Sun-drenched and brimming with bonhomie (and a healthy pinch of hedonism!), the southwestern area of Baden is the third largest and the warmest of the German wine regions. Blue-skied and rich in history, Baden boasts pretty towns like Heidelberg, Karlsruhe, Baden-Baden and Freiburg plus luxurious spas and delicious cuisine. The story of winemaking goes back a long way here with medieval records showing nobility patronizing the trade from the 12th century. While Baden offers the perfect weekend getaway for its culture and cuisine, what draws us back time after time is its marvelous array of red and white wines.
This southwestern region stands out on the wine map for its quirky L-shaped, 400 km tract made up of nine subregions covering 16,000 hectares of vineyards. Extending between the Rhine River and the Black Forest, Baden is famed for its world-class reds. Spätburgunder, known outside Germany as Pinot Noir, rules the roost with 33% of vineyard plantings. Expressions of this varietal are dry and highly acidic with earthy notes and a sweet plummy finish. While Pinot Noir dominates as a varietal, a mix of whites take up 60% of vineyards. These wines are pale lemon to golden in color and renowned for their dry minerality and acidity.
The sub climates in Baden are diverse. From one vineyard to the next, the orientation toward the sun and the all-important terroir changes as do the varietals. In northernmost Tauberfranken and Kraichgau, Rivaner, Riesling and Pinot Meunier reign. In the middle of the Ortenau, Pinot Noir, Riesling (or Klingelberger) and Spicy Gewürztraminer (also known as Clevner) grow, and in the south, Breisgau red and white pinot is the mainstay. The ancient variety Gutedel grows in Markgräflerland while Lake Constance yields Pinot Noir and Müller-Thurgau.
The overall picture we take away is that of sun streaming down the valleys and glistening on the Rhine all courtesy of the protection of the Black and Oden Forests. This extra dose of light results in fuller-bodied and higher alcohol content wines than the rest of Germany. Baden is the only wine area in Germany to have earned the European Union Category B winemaking zone stamp. In short, this means the grapes are naturally extra sweet! This is one of the reasons we love them
Baden is rich in wine festivals with over 100 events taking place up and down this unique region each year. In spite of such world-class winemaking though, Baden wines have not traveled as far in fame as those from nearby Alsace, the renowned wine region in France located just across the Rhine. We know that Baden wines, with their diversity, depth and flavor, deserve wide appreciation and accolades. It is tempting to keep them to ourselves, but we cannot be so selfish when it comes to fine wine so will continue to share everything we know about this cheerful wine region with you!