Bernhard Huber - Alte Reben 2017

We drink a bottle of Spätburgunder Alte Reben from 2017 from the Huber Winery in Malterdingen, Baden.

As already announced, we remain a bit in Baden and also move geographically within Baden only a little further in the direction of north-west from Ihringen to Malterdingen. It’s hard to get past what Julian Huber at Weingut Bernhard Huber brings to the bottle in terms of Burgundy varieties when you’re dealing with Baden. It’s been quite a while since we’ve had the entry into the Ortswein qualities. This time, we switch from white to red and reach one step higher on the shelf. Namely, the Pinot Noir Malterdinger Alte Reben, which is also classified as a Ortswein. The vines for the wine stand on shell limestone with a layer of clay on top. The wine is matured in barrique with about one-third new barrels.

Immediately upon opening, one is greeted by a slight stink. There’s spice in the wine and actually quite a bit happening overall. The slightly reductive stink also swirls away pretty quickly and becomes a smoky, herbal fruit that is just more berry than cherry. To this we smell a note of lilac. In the mouth, the wine feels very cool and the gentle, quite soft tannin makes it really charming. Together with the fine acidity and the cherry fruit on the tongue, this is a more than successful start.

And it is this blend of fruit, smoke, spice in its delicacy, clarity and elegance that became much more beautiful on the second evening. We have some lactic on the nose, some sandalwood, plums and wild berries. In the mouth, meanwhile, the fruit is so clear and juicy that you just want to down the glass. We don’t, of course, but less out of cultivated self-control and much more out of anticipation of what else may be coming. The acidity doesn’t exactly make it easy. It is so unbelievably juicy and the tannins give very fine structure, but slow down zero. I am sure that this wine still has a lot of time ahead of it. The way it’s drinking right now, though, I couldn’t care less. I can’t get my nose out of the glass, which is getting empty way too fast despite all the slowness.

We made it though, and a third evening with the wine is happening. Have I mentioned how incredibly great the fruit is in the mouth? The mix of cherry, plum, leather, herbs, lilac and wood on the nose? How often something new just keeps coming around the corner? How the wine playfully combines pretension and being a Saufwein? Yes? But you can’t say that often enough. And of course, you can put the wine in large containers in the cellar and wait how it develops. But you can also pour it into your glass right now and sing a love song to this wine. I am happy in any case.

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