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The Huber winery is located in Malterdingen in the winegrowing region of Baden in the foothills of the Black Forest mountains in Germany’s deep south west. Pinot Noir has been cultivated in the village for well over 700 years, having been brought there from Burgundy by the Cistercian monks. About two-thirds of the 25 ha estate is given over to Pinot Noir, and from these vines Bernhard Huber made scintillating wines right up to his death from illness in June 2014. This gracious gentleman had taken pointers in the early days from his great friend Jacques Seysses at Domaine Dujac but never tried to make his Pinots taste like Burgundy, instead drawing on those ideas to express the sites around Malterdingen and surrounding villages.

Huber’s holdings in the Bienenberg vineyard were planted in the 50s and 60s with primarily German clones. They are the oldest on the estate. Of the approximately 130-hectare Bienenberg Vineyard, Huber owns 15 hectares. Of this, about 10.45 ha is classified Grosses Gewächs. The soil is yellow-reddish shell limestone. The aspect is south-east to south-west. Part of the vineyard is on a 15% slope and part is on small, steeply ascending terraces (up to 60% gradient). The average vine age is between two and 53 years and yields are around 30 hl/ha.The Pinot Noir is marked by red fruits with hints of violets. Equipped with power and elegance, it takes time to play out its potential.

Quite reserved in its fragrance, the Bienenberg nevertheless grants delightful glimpses of bramble, blackberries and bonfire smoke. The palate is far more generous and reflects the Bienenberg’s proximity to the Black Forest by a gateau-like richness of sweet cherries, but although the fruit is juicy and the texture creamy, assertive tannins and healthy acidity make sure that the wine is not lacking in structure. Rating: 17.5/20; Michael Schmidt -  jancisrobinson.com

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