German Wine Trailblazers

From sommelier Jill Mott:

TRAILBLAZERS WITH TOES IN THE PAST

Produced just across the French/German border, mere kilometers from Alsace are some of Germany’s most sui generis, pristine and tantalizing wines. Here in the Baden region, Pinot Noir reigns as one of the more popular grapes exported (still in minute quantities, mind you) which is why what we’re offering below is so anomalous.

Enderle & Moll wines have been capturing German/natural wine drinker’s attentions for over a decade! Back in 2007, according to Vom Boden importer John Ritchie, they were trailblazers on the non-existent German, more holistic wine circuit supporting sustainable vineyard practices, experimenting with native ferments and bottling with low to no sulphur additions. This was not commonplace 12 years ago, as heavy filtration, conventional yeasts and pesticides are still highly favored in German wine production. Why does E&M kick some serious arse and remain one of Germany’s highly allocated producers? They triumph in their eschewing of dishonorable, spotty cellar work, but these wines are also clean. They’re not the “natty” wines that exhibit quirky bottle variation or ones you wouldn’t pour for a purist friend who loves Chardonnay. They cross boundaries yet remain extremely friendly for those looking to twirl their fingers in the slightly more natural wine pool. Here’s to undefiled freshness!

MULLER THURGAU 2018

This drinks every bit as zingy as Pinot Grigio with a hue of pale eggshell. The nose is delightfully bright and a kind nod towards floral aromatics and spice, common of the Müller-Thurgau grape. Don’t let the umlauts frighten you, in fact, embrace them. This once garden-variety grape used to be used in Liebraumilch, a vapid, insipid white blend popular in the 80s, however, in the hands of folks like Sven Enderle and Florian Moll, MT is being coaxed into an unexpected, refreshing deluge of goodness. In this instance, E&M have harvested a little later (for greater aromatic/flavor development) and macerated the juice on the skins for a short time, increasing the wine’s textural complexities, aromas, and allowing them to use less sulphur. Drink in place of your favorite P. Grigio/Gris or Sauvignon Blanc – you’ll be glad you did.

AUXERROIS 2018

Inevitably, the Auxerrois grape is almost always relegated to a blend of sorts, winemakers not knowing what to do with it other than to over-crop and using it as an extender. Obvi, this is not the case in the instance of E&M, who’ve chosen to flaunt the voluptuousness and smooth nature of this grape. I bet I hear three times a week, “I don’t like Chardonnay.” Well, there are those out there who LOVE a kiss of beautifully integrated oak and a richer wheel house and gals and guys, this wine was made for you to branch out of your Chard realm and still be comfy in the slightly rounder wheelhouse. The wine is dry, the nose smelling of dried peaches, new and used oak, a little vanilla curd, and sourdough. The palate cries for an accompaniment of roasted, lemon/thyme-infused chicken or pasta with clams, butter and Meyer lemon. This may become a new favorite but alas, I don’t think it could be a house wine for there’s too little to go ’round.

GRAUBURGUNDER 2018

If you love lighter reds or heavier, bone-dry rosés, get a load of this release from Sven and Florian! Grauburgunder = Pinot Grigio in Germany. Did you know PG is actually a pinkish grape when fully ripe? Check out the color on this baby! The winemakers have macerated the skins with the juice for 4-5 days and whilst aging in clay, they’ve added a small percentage of the grape skins back into the already fermented wine thus, the wine is practically RED and drinks like it too! I like it in the fridge with a slight chill but not too cold, 20 minutes or so will do the trick and, “Hooo-ahhh,” as Al Pacino would say! Oh so textural and gritty but still refreshing as hell! Thanks and hats off to these Baden geniuses who have crafted the perfect wine to pair with a beautiful vegetarian, red sauce-based pasta or fare infused with Levant spices.

 

Originally aired Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020 on the Morning Show with Emily Reese.


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