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  • March 30, 2013
  • Enderle & Moll

  • by Lars Carlberg

enderle_moll_liaison_2011Sven Enderle and Florian Moll—neither from winemaking families, but both of whom trained at Kaiserstuhl to create lithe, energetic Pinot too rarely found in Baden—first met in 2003. After finishing school and completing apprenticeships in Baden and the south of France, they decided to make their own wines. Enderle & Moll’s first vintage was 2007.

They hold a total of 1.8 hectares in the village of Münchweier, in Baden’s Ortenau region, on the western fringe of the Black Forest, some 60 kilometers southeast of Strasbourg. Most of their vines, between 25- and 45-years-old and planted to Pinot Noir, grow in colored sandstone (Buntsandstein) of the south-facing Münchweier Kirchhalden. In addition to a lovely, secluded plot of old vines growing on four small terraces and teeming with life, they have purchased one of the oldest parcels (a mere 0.045 ha) in the region: 60-year-old Pinot Noir vines in shell limestone (Muschelkalk).

All work in the vineyard is done by hand and with a palpable sense of respect and awe for their vines. Their yields are low and vineyard work organic, moving toward biodynamic. Walking through the vineyard, it is easy to see where the Enderle & Moll plots begin and end, so clear is the vitality of their vines and soil.

Sven and Florian are hands-off in the cellar—no attempts at concentrating the must or making the wines dark and glossy—and it shows in the wines. The dozen different parcels, mainly in Kirchhalden, are vinified separately, with one-third whole bunches. Grapes are crushed in an old wooden-basket press and then go into secondhand Burgundian barrels, called pièces, such asfrom Domaine Dujac, for 12 months. Eight weeks before bottling the individual barrels are brought together. Bottling, like everything else, is done by hand. There is no fining, no filtration, and no pumping.

Because they don’t care for the quality criteria for Pinots in Baden—namely the fixation on must weights, Oechsle, and the Prädikat system—they’ve decided to declassify their Pinot Noir as a Tafelwein, or table wine, which legally disallows their right to put the single-vineyard Münchweier Kirchladen on the label. Florian Moll, who lives in nearby Freiburg, thinks it foolish to automatically equate higher Oechsle levels with better quality and that doing so often leads to overripe, high-alcohol wines with lots of extract and a shortage of acidity and delicacy.

This is delicious Pinot Noir of enormous integrity, made with undeniable passion and point of view.

This profile was written with the assistance of Dan Melia in 2011.

  • Besides a recent barrel sample of 2011 Liaison, I only tasted Enderle & Moll’s 2010s pre-bottling a long while ago. The 2011 Liaison reflects the riper vintage and has a more robust southern Rhône aspect, including spices and herbs. I loved the 2008 Pinot Noir. It was light, fresh, and gulpable, like good Beaujolais—an excellent bistro wine. Sven and Florian only made that one wine and put it in a simple Burgundian bottle. Their 2007 Buntsandstein was their first vintage and one of my favorites, as well as the first wine that we imported for the then-Mosel Wine Merchant portfolio. (Crush Wine & Spirits offered this wine to their clients, and Chambers Street Wines had the 2008 and did a write-up on the 2009s.) For the 2009 vintage, they bottled both a Buntsandstein and Muschelkalk, the latter from their newly acquired old-vine plot on shell limestone. Since I last visited a few years ago, Enderle & Moll has a new and more spacious cellar and additional holdings in the village of Münchweier now.

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