I waited, in the typical heat and humidity of Singapore, just outside of Magma (German Wine Bistro). Suddenly, a tall lady with stunning golden hair smiled at me as she walked past. I smiled back. I didn’t realize it was Julia Bertram, Germany’s 64th Wine Queen, who’s Master Class on German Wines I would be attending shortly.
Each year Germany holds a pageant-like competition to find the German Wine Queen, the ambassador of Germany’s wines. The Wine Queen beats out hundreds of contenders from the wine regions of Germany in series of local, regional, and finally national competitions. The competitions include blind tasting, difficult quizzes and tests, becoming the fan favourite, and much more. Ultimately, the winner’s knowledge of wine making and German wine is akin to a wine god’s. I must say the concept of the Wine Queen, representing her country around the world, is pretty brilliant. I felt honoured to be in the presence such a beautiful, intelligent, and passionate person who loves sharing her passion with as many souls as possible. Oh! I’m so living my dream like Oprah without the audience.
Now, let’s look into the wines.
Over the course of the afternoon, Julia would introduce us to 15 wines (full list below). Much to my surprise we kicked things off with the six red wines! Interesting, I thought, starting with the pinot noir instead of the usual white or sparkling; I enjoyed it tremendously. We were transported to Baden, Ahr, Pfalz and Wuerttemberg in the world of German reds. The whites sent us to Rheinhessen, Pfalz, Franken, Mosel and Rheingau. Even the grape varietals showed me something new: Spaetburgunder (Pinot Noir), Dornfelder, and others. Truly, an eye-opening afternoon!
I have chosen to highlight three wines for your kind perusal:
Friedrich Becker’s Spaetburgunder ‘09
Voted best Pinot Noir in 2010 by American Express. It was fermented for 12-16 days in huge oak barrels before being aged for 14 months. Becker has been known to produce some of Germany’s best Pinot Noir. This particular red has great perfume and a delicious taste.
Juliusspital’s Scheurebe ‘12
Green notes with a hint of tropical fruit. Juliusspital is one of the biggest privately owned wine estates in Germany. This winery’s history goes back to 1576 when it was used as a hospital for the poor founded by Bishop Würzburg. The winery estate’s profits support the poor. How lovely!
Johanninger’s Huxelrebe Beerenauslese ‘99
This precious noble-sweet is beautifully contained in a small bottle which went through the slow fermentation process in barrel. This amazingly exquisite wine has also being selected by Chef Damien Le Bihan, formerly of Guy Savoy and now Group Executive Chef for Deliciae Hospitality Management Group, to be paired with his white asparagus dessert in his fully booked dinner for the World Gourmet Summit 2013. I savoured every last drop of this delightful wine.
After the tasting I had an opportunity to have a chat with Julia:
Julia comes from Ahr, one of the smaller wine-growing regions in Germany which is growing red wine paradise – especially for Pinot Noir. She grew up in a winery. When she was around 15 years old, she tasted wine for the very first time. That experience propelled her to know more about this amazing substance and she took it to the next level by diving into th international wine business world. That was not enough for her so she decided to learn the practical side of wine making too. No big deal.
Equipped with knowledge and love for wine, it was only natural for her to put what she learned to the test. She was the queen of the Ahr Valley region for one year, being the queen of the region was not enough for her. Her desire to reach out to the greater world and raise awareness of German wines set her on the path to become The Wine Queen. The rest is history.
When asked what her purpose in life is, she answered, in no particular order: Family – Friends – Wine – Enjoy! She summed up her journey to become the 64th German Wine Queen beautifully: born in the family of wine makers, fell in love and forged a great friendship with the world of wine, made friends with people from all around the world. She chooses to enjoy the entire journey.
We tasted the following wines which are all available from Magma German Wine Bistro.
Bercher ‘Burkheimer Feuerberg’ Spaetburgunder ‘10
Jean Stodden ‘JS’ Spaetburgunder ‘09
Friedrich Becker ‘B’ Spaetburgunder ‘09
Drautz-Able Dornfelder ‘09
Drautzable Lemberger ‘11
Friedrich Becker ‘Guillaume’ ‘08
Johanninger ‘Dreimaenner’Riesling ‘10
Bassermann-Jordan ‘Deidesheimer Kieselberg’ Riesling ‘11
August Ziegler ‘Gimmeldinger Biengarten’ Riesling ‘11
Johanninger ‘Reserve’ Chardonnay + Pinot Blanc ‘09
Juliusspital Scheurebe ‘12
Markus Molitor ‘Haus Klosterberg’ Riesling ‘11
Fritz Allendorf ‘Illusion’ Gewurztraminer ‘12
Markus Molitor ‘Zeltinger Sonnenuhr’ Riesling ‘11
Johanninger ‘J’ Beerenauslese Huxelrebe ‘99
Contributed by Donna Daritan, TLN Blogger