Up North

I travelled north, from Jakarta to Taoyuan, Taiwan where I am going to teach for a week at the International Center for Land Policy Studies and Training (ICLPST). The flight was very comfortable in the business class of China Airlines. The menu I chose was all seafood. Boiled baby prawns with tomato and lettuce leaves as entrée and fish and prawn satay in ginger light soya sauce with Shanghai noodles as main course. On top of the wine list I found to my surprise a German Riesling from the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, my home region in Germany where also Trier, my hometown, is located (www.trier.de). Home sweet home, and out of this melancholy, I asked for it.

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It said: 2005 Spaetlese, but I could not resist! The description claimed the wine is “rich, buttery layered with flavours of orange zest, Asian pears and golden delicious apples, with a subtle, smoky back note”. I could not taste any of this. For me it was “sugary” and the steward was so kind to let me have the second white wine on the menue: a Chardonnay from the US. 2006 White Mare Russian River Valley (Sonoma County), depicting a white horse on the label, not my type of label but what could I do. I did not know the winery. There was also a red (Cabernet Sauvignon), 2005 Daisy Ridge with the same white horse label.

The second red wine was from Italy, a Chianti Classico 2005 from Coli in Tuscany. After a couple of glasses of the Chardonnay, which I quite liked, I moved on to the Italian wine and stayed with it for the rest of the flight. By the way, the service was great at this flight, so many nice stewards and stewardesses, unbelievable. I can only recommend China Airlines. The wine list, though, could be changed. OK, I did not try the champagne, a Drappier Brut which got 89 point from the wine spectator. There are much better Rieslings from the Mosel or the Saar to choose from. I would also replace one of the US wines with an Australian Shiraz maybe or a Merlot.

I watched a movie, read in my Tim Winton book (The Turning) and arrived in Taoyuan in no time, well rested, fed and happy.

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