Black Forest Chorus of Great Taste
Any mention of the Black Forest conjures up images of that famous chocolate layer cake made with real, not “ersatz” whipped cream, and cherries, which is infused with Kirschwasser, a tasty clear eau-de-vie distilled from cherries. Then there’s Black Forest ham, which no respectable dinner table or Kaiser bun should do without—but don’t dare forget your favorite mustard to add a little zip to your lip. Then there are cuckoo clocks, a major industry of the Black Forest region, which tourists take with them all over the world to help them tell time in an entertaining manner.
But between the dark evergreen forests and the Rhine River lies a huge expanse of vineyards identified by the Baden appellation. With 8,500 hectares, it is Germany’s largest and southernmost wine region. Bordered by France’s Alsace on the west, and Switzerland to the south, it is part of the Allemanisch language group. Only the Rhine River separates them physically. They all share a common Germanic dialect, cuisine, culture, and preference for dry wines. No wonder Baden has the highest concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants outside France. Germany is the third largest producer of Pinot Noir in the world with 11,700 hectares; and Baden, in turn, is Germany’s largest production area with one half the acreage.
The Koenigschaffhausen-Kiechlinsbergen Winery has extensive southern-facing, steep vineyard holdings on the Kaiserstuhl, an extinct volcano in southern Baden. It has been named “Best Pinot Noir Producer in Germany” by the critics several times for a reason. Ontario consumers may savour their Steingrüble single vineyard Pinot Noir from the outstanding 2019 vintage, now available at LCBO Vintages. At $18.95 it represents excellent value. With low yields and up to one year of oak aging, we have a characterful dry red with spicy, berry fruit flavours gently lingering in the bouquet and on the palate. Oh, and do pair it with a baked Black Forest ham.
2019 Koenigschaffhauser Steingrueble Trocken Pinot Noir LCBO #460410, $18.95.