Emrich-Schönleber Riesling Sekt, Nahe. Germany

August 31, 2010

One of the best wineries along the Nahe river is Weingut Emrich-Schönleber in the village of Monzingen. The family vineyards (about 33 acres) produce great wines, mostly Riesling.

In 2010 the Gault Millau Wine Guide gave 10 of the 17 wines of the Emrich-Schönleber Estate 90 or more points. The wine writer Jancis Robinson was extremely impressed by the ‘2009 Halenberg Auslese’. 19.5 of 20 points was her verdict which is truly awesome.

Recently we visited the winery. Coming straight from Frankfurt Airport, we drove along the Nahe wine route, passed Bad Kreuznach, and spontaneously dropped in to pick up some bottles of wine.

In the yard, we bumped into Mr. Emrich-Schönleber senior, who was on his way out. In passing he referred us to his wife who was so kind to introduce us to the wines of the estate. Since it was early in the morning, we did not feel like tasting wine (we just came from breakfast in the small town of Sobernheim). Moreover, after many hours of flight, we had just gotten off the plane.

Our selection was quick but firm. I knew some of the ‘grand cru’ locations of Monzingen. After all, I had spent most of my school holidays in the neighbouring village of Martinstein where my maternal grandfather (Hans-Heinrich Schuessler) had introduced me to the amazing world of Nahe wines at a rather tender age.

We chose a nice cross section of Emrich-Schönleber’s wines including two sparkling ones. Ms. Emrich-Schönleber was so kind to add a small bottle of sweet desert wine as a gift. We were flabbergasted.

The bottle of Riesling Sekt (Sekt is German for ‘sparkling’) below did not last long. Only after a couple of hours, when the bottle was sufficiently cold, we opened it to celebrate the start of our holidays in Trier. What an auspicious start to a summer holiday in Europe?

Emrich-Schönleber Riesling Sekt

The Riesling Sekt is produced using the classical method of bottle fermentation. Everything is done by hand. Due to the acidity of the Riesling fruit, the wine displays a beautiful spectrum of fine acids. Moreover, it is dry and fruity with lots of fizz. The magnificent minerality of the wine is another characteristic.

Emrich-Schönleber Riesling Sekt

Nahe wines, especially the Rieslings, are one of the best kept secrets in Germany. You should visit this internationally little known wine region. It’s just about an hours drive west of Frankfurt Airport. I promise you: you will not regret it.

Address:
Weingut Emrich-Schönleber
Soonwaldstraße 10a
D-55569 Monzingen
Tel.: +49-67 51-27 33
Fax: +49-67 51-48 64
www.emrich-schoenleber.de


2007 Pongelli – Villa Bucci, Le Marche, Italy

August 30, 2010

2007 Pongelli, Villa Bucci

I have written about a wine from Villa Bucci some time ago (it’s Verdicchio). When I bought wines from Il Grappolo Divino and Alessandro Mauceri in Frascati, I also choose a red wine from Villa Bucci, the ‘2007 Pongelli’. This wine is a blend of 50/50 Montepulciano and Sangiovese grapes with 13.5% alcohol.

I served it slightly cooler than normal. Well, it was one of these hot days in Rome where you come out only in the evening. We had it without food, just like that, while sitting under the olive trees. It was a great experience to taste it.

The colour is a strong ruby red. Raspberry aromas were there with some hints of vanilla and leather. The tannins are soft and mellow. The wine has a good structure, is full bodied and has a strong finish. The Parker-point-fans give him 86-88 of 100. My verdict: if I only could get my hands on some bottles of this wine here in Bangkok.

If you are in Rome you are in a better position. Just go and visit the Castelli Romani; stop by in Frascati and see Alessandro Mauceri and his new wine shop: Il Grappolo Divino. There you can also buy the ‘Pongelli’ (among many other treasures).

Address:
Il Grappolo Divino
Via dell’Olmo, 37
00044 Frascati
Italy
Tel.: +39-6-89026061


San Gimignano, Tuscany – Poderi del Paradiso

August 29, 2010

On our way from Rome to Florence we visited the small town of San Gimignano in Tuscany. It was a beautiful day with blue sky and lots of sunshine. We were not the only people to visit this picturesque jewel of Tuscany.

The view from San Gimignano into the surrounding hills

Grapes for the new vintage

The gate to enter San Gimignano

The town if famous for its medieval architecture and especially its towers. There are also many shops in San Gimignano catering to the many tourists. I could not resits the wine shops, but there is also plenty of prosciutto and beautiful local crockery on offer.

Wine shop

Prosciutto

Vernaccia di San Gimignano

I had also to taste some of the wines. The Caffetteria dell’Olmo was just the right place to enjoy a cold drink located on the main square of the town. I ordered a glass of ‘Vernaccia di San Gimignano’ considered one of the finest Italian whites. This was a crisp wine with a fine acidity.

My spoil

On our way back to the car, I had to buy at least some wine. I bought a white and a red wine, both not very expensive. I asked for products of a typical local producer. The lady in the shop suggested Poderi del Paradiso which sounded just fine. You will learn more about the wines of Poderi del Paradiso in another blog entry.

I very much regretted that we did not have more time, but even these 2-3 hours were absolutely worth it. San Gimignano is a place I have to come back to.


Hunter’s breakfast: roe deer liver

August 28, 2010

Roe deer liver

While in Germany I ate a lot of “bush meat”. This is because some of my friends practice hunting as a hobby.
Hunting in Germany is very much steered by tradition. One of these traditions is that when a roe deer was shot, the liver needs to be eaten the same evening or right after the kill. There is nothing better than a fresh liver.

This is what we had at the home of my friend Uli in the “Muensterland”, a German agricultural region north and west of the Ruhr, the old industrial heartland of Germany. Uli’s mother Doris prepared such a fresh roe liver for us for breakfast. It is usually served with onions (and some people add optional apple). Unfortunately, my photo of the dish with the onions did not work out. Above you’ll find just the liver in the pan. I can only say: super delicious.

Since we consumed the liver in the morning, we did not have wine with it. A characterful Riesling wine would always go with it, but also a Pinot Noir could be a good choice of wine. Thank you aunt Doris for this delicious meal.


Grape vine leaves

August 27, 2010

Grape vine leaves can be used for many different things; to wrap food, for instance rice (known as Dolma, Dolmathakia Lathera, etc.). They are also popular for various decorative purposes. The pillar below was decorated with vine leaves and grapes. During my recent trip to Europe I also found coasters in vine leaf shape when I was regaled by an Elbling wine in Echternach, Luxembourg.

Decoration of a pillar

Vine leaf coaster in Echternach, Luxembourg

Many of the antique statues we have seen in Italy needed the grape vine leaves to cover delicate body parts. Isn’t this innocent leaf, pure organic of course, a very useful item nature has bestowed on us?


Restaurant review: Taverna Cestia, Rome, Italy

August 25, 2010

While working at FAO and living in Rome at the end of the 1980ies, our main restaurant was Taverna Cestia, near Piramide, just a couple of blocks from the United Nations. We went often and all the waiters knew us very well. Usually that meant that we did not have to look at the menu (they knew what we liked to eat), and if we stayed longer than the opening hours permitted, we were somehow accommodated (usually the offering of burning ‘Sambuca’ signaled that it was time to go home).

So it was clear that when in Rome, we would go and eat there. And that’s what we did during our summer vacation 2010 as well. It was a very hot day. We had shown our daughters the Terme di Caracalla. We were thirsty and needed refreshment. ‘Melon with prosciutto’ and ‘bruschetta di pomodori’ are just the right stuff to start a meal.

Ham and melon

Tomatoes on grilled bread

Olives in a coat

Taverna Cestia is famous for it’s ‘spaghetti alle vongole’, but I always liked also the ‘penne al arrabiata’.

Penne al ragu

Spaghetti alle vongole

In the past we always ordered a liter of house wine, usually a white wine in summer (a refreshing Frascati) and a red one in winter. Also this time we had a bottle of this divine liquid. We did not regret our choice.

Frascati wine by Casalgentile

The back label of the Frascati by Casalgentile

That the food at Taverna Cestia is very good is proven by the next picture. Tripadvisor awards four out of five stars.

Address:
Taverna Cestia Di Salvi Gioacchino C.
Viale della Piramide Cestia, 67
00153 Roma, Italia
Tel.: +39-6-5743754
Subway: Piramide


Venison from a roe deer for Sunday lunch in Trier

August 24, 2010

My stories from July and August do not come in any particular order. When arrived in early July in Trier at my mother’s place we were greated by a feats, as always. And beecause her partner Heinz is a hunter we often eat game. This time it was venison from a German roe deer (in German: Reh) he had just shot. Needless to say that my mothers cooking is just delicious as you can see from the pcitures below.

Tender venison, a meal in the making

With noodles of course

2008 Saar Riesling Van Volxem Estate

The wine I choose for this meal was a Riesling from Van Volxem Estate in Wiltingen, near Schoden (where the venison was from), one of my favourite producers from the Saar. Tough this is just a “simple” wine, it deplays all the character of a Saar Riesling, fine and delicate which machted the tender venison just perfectly.

Address
Weinmanufaktur Van Volxem
Roman Niewodniczanski
Dehnstrasse 2
54459 Wiltingen, Saar
Ph.: +49-6501-16510
e-mail: vanvolxem@t-online.de