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|Vineyard/Cellar Practices||Organically Grown, Vegan|
The valley of the Ahr river may not be Germany’s best-known winegrowing region overall, but those in the know have for centuries prized its steep slopes and slate soils for growing red wine grapes. The Ahr is nearly synonymous with Spätburgunder (German for pinot noir), and Julia Bertram’s family has farmed some of the best-situated Spätburgunder vineyards for generations. Julia’s fine-grained attention to the health of the vines and to every aspect of the winemaking process has led to the stellar reputation she and her husband (Benedikt Baltes, also a dedicated Spätburgunder grower-producer) have gained in recent years. The steep pitch of the vineyards requires that the vines be managed and harvested by hand, and Julia intentionally keeps yields low and harvests early to maximize freshness.
While the climatic conditions of such a northerly region (at 50ºN latitude, the Ahr valley is as far north as grapes are generally grown in Europe) always present challenges, the unprecedented flooding in July 2021 represents a serious setback for the Bertram-Baltes winemaking operation. While Julia, Benedikt, and their family escaped largely unscathed, their winery and cellar did not.
This 2018 ‘Handwerk’ release comes from younger vines from a few Ahr valley parcels. Spontaneously fermented with partial stem inclusion, it aged for 15 months in neutral oak, plus three months in stainless steel. Lean and cool on the palate: fresh cherry and blackberry ride on a mineral base. Organically grown, vegan.