Plain Wine Volume 2: Der Gute German Wine

This month’s selection features Weingut Schmitt from Rheinhessen, Max Sein Wein from Franconia and Enderle & Moll from Baden.

Illustration by Anna Vu, @goodwinecrapdrawing

Weingut Schmitt
2017 Petillant Naturel Vol. II

Riesling, Pinot Blanc
Rheinhessen, Germany

I’m a big fan of Weingut Schmitt, a 200-year-old winery in Rheinhessen, which is now run by Bianka and Daniel Schmitt, two very young and inspiring humans. They are certified bio-dynamic and have a huge range of wines with no added sulfites. With 16 hectares of wine yards, they are one of the more significant natural wine producers and have made continuously very drinkable and stable wines. I absolutely adore the way they make very approachable Rieslings and even easy drinking orange wines.

For this month I picked their newest Pet-Nat*, which is made with Riesling and Pinot blanc and for me can easily compete with classic sparkling wines. It’s probably very close to a Cremant from Alsace. It smells like a yeasty tea of flowers mixed with quince juice. It has very balanced acidity with lots of yellow fruit and some subtle bitter aftertaste. It should work very well as an apéritif with sweet or savory finger food but also with lighter dishes.

Max Sein Wein
2016 Le Blanc Nu II

Ortega, Müller-Thurgau
Franconia, Germany

I’m fascinated by people like Max Baumann who is probably taking over the winery of his parents very soon. All the land is slowly being transitioned to organic farming. Max himself has toured the world and learned at different famous wineries. Currently, he is working at a famous winery in Austria. Max is making his wines on the side with the help of his father. He has made three different wines for his first vintage, and all are absolutely amazing in their own kind of way.

As much as I love the labels on this one, I hate the condom-like wax cap. Be careful when you open it. Le Blanc Nu II is a very unique white wine made from a little bit of Müller Thurgau and mostly Ortega, a funky grape which is often used for sweet wine. Max left the crushed grapes for 12 days with the skin. They were then pressed and left untouched for 12 months when they were filled into bottles. With just 11 percent of alcohol, it is a very easily drinkable wine reminding me of pear and apple juice with some smoky and nutty flavors. It’s very low in acidity and has some salty aftertaste which I think would make it great with any sort of intense, raw fish like oysters.

Enderle & Moll
2016 Liaison

Pinot Noir
Baden, Germany

Although Sven Enderle and Florian Moll became famous for their reds, I’ve gotten to know them because of their very affordable and brilliantly made white wines. They met in school and realized they have the same approach to winemaking. Slowly they bought land which the conventional wineries didn’t want anymore and ended up with very old and beautiful vines. They farm about two hectares and accordingly their wines are gone very quickly. It’s one of those winemakers that is probably more famous in the US than in Germany, although they are arguably on top of contemporary winemaking.

The Pinot Noir Liaison is made from 45-year-old vines and can easily compete with some of the much more expansive versions from Burgundy. Although this one is actually a fantastic deal for you subscribers because this bottle alone will typically cost 20 Euros or more. I suggest to open this bottle at least an hour before and ideally to decant it. It will reward you with a lovely nose of spicy blackberries and some lighter cranberries. When drinking you might get darker cherries and some five spice aromas. It can easily be combined with many foods from basic pasta to more advanced French food.

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