Spatburgunder is a name that few wine consumers know, but it will be on the tip of their tongues after tasting the 2007 Bernhard Huber Spatburgunder.
Spatburgunder is the German name for the wine and grape better known as pinot noir. It is a wine that is rarely found in American markets, but one worth searching for.
Until the late 1990s, Spatburgunders were usually tart, thin wines because German vineyards are too northern for the grape to get sufficient sunshine and warmth to ripen properly.
While global warming might be controversial for some, it is a settled matter for German vineyard owners as they have witnessed warmer weather and riper pinot noir grapes with each passing year.
Two years ago, I traveled to various German vineyard regions for a program of riesling tastings, arguably the greatest place for this noble grape. However, by the end of the trip, I found myself marveling over the high quality of many Spatburgunders.
It was this memory that raised my level of anticipation when opening the bottle of the 2007 Bernhard Huber pinot noir. I was not disappointed.
Huber’s estate is in Baden, the southern point of Germany’s vineyards.
In 1987, Bernhard Huber stopped selling his grapes to the local wine cooperative and began making his own wines. Twenty years later, Gault Millau, the respected French food and wine publication, named him Winemaker of the Year.
Along with that honor, his estate is one of only nine in Germany granted the magazine’s five-star rating.
The first thing you’ll notice about 2007 Bernhard Huber pinot noir is how often you’ll want to inhale the wine’s very enticing cinnamon, tarragon, and strawberry scents.
And as you taste it, you’ll observe that the cherry and strawberry flavors are as pleasing as the aroma. Its acidity is balanced by the ripe fruit, providing a lingering finish and the pleasure of discovering Spatburgunder.
The 2007 Bernhard Huber pinot noir’s combination of aromas and flavors directed my sensory memory towards Burgundy’s Chambolle-Musigny; and the texture and weight of the wine recalled Oregon pinot noir before some of the winemakers in that region ladened their pinot noirs with alcohol and oak.
Bernhard Huber doesn’t filter his wines, so stand the bottle for a day or two and then pour it evenly and gradually, allowing the powdery sediment to remain at the bottom of the bottle.
Or, rinse a piece of cheese-cloth in cold water, wring it dry, and fold twice or three times before pouring the wine through it into a decanter.
Put your glass of the 2007 Bernhard Huber Spatburgunder next to a sauteed pork chop coated with a light mustard sauce; match it with grilled salmon or chicken and sauteed spinach; or seared tuna with a black olive and sun-dried tomato tapenade. All will have you smiling while repeating the word Spatburgunder.
The 2007 Bernhard Huber Spatburgunder retails for about $29.