On Monday 6th February Kathryn, and her beautiful assistant Matt, showed the WING group 6 wines from Baden. I think this is the first time we’ve ever focused on a German area other than the Riesling strongholds of the Rheinland or Mosel, and that grape didn’t feature in the wines we tasted from this rather more Southern area – lying at similar latitudes to Alsace.

Most of Baden runs along the East side of the Rhine for about 250 miles (400 km): from near Heidelberg in the North – past Karlsruhe, Baden-Baden and Freiberg – to the Swiss border in the South. There is one district (Bereiche) miles to the East on the banks of Bodensee (Lake Constance), and another many  miles to the North-East bordering Franken. The 7 other districts run along that sheltered North-South rift – 5 of them South of Baden-Baden and mirroring the Alsace vineyards on the West side of the Rhein.

Here’s a map of the Baden Bereichen, marked in Purple… Kaiserstühl is probably the best known, and produces the richest wines…
The Baden Wine region is the largest by total area and the third largest by area-under-vine in Germany. It accounts for about 16% of German wine. The Burgunder (Weiß-, Grau and Spät-) [= Pinot (Blanc, Gris & Noir)] are the main grapes here – accounting for about 55% of production. The area is warm, by German standards, and certainly the most promising for red wines…

Kathryn showed a Blanc, two Gris and 3 Noir – representing the region pretty well proportionately.

Again, like last November, I could only arrive at roughly half-time in this tasting so my time with the wines was compressed, accordingly my notes are composited with Kim’s: here they are:

This has an over-ripe fruit pungency, passing into melon and then a confectionery hint. The palate has Pinot Blanc softness with a warm citrus acidity and a saline minerality, giving interest. Drier than many Alsace examples but it is Pinot Blanc…

An aged golden colour, showing a hint of sweetness on the nose with typical PG smokey hints. There is some acidity but the wine shows a heavy nutty and oily character with peachy fruit rather overcome. Perhaps slightly dulled with age it shows many secondary flavours.

Very Alsace nose, with smoke, peach, floral… hints. The palate has a vibrant acidity counterbalancing a little sweetness in the wine very well. Fresh, long and satisfying a very good wine!

Bouquet of herbs, some oak, and red fruit – in the cherry spectrum. Palate has juicy fruit, echoes of herb and oak, but a bit “linear” and simple.

Darker colour, spicy first on the nose, then some herb and red berries… Palate has mineral and plum-skin tannins, overlaying rather than supporting the red fruit. Interesting though, the oak is unobtrusive and opens a little with time to show redcurrant hints. Very pleasurable!

This has some new wood vanilla on the nose with herbs strawberry fruit. The palate has watery fruit and oaky tannins, separate rather than integrated: the acid line giving way to, rather than underpinning, a sweet finish.

The three  Salway wines are from Tanners, and the other three (which on the whole, I preferred) are from the Wine Society…

Thanks so much Kathryn and Matt for such  an interesting exposition of a little known region.

Until next time…