Wasenhaus - Pure and Precise Pinots from Baden

10/20/20 -

It almost sounds like a nerdy wine joke: two Germans walk into an oenology school in Burgundy and after striking up a friendship decide to make the best Pinots in Baden. Except, this did happen. The pair met in school and after working in vines and cellars of the top domains in Burgundy including Comte Armand, Leflaive, Pierre Morey, and De Montille, started a small estate in Baden dedicated to producing the finest Pinots (both Weissburgunder and Spätburgunder) in the region with distinctive old-clone parcels of old vines. The operation is tiny with just 1.33 hectares. The estate's various parcels are comprised of limestone, clays, loam, loess, gravel, and volcanic soils. They supplement their small holdings with bought-in grapes from organic neighbors.

The whites are pressed whole directly into neutral barrel, and age on the fine lees (as reported by their importer), there is a moderate addition of sulfur after malolactic fermentation occurs. The wines are bottled without filtering or fining. The reds see varying degrees of stem inclusion and are fermented (except for the Nouveau) in open top vats then aged in mostly neutral barrel.

The whites are bright, mineral, layered, and long. The reds are precise and filigreed, with pure fruit enrobing serious soil notes. With oak and sulfur kept to a minimum there is a startling clarity and detail to the wines, and each is a luminous expression of its variety and terroir. Sadly, as with Burgundy, quantities are miniscule. John McIlwain

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