Free to be Baden

Vineyards sloping down to the village of Müllheim in Germany's Baden region

Gutedel and Pinot Noir with a Teutonic twist. Above, vineyards climb the steep hills outside Müllheim in Baden's Markgräflerland.

Would anyone blame Baden if it suffered a dose of imposter syndrome? Not only is Germany’s southernmost winegrowing region situated with France along one edge and Switzerland on another, but two of its flagship grape varieties, Spätburgunder and Gutedel, are nothing less than national treasures under different names in those neighbouring lands.

My latest trip to south-western Germany (see this map) showed just how far Baden growers have progressed in recent years in establishing a style distinct from those...