German pinot noir? Ja--German pinot noir! If I’ve ever tasted a reason to break free from grape-variety orthodoxy and drink outside the accustomed box, this is it: The Weingut Bernhard Huber Pinot Noir 2007 from Baden (just east of France, toward the center of the map above), a dead ringer for a well-crafted Gevrey-Chambertin and a wonderful, supremely self-possessed example of how far this too-long-maligned varietal-and-country combination has come.
Ask the naysayers and they’ll tell you that German pinot tends toward the hard-edged and sulky. This wine, however, puts the lie to that claim with resonant finality. Its nose is all lovely cherries, flowers, and hints of horseradish with a fleeting undertow of cigar humidor. These follow through to a palate that’s bursting with bright, still-quite-primary cherry fruit, root beer, and brown spices, all of it lifted by bright acid and given delicate structure by well-integrated tannins. For all its apparent youth, though, this is a pinot possessed of a telltale silky texture and a promise of several years of evolution in its future.
Sometimes, drinking outside your comfort-zone is the best way to find vinous bliss.