Von Othegraven Winery in Kanzem, Saar

August 25, 2012

Regular readers of my blog will have noticed that I usually abstain from writing negative comments about any wine experience. Today I will break with this tradition making a slight dent in my otherwise immaculate positivism.

Summertime in Germany is also the time of wine festivals and the time of visiting wineries and cellar doors. And keeping in the spirit of things, my family and I, we set out on a beautiful day in July to pay a visit to one of the wineries along the Saar river.

I needed a birthday gift for a dear friend of mine and I intended to honor him with a first class bottle of wine from a first class winery. Since my friend lives in the Ruwer valley, a location with excellent Riesling terroir, I wanted to contrast the Ruwer wines with a specimen from the Saar, the other tributary of the Mosel where excellent Riesling wines are produced.

My choice was the Von Othegraven winery in Kanzem, a small hamlet on the banks of the Saar river. This winery is quite well known in Germany because Guenther Jauch, a celebrity TV moderator and talk show host, is the owner of the place.

I could not have been more wrong in my choice.

We rocked up without an appointment (which we would regret), drove into the courtyard of the estate at the outskirts of Kanzem at the bottom of the steep vineyards of the Kanzemer Altenberg, the grand cru vineyard of the area.

We innocently rang the bell of the manor house but where greeted by a very grumpy vintner (it was the manager, not the wine-maker), who let us know immediately and in a very impolite way that we were not welcome, and should “buzz” off.

Uff, we were mentally not prepared for such a rude reception, and deeply regretted that we had bothered to come in the first place.

So my recommendation to the casual wine tourist is not to visit Von Othegraven. It is a waste of time. If you are still interested in their wines, go to my favourite wine bar, Weinsinnig in Trier, and buy a bottle of the outstanding Altenberg Riesling.

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