Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Tasting at Weingut Bernhard Huber in Baden, with Yquem Viehauser and Julian Huber – Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)
The Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015) covered 3 German wine areas (Baden, Pfalz and Rheinhessen) and Alsace. 4 of the 5 producers we visited in Baden (Salwey, Franz Keller, Dr. Heger and Bernhard Huber) were in the southern part of Baden, near the town of Freiburg. Colmar in France is at the same latitude and in fact, you could see the vineyards of Alsace.
I already provided an overview about the tour here: Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)
This posting focuses on our visit of Weingut Bernhard Huber.
Yquem Viehauser, a Geisenheim University educated winemaker (and daughter of a famous German Chef) was our host.
A tasting of Bernhard Huber wines was at the center of our visit. But we also met up with Julian Huber, who is in charge of Weingut Bernhard Huber, in the cellar.
Not so long ago, Der Feinschmecker, the leading German food and wine journal, carried an article about German red wine. Its message was that Germany had established itself as a serious red wine country during the past 30 years. Der Feinschmecker portraited 10 winemakers behind this wine revolution. One of them was the late Bernhard Huber. It is not for no reason that he was Gault Millau’s wine producer of the year in 2007.
Bernhard Huber, only 53 years old, died in June 2014 after a battle with cancer. His son Julian Huber, assisted by his mother Barbara Huber has taken over.
The Huber Estate is located in Malterdingen in the Breisgau area. More than 700 years ago, Cistercian monks came to Malterdingen, and found the same terroir as in Burgundy and thus started to plant Pinot Noir grapes. Still today, in many reference books on grape varieties, “Malterdinger” is used as a synonym for Pinot Noir.
Although the vineyard has been in the family for several generations, Bernhard and Barbara first began estate bottling, when they took control in 1987 from his father. Before that, grapes and wine were sold to a local cooperative.
In 2004 Bernhard Huber started “Reserve” wines bottled from vineyards individually. Before that, his top wine was a mix of vineyard sites.
The vineyard area totals 26 hectares, with holdings in the Bienenberg (Malterdingen), Schlossberg (Hecklingen) and Sommerhalde (Bombach) sites. 70 % is planted with Pinot Noir, the rest with Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Auxerrois, Freisamer, Muskateller, Müller-Thurgau, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
The red wines always ferment on the skin and lay in the oak barrel for up to 18 months before bottling. Weingut Huber has about 600 barrique barrels and replaces about 150 barrels each year.
A lot of the wines are in the 20, 30 or 40 Euro category. Weingut Huber is clearly interested in super premium wines and not in day-to-day easy drinking wines.
Wine critic Panos Kakaviatos: Although the price tag is (very) steep for people not familiar with quality German Pinot (over 100 euros per bottle), the Wildenstein 2011, coming from just over 2 hectares of vines, exuded vivid perfumed violet and lead pencil – a very elegant yet concentrated wine that beguiles winelovers. It was easily the best German Pinot Noir I have ever tasted and I want to put it into a blind tasting of top Burgundies and see how it does.
The Huber Estate is a member of the VDP and the Deutsches Barrique-Forum association.
2007 Weingut Bernhard Huber Rose brut nature
2012 Weingut Bernhard Huber Spätburgunder
Made from yields of about 60 to 65 hectolitres per hectare for this intro wine, from 3- to 12-old vines. The malolactic is done in older 225 litre barrels.
2012 Weingut Bernhard Huber Malterdinger Spätburgunder
Lower yields at 50-55 hectolitres per hectare, made from older vines between 12-25 years old. Unfiltered. A different clone used which explains a noticeably lighter colour – and a rather tart style.
2012 Weingut Bernhard Huber Alte Reben Spätburgunder
A noticeable step above this old vine Pinot Noir, made from 25- to 60-year old vines. It clocks in at about 13% alcohol, with 35 to 38 hectolitres per hectare. It is aged 9 to 10 months in new oak then racked into one-year old barrels. There is a touch of sweetness from the new oak but mostly harmonious.
2012 Weingut Bernhard Huber Bienenberg Spätburgunder GG
Same winemaking as with the Old Vines wine, but slightly lower yields at 30 hectolitres per hectare from 6 prime parcels in the Bienenberg vineyard.
2012 Weingut Bernhard Huber Sommerhalde Spätburgunder GG
Another great growth, also from five parcels but the main one is facing the Black Forest, so a cooler terroir.
2013 Weingut Bernhard Huber Grauer Burgunder trocken
2013 Weingut Bernhard Huber Weisser Burgunder trocken
2012 Weingut Bernhard Huber Chardonnay trocken
Let me quote Panos Kakaviatos: All in all a magnificent visit to what is indeed a legendary German domain. Any serious and passionate wine lover who is visiting the Baden region in Germany or Alsace, France should contact the domain and schedule a visit and tasting.
Postings on the Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015) (Posted and Forthcoming)
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