Volnay (especially Lafarge), Noel Verset and his glorious Cornas, Beaujolais (especially Foillard) and Eric Texier with his sinewy little tough-guy Côtes-du-Rhône Brézème...
These are the comparisons that come to mind, my gut reactions to Sven Enderle's and Florian Moll's beautiful Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) from Germany's Baden.
The first time Joe and I tasted it, we knew almost immediately that we'd buy all that was available to us.
Because this Pinot Noir carries within it an incredible breadth of expression that leaves you rifling through some of the wine world's most soulful producers as you track the bottle's progress.
This is a simply gorgeous bottle of Pinot Noir, dense with complex flavor, yet with a supple palate, tremendous lift and freshness. And at just about $30, this is a Pinot Noir that drinks at the level of many Burgundies twice the price.
If German Pinot Noir (especially from the Baden) came into the international spotlight with big, inky, muscular profiles, lumbering with concentration and burning with alcohol, there is a new generation that has gone back to the basics - a generation that unequivocally sees Burgundy as its inspiration. Sven and Florian belong in this camp - along with the likes of Klaus-Peter Keller, Caroline Diel and Fritz Becker, to name but the top people.
The point isn't to make Burgundy in Germany (a ludicrous and impossible scenario), but to let the site and the grape speak for themselves.In fact this new generation tends to view Pinot Noir more as "red Riesling" (a quote I take directly from Klaus-Peter Keller). Pinot Noir, like Riesling, is finicky, open to greater disappointments, but... greater heights too.
Pinot Noir is a grape that rewards attention - this is something both Enderle and Moll can indulge their vines in.
The entire estate, in fact, consists of a scant 1.8 hectares of older vines between 25 and 45 years of age. They produce only 1,100 bottles - about 90 cases, total. Sven and Florian farm organically and are heading towards biodynamic practices; yields are kept ludicrously low at somewhere between 25-30 hectoliters per hectare.
EVERYTHING here is done by hand - this is a two-man operation with little more than passion, rigor and what must be a healthy dose of insanity (a blessed combination that should be supported). After Sven and Florian are done basket pressing and letting the wine age in barrels previously used by Dujac and Jayer-Gilles, they bottle the wine - all by hand - without pumping, fining or filtering.
If this all feels a bit too heartwarming, a Hallmark card for the "natural" wine industry, it should be said that there is also plenty of ambition at Enderle & Moll. This much is obvious as soon as you taste the wine.
The 2007 Pinot Noir (an awesome vintage for Pinot in Germany) is fascinating - not in a grand, overwhelming way, but in a way that keeps you digging around and finding more (my 72-hour tasting note is below). Thus the litany of reference-points above: From Verset's Cornas you can find the vivid bramble, the mint and raw earth. From Volnay the elegance, the detail, the fine-line delineation (this fineness increases with 72+ hours).
From Beaujolais the rusticity, the pleasure and joy - the wine's "gulpability." And from Texier's northern Côtes-du-Rhône the fantastical mineral and spice, the quixotic display of dried flowers, of sinewy meat, a framework that miraculously holds more than it seems it should.
For those of you who really know your German Spätburgunder, the closest reference point, both in soil and expression, is Paul Fürst's Pinot Noirs. Fürst's Centgrafenberg Vineyard is dense with colored sandstone ("Buntsandstein," in fact, means colored sandstone). Compared to Fürst's broad-shouldered Pinots, however, the 2007 Enderle & Moll is more delicate - it is supple, while it displays a similar mineral-metal profile.
Eric Asimov of The New York Times wrote a good piece on German Spätburgunder a few months back, inspired by a dinner we threw with Keller and Diel. The biggest lament was the paucity of bottles available in the U.S. He wrote, "The proof that Germany is now making some exceptional Pinot Noirs is there for the tasting, if only more people in this country could taste it."
Here's your chance. We have bought everything we could of Enderle & Moll's 2007 Spätburgunder (only a few cases have been held back for restaurants). Still, as you can imagine, this does not amount to much.
To order, email us at email@example.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.
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Special Email Price: $34.74
No compare-at pricing - there are only 1,100 bottles or so of this in existence!
Special Email 4-Pack Price: $124.00 ($31.00/btl)
For more information, including the interesting story of how two guys from the Baden got into the Mosel Wine Merchant portfolio, click here!
This is a 72-hour tasting note, compiled from two bottles of Enderle & Moll (I take my work seriously) opened over the last week. Both were drank over three days, so this could be called a 144-hour tasting note: "Right out of the gate this wine is spicy, though this is diverse, detailed, from smoke to mint, meat and topsoil, dried grasses, hay, sage, a feathery strawberry flavor. It is airy and expansive on the palate, silky, that fine integration showing itself again, very fine tannins, rounded and polished, a fine acid structure."
"Day two the wine is a bit more serene, more composed, more integrated, though the diversity, the detail of the nose and palate is a bit lost in this new-found "wholeness."
"Day three, BOTH TIMES, the bottle was just firing on all cylinders, a provocative dark purple nose, blackberries with a myriad of spices, sweet and savory at the same time, citrus skin, coffee grounds... just beautiful delicate, supple, with a tannic structure that flashes a bit of flair on the back end, rounding out the flavors and providing definition. The second bottle, on day three, had an ethereal strawberry note, both on the nose and the palate, a delicately saturating flavor that tinged everything a bit beautiful, like a sunset. The flavors aren't intense so much as interwoven, whole, sewn into each other. Just lovely stuff."
2007 Enderle & Moll is in stock!
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