As you’ll soon see in the pictures below, this wine is clearly labeled as something other than the name I use here in title of this post, but who among you could resist such an opportunity so presented to you? Anyway, In Germany, a world-famous, “International” superstar grape variety called Pinot Noir is known by the plainly German names Blauburgunder (literally “Blue Burgundian”) as well as Blauer Spatburgunder, or sometimes just plain Spatburgunder (pardon the missing umlauts over the a’s).
Germany is not the first place that comes to mind when thinking about red wine, let alone the infamously fussy Pinot Noir, but the fact that it goes by at least three German-language names tells you that Pinot Noir has been here quite a while…And where “here” is in this particular case is the deep southwestern German wine region of Baden. Traditionally, there are just a few German wine zones that are warm and/or sunny enough to reliably ripen red grapes sufficiently to make dry red wine, but Baden has always been one of them. Along with Blauburgunder, Baden’s vineyards are planted to other Teutonically associated red vines like Lemberger (a.k.a. Blaufrankisch) as well as the very successful crossed variety Dornfelder, and the very confusingly named Blauer Portugieser (some other time) as well as a few others…
Baden’s long growing season, and quite sunny weather (for Northern Europe) can produce some pretty hefty reds at that, and this wine’s a pretty good example of that ability, even if it is in the form of the decidedly femminine Pinot Noir . It’s no hot-weather California fruit bomb, mind you (thank God), because unlike those monsters, it actually tastes like Pinot Noir, but Baden Pinot typically sports a more corpulent frame than many an actual Burgundy does, and dare I say it, a more reliable if somewhat less exciting product when the wine’s finally in the bottle. This particular wine weighs in at a pretty solid 13% alcohol, and shows a lot of that Baden muscular solidity in the mid-palate, as well as a drinkability that doesn’t in any way suppress “typicity”…And what makes this wine all the better is that it’s bottled in a 1 liter package with a metal screw-cap like an old time 2 liter soda bottle. Take it on a picnic, or decant it and fool your friends…
Soup – Green Pea
Main Course – Breaded and fried chicken cutlets baked with Black Forest ham and cheese
Side Dish – Cauliflower braised with butter, savory, and garlic
Joachim Heger Baden Pinot Noir 2010
Almost transparent blackish ruby color. Evolvingly complex nose of loam and wet rocks, black cherry and raspberry fruit, briar wood, and roasted chestnuts, with a delicate but pervasive perfumy aromatics over-arching. The palate is smooth, ripe, and hefty but still very well balanced by fine tannins and a fresh acidity that shows off flavors of watermelon, cranberry, subtle blueberry, black pepper, cocoa, Asian spices, and boiled fennel. Quite long and softly dry marzipan finish.