Welcoming Ludwig Bindernagel to the Ancestrel Portfolio

Ludwig Bindernagel, or Lulu, as he is known by his friends, moved to Paris from his native Bavaria as a young adult to pursue a career as an architect. During his time here, he met his partner, Nathalie Eigenshenk. They decided to leave the fast-paced life behind and moved to Burgundy to follow their collective interest in food and wine. Ludwig enrolled in Beaune to study viticulture and Oenology, and Nathalie had access to better produce.

Upon graduation, he found that vineyards were financially out of his grasp in the surrounding Burgundy appellations, and it was in 2003 that he and Natalie made a move to Arlay in central Jura. Lulu’s move to the region was a leap of faith, following soil without knowledge of local wines or their history. Here he made a long-standing friendship with Julien Labet, who managed to track down tiny parcels in the locally revered vineyards of Étoile and Chateau-Chalon, which Ludwig promptly purchased.

Although Ludwig has since expanded his vineyards to include 3.5 hectares, with a mix of Savagnin, Chardonnay, Poulsard and Savagnin Noir, and has moved to an old rambling home with a deep underground cellar in the centre of Poligny, he is still following the same ideology handed to him by Julien during his first vintage, “You have nothing, so do nothing”. An influence that has left him with the conviction to produce wine in a natural way ever since.

In the cellar, Lulu practices winemaking in the simplest of ways, hand harvesting and de-stemming of all grapes, with white grapes being harvested early to preserve acidity; everything is placed in old oak barrels to ferment and age, with the cool cellar temperatures allowing for extended periods of fermentation, reaching up to a whole year in some cases. Ludwig leaves the wine to age for a minimum of 3 years before bottling, topping up the whole way through. This process allows for minimal sulphur additions, with robust and stable wines of incredible balance; electric, saline and mineral. This is a labour of love, and to this day, Ludwig is bottling, labelling, and waxing his minute production himself.

The combination of low yielding older vines and several years of traumatic weather in the region has left Ludwig with the smallest quantities imaginable. We have managed to pick up the remainder of his “QV d’Étoile” 2018, which, as you can imagine, is not many, along with one case of his atypical Vin Jaune. Left in old oak that has never been in contact with oxidative wine, an approach that he believes gives the wine a personality of oxygen unique to the years spent in the barrel, with no taint from previous vinification.

We have just uploaded one bottle of Vin Jaune and a handful of QV d’Étoile to our online bottle shop, available on a first come, first served basis via the link below.