2016 Julia Bertram 'Handwerk' Spatburgunder
Region: Ahr < Germany
Grapes: Pinot Noir
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming, whole cluster press with a seven-day maceration until spontaneous fermentation started; pressed and aged in neutral French oak 1 year then 2 months stainless; bottled unfined/unfiltered; 10ppm SO2 added
Winemaker: Julia Bertram
Real life wine royalty, Julia was Germany's 2012 Wine Queen. Yes, this is a thing. German Wine Queen. How rad is that? Apparently, every autumn, each of Germany’s 13 wine-growing regions elect a queen, who then goes on to compete for the national title before an 70-member jury of professionals from the wine industry, politics, and the press. The lucky winner then becomes the German wine ambassador, complete with a crown and Germany’s idea of a gown (a dirndl-like number). Julia grew up in a winemaking family in a tiny Ahrweiller village, but says she never saw herself working in wine as she watched her parents and grandparents burn the midnight oil in both the vines and in the cellar. But when she was old enough to drink (high school, natch – because, Europe) she fell in love with wine, and specifically, Spatburgunder from slate soils (uh, the family vineyards she wanted to escape – full circle). She started by working with some famous German wine dudes then studied oenology at university before returning to the family fold to make wine. Her region of the Ahr is one of the most northern wine regions in Germany yet strangely has a Mediterranean growing climate (so not a ton of rain) and very steep, rocky slopes on which vines are planted. These are good things for grapes, as those extreme slate slopes hold the summer heat and protect the vines from any radical temperature fluctuation, which helps eliminate Botrytis—normally a major struggle for Germany. And makes organic farming possible, somewhat of a rarity here. So this Julia’s Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir), which in Germany often drinks like a Gamay – light, fresh, bright, somewhat spritzy, like a bowl of cherries with a leafy edge and a kiss of cinnamon spice. Seriously, this wine is so good, it’s like a gateway drug to German Pinot. Trust, if you’re a PN fan, this may rock your world.