The two bottles have begun their existence in a box in my home as a classic wine purchase by-catch. When I buy wine online, I always click through the store a bit and more often than not, I think to myself that this looks quite exciting, reads well and I just order it. Minimalist design, printed on paper, which already suggests the feel in the pictures, looks very eco and a hip name is often enough that it falls into the right category. And the rosé and the bottle of Les Autochtones from Max sein Wein easily fulfill all these points. Max Baumann has been making natural wine in Baden, more precisely in Dertingen, since 2016. Dertingen just not far west of Würzburg by the way. Which might not sound as crazy when you are not from Germany. And also today we spare us the discussion, whether this very far in the northeast located corner of the rest of Baden with quasi-view of the Main should still meaningfully operate as Baden, or not rather as Franconia. Or Tauber Valley. Or as something else, but not Baden, which looks in the head like heat summers at the Kaiserstuhl. That’s why people buy according to appearance, of course, and not according to labeling. At least in my world. Anyway, what are 230 kilometers as the crow flies between my imagination and reality? Exactly. And Max or his wine can’t help it anyway. Max has started to make wine himself after several stations in other wineries. The rosé is made from Pinot Noir, grown on shell limestone, just like the Silvaner for Les Autochtones, of which, after partial maceration on the skins, two thirds are aged in new wood.
The rosé is really berry on the nose, a bit strawberry cream candy, the ones with the white streaks, and just as creamy. That makes what you taste then really unexpected. As creamy as the wine smells, the acidity is lively. This is natural in a good way. Not messy, but indeed pretty wild. The better half thinks this tastes like hipster iced tea with a bit of wood and minimal residual carbonation. With air, there’s more and more structure to it and this drinks so well that getting more than one evening out of the bottle actually borders on self-mortification. Slightly brash berries, peach liqueur, demerara sugar. Basically this is fruit juice for wine drinkers, with minimal residual bubbly for the freshness feel and natural acidity to wake you up. This is not the most complex or serious rosé I’ve ever had in the glass. But certainly the easiest to drink. Fits the title of this blog perfectly. The minimal residual, which had to hold out in the bottle into the second evening for scientific reasons, then, almost as if in defiance, didn’t actually change. Good for it.
The Les Autochtones is a strict contrast program. Zero fruit, something vegetal planty, super hard to describe. And the taste is also extremely difficult to put into words. There’s texture and there’s smoke. It reminds me a bit of cocktails with mezcal and yuzu. But more from the feeling, not directly from the taste. That smoke that’s there, but doesn’t want to smoke right in your face like it does with Islay Whiskey, but instead smokes away in the background and you wonder what it is that you’re actually tasting. Ah yes, smoke that is. Super exciting wine. With air it develops a bit of exotic notes too, some pineapple, further the texture and just the smoke behind it.
And here something also happens overnight. The smoke becomes less, this now seems like very dry lemonade. In the mouth you still have the mezcal feeling, there’s a bit of pear and by now a good amount of creaminess. The contrast with the rosé is enormous, of course. I want to say more strenuous, but that doesn’t hit the mark. Different simply. There’s kumquat, there’s bitter orange marmalade and, still, the smoke. I don’t even know what to compare this to. I like the mouthfeel, I like how this gets softer and softer, I like even more how this still never loses its edge and gets a touch of fruit candy at the end. If you haven’t completely thrown your hands up in horror at the description now, then I can really only recommend giving this a chance. Both wines. I am convinced, you won’t regret that.