We've written a bit in passing about Enderle & Moll before, but today we wanted to take the time to emphasize how exciting we find their project in Baden. As the modern face of German wine continues to evolve (and the global climate warms), dry red wines from the southwestern parts of Germany are becoming more and more popular. There is a hefty domestic appetite for the stuff, and Germans seem willing to pay top dollar for over-extracted, concentrated, oaky wines from Baden, Wurttemberg and the Pfalz. We can't even imagine the amount of industrial spoof-machines that must be in some of these cellars to help churn out these wines, which often sell for over 100 Euro a bottle.
Sven Enderle and Florian Moll are the antidote to this. They're two young friends that have been working together since the mid 2000s. They're not interested in making showy, concentrated wines, and they're also not trying to just imitate Burgundy. The goal is to make fresh, singular Pinot Noir that clearly expresses its terroir, and they know that they best way to do this is to take care in the vineyard, and to stay out of the way in the cellar. Thus, they farm their extremely tiny parcels biodynamically (1.8ha back in 2009, now up to 2.1ha; notice the beautiful cover crop in the image to the left). Yields are quite low, and the old vine material they have to work with couldn't be better, averaging 25-55 years in age. They press with an old basket press, after which there's no pumping, minimal racking, and no filtration. The wine is gently rounded with 12-15 months in 228-liter barrel, but they're used barrels from famous producers in Burgundy that constantly want to have new oak and sell off their older stock. These guys are starting an anti-spoof revolution in Baden, and we hope others start to catch on soon, but since most Germans happily drink the mainstream style of Spätburgunder, we get to enjoy some of their extremely tiny production; only around 100 cases are made, and it's all sold either close to home or here in New York.
As the wines are so atypical for Spätburgunder, Sven and Florian don't even bother trying to get an AP number, so they classify the wines as basic table wine. This means the single vineyard sites can't legally be listed on the label so they instead name the wines after the differing soil types Buntsandstein (colored/brown sandstone) and Muschelkalk (limestone with a high proportion of ancient shells). The "Villages" Pinot Noir is a blend of grapes from both sites. A good friend of the shop recently tasted the 2009 Muschelkalk and was bold enough to say that it was better than anything comparably priced coming out of Burgundy today, especially on its second day open. While we wouldn't be quite so categorical, I can certainly sympathize with the sentiment, especially as young-vine Bourgogne Rouges from better producers start to creep up above $50 a bottle.
The wines have round, approachable, fruit, but they are focused, lightly spiced and balanced by great acidity. The generous 2009 vintage was kind to Baden, but it's still consistently much cooler here than Beaune. While some of the '09 Burgundies were a bit hot and disjointed, even clunky to my tastes, these wines find the perfect balance of rich fruit, silken texture, crunchy minerals and fresh, bright acidity. We wish we had more to offer, but with an operation as small as Enderle & Moll, tiny quantities are going to be inevitable. –jfr