Baden is Germany’s southernmost wine region. It comprises a long, slim strip of vineyards nestled between the hills of the Black Forest and the Rhine River, stretching some 400km from north to south. It has many soil types and grape varieties, though almost half of the vineyards are planted with one of the various Pinot varieties. The growing season tends to see plenty of sun and warmth. Although white plantings outnumber reds, about a third of the region is planted to Pinot Noir (Spätburgunder), which can ripen to produce velvety, full-flavoured reds while retaining vibrant acidity. Our Baden producer is one of Germany’s standout Pinot Noir makers: Weingut Bernhard Huber.
The Huber winery is located in Malterdingen in the winegrowing region of Baden in the foothills of the Black Forest mountains in Germany’s deep south west. Pinot Noir has been cultivated in the village for well over 700 years, having been brought there from Burgundy by the Cistercian monks. About two-thirds of the 25 ha estate is given over to Pinot Noir, and from these vines Bernhard Huber made scintillating wines right up to his death from illness in June 2014. This gracious gentleman had taken pointers in the early days from his great friend Jacques Seysses at Domaine Dujac but never tried to make his Pinots taste like Burgundy, instead drawing on those ideas to express the sites around Malterdingen and surrounding villages. I was lucky enough to visit Bernhard on three or four occasions over the last five years and every time came away more and more convinced that these are world-class Pinots by any measure. Winemaking responsibilities have passed to Bernhard’s son Julian, who’s inherited his father’s passion for Baden and dedication to quality.