr., they’re crafting some of Germany’s finest wines, and some of the world’s greatest Pinot Noir.
The Art Behind the Labels
by julie doerschlag
Thoughtfully, Julie studied the fox’s curious demeanor and flâneuring gate to evolve the internationally recognized fox from Becker’s label to fit our own; replacing the turtle.