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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.

Situated on the eastern edge of the Breisgau vineyards, the Sommerhalde vineyard lies next to the Black Forest. It’s a southeast-facing site with reddish ferruginous soil streaked with veins of shell limestone, with very good water-holding capacity. Sommerhalde covers 40 hectares, of which Huber owns 2.15 ha, all of which are classified Grosses Gewächs. It sits at an altitude of 240-300m above sea level and has a slope of between 20% and 50%. Planting density of the old plants is 4,500 vines/ha, while the new plantings are between 7,000 and 9,000 vines/ha. Cool night winds caress the grapes and give them great fruitiness. The south eastern location and the day’s first rays of sun dry the grapes very quickly, which is ideal for Pinot Noir. Average yields for Pinot Noir are 30 hl/ha. The vineyard typically gives great fruit with clear, lively hints of dark berries and plenty of minerality.

The Sommerhalde charms with a seductive perfume of exotic spices, orchard blossom and fine cigar smoke. On the palate things get a little more intense with lashings of fleshy plums and juicy morello cherries making the early running, only to be reined in by flavours of dark chocolate, dust from the grindstone, roasted hazelnuts and a subtle mix of herbs and spices. Still youthful, but already very elegant. Rating: 18/20;  Michael Schmidt - jancisrobinson.com

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