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 site. 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 suprise 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 undiscoveredPinot Noir producer that warrants your immediate attention, this would be the duo.
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, 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 very old vines of Pinot Noir, some of the very oldest in 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 vivid purity of fruit within each parcel.
On one had 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 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 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 very clear, 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.
* The production of Enderle & Moll whites is so small there's no reason to fan the flame with an email offer. But, they're as exceptional as the Pinot Noirs, albeit with a hefty dose of indiosyncracy.
Müller-Thurgau "Müller": The Baden fruit fermented for 3-4 days on the skins, the Mosel fruit for just one. After pressing, 30-40% of the grapes skins are added back into the tank and the wine sits on the lees for 8-9 months. Lightly filtered and contains only a tiny amount of sulfur, added at bottling. - importer Vom Boden
Weis & Grau: Close to a 60/40 blend of Weißburgunder and Grauburgunder (Pinots Blanc and Gris) fermented for 3-4 weeks on the skins, pressed and moved to a 2500-liter oak cask. It then matures for 10 months on the lees before a light filtration a minute addition of sulfur at bottling. - importer Vom Boden
2016 Enderle and Moll Müller Thurgau
$20 per bottle.
2016 Enderle & Moll Weiss & Grau
$24 per bottle.
2014 Enderle & Moll "Liaison" Pinot Noir
$34 per bottle.
Planted in 1970 in the Buntsandstein vineyard. Spicy, mineral, and ethereal.
2015 Enderle & Moll Buntsandstein Pinot Noir
$58 per bottle.
Planted in 1954, from the Buntsandstein colored sandstone parcel. Deep, powerful, with great lenghth and refinement.