• Baden Benchmark

    Baden Benchmark

    For many years, Germany has been swinging for the fences chasing that home run impact for Pinot Noir to rival Grand Cru Burgundy. In most cases, the results fall well short for me, as the wine's showy full-throttle ripeness and excessive new oak suggest a lack of conviction in the site's potential.

    In Germany, the Baden region seems to be the sweet spot for where Pinot Noir ripens sufficiently, and old vines tend to be planted. Here, the greatest surprise comes from two guys working very much against the grain, with a strong focus toward natural winemaking and only hands-on viticulture. If there's one undiscovered Pinot Noir producer that warrants your immediate attention, this would be the duo.

    Today, I'm happy to offer the Baden Pinot Noir lineup from Enderle & Moll.

    Sven Enderle and Florian Moll began farming 2 hectares of vines in 2007. They had worked in different settings throughout the globe. They came back home to Baden with a clear mission: to work the land in organic and biodynamic viticulture, applying the lightest touch possible in the cellar (they do not use pumps, filters, or fining agents). The two were very lucky to work steep parcels of ancient vines of Pinot Noir, some of the very oldest in Baden. Their exacting approach in both the vines and the cellar has allowed them to use minimal sulphur, highlighting even more fruit's vivid purity within each parcel. 

    On the one hand, the wines are spicy, ethereal, and composed. On the other, the Buntsandstein, in particular, has a power and intensity that brings a great counterpoint. Aging in older barrels directly from Burgundy's Domaine Dujac ensures 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 relatively recent release in the US, critics covering a large spectrum of styles have dialed in here, most notably Jancis Robinson placing them firmly in the "cult" category. Whatever label you want to place on Sven and Florian, one thing is obvious; this is the new frontier of German Pinot Noir. Drawing inspiration from Grand Cru Burgundy is one thing, but the ultimate reason these are such achievements is from a strict focus on their own sense of place and unique style.
    Posted by Max Kogod