For many years Germany has been swinging for the fences trying to create that home run impact of Pinot Noir that rivaled Grand Cru Burgundy. In most cases the results have been wines built upon horsepower of ripeness and excessive new oak, as if compensating for a lack of true conviction in site. The Baden region seems to be the sweet spot for where Pinot Noir ripens sufficiently and old vines tend to be planted. It shouldn't come as a surprise that, here, the greatest success story comes from two guys working entirely by hand in a small cellar and farming very old vines in the most natural approach.
Dubbing these the best Pinot Noirs in Germany after disparaging the entire category isn't really fair I guess, so lets boil everything down here and not mince words: These are among the most detailed, fascinating, and elegant Pinot Noirs being produced anywhere on the planet today.
Sven Enderle and Florian Moll began farming 2 hectares of vines in 2007. They had worked in different settings throughout the globe, and came back home to Baden with a clear mission: to work the land in organic and biodynamic viticulture, and produce the wines in the cellar with the lightest touch possible (they do not use pumps, filters, or fining agents). The two were very lucky to work steep parcels of very old vines of Pinot Noir, some of the very oldest in all of Baden. Their exacting approach in both the vines and the cellar have afforded them the opportunity to use minimal sulphur, serving to highlight even more the purity of fruit of each parcel.
On one had the wines are incredibly spicy, graceful, and composed. But, at the same time the Buntsandstein and Muschelkalk have a power and intensity to them that is a rare counterpoint. Aging in older barrels directly from Burgundy's revered Domaine Dujac ensure these are brought up with the best care possible, given their extreme work on the edge with minimal sulphur.
While the more natural-focused wine crowd has championed these upon their recent release into the US, critics covering a large spectrum of styles have dialed in on these recently, most notably Jancis Robinson placing them firmly in the "cult" category. Whatever label you may want to place on Sven and Florian one thing is very clear, this is the new frontier of German Pinot Noir. There's no reason to emulate Grand Cru Burgundy when the character of your wines impress the very most for their own true sense of place.
2015 Enderle and Moll Müller Thurgau
$19 per bottle.
A very tiny production white from Müller Thurgau blended from Baden and Mosel.
2014 Enderle & Moll "Liaison" Pinot Noir
$34 per bottle.
Planted in 1970 in the Buntsandstein colored sandstone vineyard. Spicy, mineral, and ethereal.
2015 Enderle & Moll Muschelkalk Pinot Noir
$58 per bottle.
Planted in 1953, from a limestone parcel. Fine-grained, energetic, and deeply concentrated.
2015 Enderle & Moll Buntsandstein Pinot Noir
$58 per bottle.
Planted in 1954, from a colored sandstone parcel. More powerful, broad-shouldered, and rich.