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"I'm a free man and I do what I want to do, and so we are a free winery." - Sven Enderle
I think this is a very apt summary of the work of Enderle & Moll; founded on a collective opposition to the commercial winemaking practices of the Baden region. Sven Enderle and Florian Moll came together in 2007 after working separately for a variety of producers, and despite the pervasive trend of farming for high yields, as cheaply and easily as possible, they sought out older, very low-yielding wines of incredible concentration, and chose to revive them without the use of synthetic treatments. The prevailing preference in their native land of Germany is for Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) to be made in a highly-extracted, powerful, oak-driven style, and their approach could not be more opposite. You could say that their wines are more Burgundian in nature, but the truth is, that is not their intention either. Their mission is to produce wines that speak to the terroir of Baden, just as they are; nothing added, nothing taken away.
The Enderle & Moll Pinot Noir's closely resemble those of Alsace, pale and energetic, as the foothills of the Black Forest are just a jump across the Rhine River. Like Alsace, Baden is the warmest, sunniest region in Germany and as such, it became more popular for red grapes like Spätburgunder than for Riesling, though they do also cultivate a bit of Müller-Thurgau, Auxerrois, and Pinot Gris. Sven and Florian have elected to work with some of the oldest Pinot Noir vines in Baden; dating as far back as the 1950’s. It’s not just the age of the vines that make these wines so compelling, it’s also the soil composition. While many of the plots are sandstone based, the land south of Münchweier is actually lined with shell-limestone as you find in some of the world’s best sites. As well, these vineyards are incredibly steep, which allows for better drainage and forces the vines to dig deep; it also means nearly everything must be done by hand.
Finally able to follow their own conscience, the team farms everything organically with biodynamic practices. Though they may be considered “low-intervention” winemakers, they are very much hands on. Their approach has been to assess each plot and vine according to its own peculiarities and “do justice to [them] through extensive vineyard work”. According to Sven and Florian their work is never static and they are constantly learning and improving, which has led to their wines getting better and better with each vintage. It seems the world is finally starting to take notice of their hard work, and with such small quantities of their single-vineyard bottling these wines will not go unclaimed for long! If you're not ready to commit to the top wines, but would still like to get a taste of their stellar vineyard work and terroir-expressive style, try the charming Pinot Noir 'Basis,' or their “village-level” Pinot Noir ‘Liason.’ Missing from today's email are the fascinating whites and skin contact wines they produce in small quantity (coming later this year!), but for a perfect summer quaffer, try their easy-drinking Müller-Thurgau, ‘Müller.' ** Just added 6/22, we also are getting 2018 Weiss and Grau - too early for a tasting note, but we'll include it in the offer here.
'Liaison' is from 45 to 50-year-old vines planted on both Muschelkalk (shell limestone) and Buntsandstein (colored sandstone) and is a beautiful example of the elegant coupling of these two terroirs. Stephen Bitterolf of Vom Boden (the US importer of Enderle & Moll) wrote the following note on the 2018: “Liason” is something like the “1er Cru” bottling for Enderle & Moll. This wine is deep; we’re talking Mariana Trench deep... The nose goes from strawberry and raspberry all the way to dark, earthy crushed berry and cassis; this is an example of a wine with just superb density and definition. The glycerin-rich fruit coats the herbal, kitchen spice aromatics that the whole range flaunts, yet here it is better integrated than in almost any bottle other than the Grand Cru “Muschelkalk.” The palate is wound up, coiled up, taut and angry. The relative generosity and depth of the nose is turned inward here, showing phenolics and minerality and super-fine tannins. Fun to drink now with food, this is going to develop into perhaps one of the best Liasons from Enderle & Moll. Try and be patient; if drinking young, decant. (Thanks for the note Stephen!)
Note from importer website: Buntsandstein is “colored sandstone” – the vines here are a bit younger, somewhere around 60 years old. This wine is a bit wider, a bit more enveloping. On the palate the general register is similar to the Muschelkalk, yet it is more silky, a little more serpentine in structure. It shows a really lovely spectrum of red fruit on the palate really well integrated into soil and spice and structure. Probably showing the most complete right now though still very young. - (thanks for Stephen Bitterolf for the note)
Young-vine Müller-Thurgau from both estate vineyards and fruit from Stefan Steinmetz, three days of skin contact. Tropical aromatics, ginger, and florals on the nose, the palate is ripe and spicy with notes of apricot skin, yellow apple, sandalwood, and juicy pineapple. Cari Bernard
Importer technical note: 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. 333 cases produced.
Sven Enderle and Florian Moll work their two hectares of vines organically with biodynamic treatments— a rare occurrence in their region, where quality often takes a backseat to quantity. The Basis is their entry-level Pinot, from 30-year-old vines on sandstone, limestone and loess. For a "basic" wine, it's pretty impressive in 2018, with some power and maturity, generous fruit and good balance/acidity. No need to wait on this one, but there's a sense that it should be really integrated and quite elegant in a few years. -Eben // Our friend, and importer, Stephen from Vom Boden writes: "A wild, earthy and crushed berry nose; a kitchen pantry of cooking spices. Crushed dark berry fruit, edged by a delicate bright lemon citrus that gives definition and lift. Crush-able. "
Note from importer website (thanks Stephen!) : This is sourced from vines 70+ years old, planted on solid limestone (Muschelkalk). This is one of the oldest parcels of Pinot Noir in Germany. Right out of the bottle there is a dark, compact black cherry nose; it quickly begins to show the soil, a sandy, iron-rich nose, earth and dried spice. You feel the energy and freshness and structure of the limestone, unquestionably. The palate is very compact as well, bound up and full of energy: a tense red cherry core, very sharp and energetic, really super-fine with an almost meaty edge to it. The freshness is accentuated by a sappy dark green pine needle. Really fine, drying tannins, very grippy and incisive. Spicy long finish. But wow this is structured. - (Stephen Bitterolf)