In Germany, the area under Pinot Noir cultivation has grown steadily in recent years to encompass almost 12,000 hectares. That makes Germany the third largest producer of Pinot Noir in the world. As with Riesling, Pinot Noir prefers cool climates so that it has a longer maturing period to combine flavours and acidity. The resulting harmonious balance is why German wine regions are so well-suited to Pinot Noir production. The variety was brought to Germany from Burgundy already in the 14th century. Ambitious German wine-growers have elevated German Pinot Noir to the ranks of the very best red wines thanks to yield reduction, longer mash periods and masterly nurture in the large wooden or small Barrique barrels. The overall impression of German Pinot Noir is of a charming, light, sweet fruitiness with hints of raspberry, strawberry and blackcurrant. The wines usually contain relatively low levels of tannins and pigments compared to other red wine varieties. They are notable for their fruity acidity and smooth, elegant structure. German Pinot Noir is ideally served with ham, roast beef, hearty terrines and pies. 12% of Germany's vineyard area is devoted to Spatburgunder, primarily in Baden, Pfalz or Rheinhessen; it accounts for over half the plantings in the Ahr.