Fritz Wassmer has done it again! Last year he took the over-£10 Pinot Noir Regional Trophy in the Decanter World Wine Awards with his Spätburgunder XXL 2007. This year his 2009 walked off with the International Trophy. The tasting notes evoke ‘raspberries, wild herbs, sweet spices – fragrant and luscious with a crisp but soft mouthfeel. Delicate long and graceful with excellent length and a fine texture’, and conclude (wistfully?) that it’s not available in the UK (or, presumably, the US).
This could be seen as a problem (if you’re a UK- or US-based reader). On the other hand, it provides a cast-iron excuse to get yourself over to Baden for a taste of this fine wine. And that’s not too much of a hardship, given what a great wine region this is turning out to be. Add to that the fact that the food has come on by leaps and bounds and this southwestern German Land of Baden-Württemberg becomes an easy sell. What a transformation… in the old days, the Badeners used to cross the Rhine to Alsace to stock up their cellars and eat some great food. Now much of the traffic is in the other direction.
Wassmer is typical of the Markgräflerland, the rolling farmland area to the south of Freiburg where farms often combine vegetables and fruit with vines. On his 26 hectares he still grows mighty white spears of asparagus, strawberries and Christmas trees. But since 1998, wine has taken over as his real passion. Like all who grow Spätburgunder in this area, Wassmer’s benchmark is Burgundy. On top of the Eurocave fridge in the tasting room is a row of (empty) bottles of La Tâche and Echezeaux. “I heard that Romanée Conti made the best red wine in the world, so I went there to pick grapes.” It was an experience that kick-started a quest to make a red wine that would rival not just the better known and older-established Spätburgunders of the Kaiserstuhl to the north (Franz Keller, Salwey), but would aspire to Burgundian levels of elegance and complexity. His success in local and international wine competitions suggests he’s making a pretty fair job of it.
So, while you’re waiting for an enterprising wine merchant in your neck of the woods to tumble to the beauty of Wassmer’s Spätburgunder, beat a path to his door in Schlatt. Worth a detour…no, make that a special trip!
Weingut Fritz Wassmer,
Tel. +49 (0) 76 33 39 65