German wine tradition: the wine queen and wine princess

October 2, 2012

German wine tradition

I do not think that Australia has already embarked on this path, but Germany certainly has a long tradition of wine queens and wine princesses (since about the 1930s).

The German wine queen is the elected representative of German wine for the duration of one year. The candidates are the 13 regionally elected wine queens from the officially recognized 13 wine regions.

It is tradition that the new wine queen will be crowned in Neustadt, Pfalz. The 64th German wine queen is Julia Bertram from the Ahr win region. She was inaugurated on September 29.

The German wine princesses (allowed are up to three) are the deputies of the German wine queen. Usually the runner-up in the election is appointed wine princess. Currently there are two, Anna Hochdörffer, Pfalz, and Natalie Henninger, Baden.

The electoral college consists of about 70 members. I could neither find out how the selection committee is composed nor how these jury members are selected, though. From the 13 regional wine queens, normally six are nominated as finalists for the contest. The jury elects one as queen and two as her princesses. Of the 64 queens, 11 came from my native Mosel.

The candidates do not need to come from a winery or vineyard but need solid knowledge about German wine and the wine industry, oenology and wine-making. The wine queen and the princesses are representing the wine industry for a year at all major wine festival, fairs, exhibitions, wine tastings, including international events. They need to be eloquent and good ambassadors for the German wine industry.


Boetzinger, wine from Baden, Germany

May 5, 2012

Boetziner wine co-operative

When I attended the party convention of the German Free Democratic Party (FDP) in Karlsruhe a couple of week ago, I was not so sure that I would have the time for some wine tasting. Alas, the Saturday night party of the FDP showed that there was no reason to worry.

Karlsruhe is located on the right side of the Rhine river in Baden, one of the smaller German wine regions in the South-west, just across the Rhine river from another famous German wine region: the Pfalz (Palatinate).

It goes without saying that wine from Baden was the choice of the organizers, and a good choice it was. One does not expect a “grand cru” to be served at such an occasion. After an excruciating day of debate and discussion the hundreds of party delegates just want to get on with their lives.

However, a decent drop of wine is very much appreciated. Two wines were on offer, a ‘2011 Boetzinger Pinot Gris, Kabinett dry’ and a ‘2011 Boetzinger Pinot Noir, Kabinett dry’, both in their dry variant.

Boetzinger is a wine co-operative, the oldest wine co-operative at the Kaiserstuhl in Baden. It has about 500 vintner members who produce first quality grapes.

We started with the white and followed through with the red, both wines were very pleasant, clean and crisp for easy drinking and dry: in short excellent specimen of their kind.

We drank lots. The waiters kept bringing the stuff. When we got up at about two o’clock in the morning we had a good fill.

And the next morning, you might ask? Well, just fine. The wine not only had a decent taste, it showed its quality also after a huge consumption.

From the Boetzinger website I found that the bottle of Pinot Gris costs only EURO 5.75 and the bottle of Pinot Noir is EURO 6.30, both very decent prices especially when you are dealing with the exorbitant wine prices here in Thailand.

Try the wines of Boetzinger.


A great white wine – Pinot Blanc by Doerflinger

November 23, 2010

Pinot Blanc by the Doerflinger Winery

Recently I had the opportunity to enjoy a couple of glasses of a very yummy German Pinot Blanc, it was a ‘2009 Pinot Blanc Muellheimer Reggenhag dry’ (13%) by Doerflinger, a winery in Muellheim, Baden.

The wine guide Gault Millau awarded to the 2008 vintage 89 Parker points.

The winery was founded in 1900. Today, Hermann Doerflinger is the owner-vintner and he manages 16 ha under vines. The annual production is about 140,000 bottles.

Apart from Pinot Blanc, Doerflinger grows Gutedel, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, the wines of which reached 85 to 89 points for the 2008 vintage.

I liked this wine, it was fresh and zesty, soft and round, a great summer wine.

Address:
Weingut Hermann Dörflinger
Mühlenstraße 7,
D-79379 Müllheim
Germany
Tel.: +49 7631 2207 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +49 7631 2207      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +49 7631 2207      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Fax: +49 7631 4195
mail@weingut-doerflinger.de

Open:
Mo.–Fri. 08.00 – 12.30 h, 13.30 – 18.30 h
Sat. 09.00 – 16.00 h


Effervescent Silvaner

August 19, 2010

Great Franconian wines in the bocksbeutel bottle

I just love the wines from the Silvaner grape. Most of Silvaner is grown in Alsace and Franconia, one of my favourite German wine regions. Many of the wines from Franconia come in the famous “Bocksbeutel” bottle.

What I did not know is that some Silvaner producers also make the grape into sparkling wine. One of these essences was served to me during a recent family gathering in Reichenberg near Wuerzburg.

2008 Wertheimer Tauberklinge Silvaner extra dry

The ‘2008 Wertheimer Tauberklinge Silvaner sparkling extra dry’ (12.% alc. vol., 3.6 g. acid/litre and 14.7. g. sugar/litre) was a wonderful effervescent experience.

I think this wine from “Tauberfranken” technically belongs to the Baden wine region and not Franconia. However, nice Silvaner are produced their that’s for sure, and it’s just right at the border of these two outstanding German wine regions.

Effervescent Silvaner

This wine was very refreshing, spritzy with zest and round fruityness, very pleasurable indeed. I will have more of it in the future. Thanks go to my folks in Reichenberg for introducing me to this excellent sparkling wine.


Flammkuchen everywhere

August 14, 2010

Flammkuchen

Everywhere we went in Germany (except Bavaria) during our holidays, “Flammkuchen” was on the menu. Flammkuchen is the German name for an Alsacian dish called ‘flammekueche’ or ‘tarte flambée’ in French. The dish is in fact of ‘alemannic’ origin. The Alamanni , an alliance of different Germanic tribes settled in what is today south-west Germany, eastern France and northern Switzerland (the area south of lake Bodensee); composed today roughly of the regions of Alsace, Baden and the Palatinate.

The thin, bread-like dough comes often in a round shape and is, in its traditional form, covered with crème fraîche, onions, and lardons. However, there are many variations of this old recipe. Similar to pizza all kinds of toppings have found their way onto Flammkuchen. I found different styles as far north as Muenster.

In my home town Trier at the river Mosel, we had the delicious dish from time to time and just loved it. Usually I had a Bitburger Beer with it, preferably in a mug. But the local wines make also a good drink, for instance an Elbling or a local Riesling wine are perfect for the enjoyment of a Flammkuchen. Try it.

Flammkuchen and a Bitburger Beer


Restaurant review: Schlosshotel Cecilienhof, Potsdam

October 1, 2009

cecilienhof

Schlosshotel Cecilienhof

I had the great pleasure to participate in a formal dinner at Schlosshotel Cecilienhof in Potsdam. This hotel is part of a historic castle of great significance: it was the site for the Potsdam Conference which brought peace to Europe at the end of World War II. It was in this building that Truman, Churchill and Stalin (among others) negotiated the fate of Germany in 1945. But I will not bore you with too much history today.

The dinner was a very enjoyable affair: I had great company, the food was excellent, the wines were very, very drinkable and the service was eminently suitable. I went for the seafood choice below: first a salmon starter followed by a “Zander” (pike perch) fillet.

Zander0

The starter made of salmon

Zander

“Zander”/pike perch fillet for main course

I also tried both wines on offer. The choice for white consisted of a ‘2007 Weingut Schloss Sommerhausen Riesling dry’ from Frankonia in Germany and was an excellent pairing with the starter. Schloss Sommerhausen is located between Ochsenfurt and Wuerzburg, the home of my maternal grandfather who introduced me to the wines from Frankonia.

I just love Riesling and Silvaner wines from Frankonia, but they also produce excellent Spaetburgunder and many other wines. The shape of the Frankonian wine bottles is unique (only the sweet Meteus wines from Portugal can also be found in such bottles), they are called “Bocksbeutel”.

Sommerhausen Riesling

But I also wanted to taste the Pinot Noir, a young wine from 2008, ‘Alde Gott Spaetburgunder dry’ from Baden. This was my second Pinot Noir from Baden since I arrived in Germany and I must say, both wines (the other one was from Affental) were excellent.

Both are produced by wine co-operatives. “Alde Gott” is located in Sasbachwalden, a village near the cities of Buehl and Baden-Baden were also the wine co-operative of Affental can be found.

AldeGott

Addresses:
Weingut Schloss Sommerhausen
Familie Steinmann
Ochsenfurter Straße 17–19
97286 Sommerhausen
Tel. 0 93 33/2 60
Fax 0 93 33/14 88

Wine sales at Schloss Sommerhausen
Steinmann family
Hauptstraße 25
97286 Sommerhausen
Tel. +49 – 93 33/2 60
Fax +49 – 93 33/14 88

Opening hours:
Mo. – Fr. von 9.00 – 18.00 Uhr
Sa. von 10.00 – 16.00 Uhr
Public holidays 10.00 – 14.00 Uhr

Wine Co-operative Sasbachwalden
Talstraße 2
D-77887 Sasbachwalden
Tel.: +49-07841 – 20 29 – 0
Fax: +49-7841 – 20 29 18
E-Mail: info@aldegott.de


Autumn in Berlin – Affentaler Spaetburgunder

September 27, 2009

Abendstimmung

Evening at Griebnitzsee, near Berlin and Potsdam

I am in Germany right now attending meetings and conferences. Ever since I landed in Hamburg, the weather has been fine, with mild and sunny autumn days.

Today is election day and at about 18 h we will know who is going to govern the Germans for the next four years. Last night we were all invited by our boss to dine at his home. He and his wife are known for their hospitality. One of the wines on offer came from Baden, a famous German wine region. I must admit that I am rather ignorant about it’s wines.

Affentaler

2008 Affentaler Spaetburgunder 1.5 liter bottle – look at the colour

I was presented with a glass of ‘2008 Affentaler Spaetburgunder’ (12.5% vol. alc.). Needless to say, that I had never heard of “Affentaler”. And only while writing this blog entry I learned that the producer of this excellent German Pinot Noir is a wine co-operative. “Affental” is located 10 km south of Baden-Baden and belong to the city of Buehl.

This is a very elegant wine, fruity, dry and very harmonious, a thorough enjoyment. The 2007 vintage had earned 87 Parker points. The 1.5 liter bottle lasted a while but it was difficult to drink any other wine after we finished it. All of us wished for more. I will look out for it when shopping for wine next time.


Restaurant review: Chopin, Berlin

June 8, 2009

chopin1

The Chopin restaurant

Last year I had the chance to dine twice at Chopin restaurant which is located between Wannsee and Griebnitzsee in the South west of Berlin. The cuisine the restaurant specialises in is Silesian food. Today Silesia is a region of Poland smaller parts of which, however, are belonging to the Czech Republic and to Germany.

chopin3

The entrée “Schlesische Zigarren

We had a fixed menu which was ordered for the occasion. The entrée consisted of “Schlesische „Zigarren“, Silesian cigars (price Euro 3,90), a puff pastry filled with sheep feta and a mustard sauce.

chopin2

The beef dish “Schlesischer Sauerbraten”

We could choose between two main dishes: a “Schlesischer Sauerbraten”, a marinated pot roast (price Euro 11,90) with red cabbage and apples, peaches and cranberries served with German dumplings, ….

chopin51

The pike perch (German: Zander)

…and a fish dish, consisting of a pike perch roasted in a sauce of dill and with zucchini (price Euro 13,90). Potatoes and vegetables were also presented.

Since we dined at the restaurant twice within a week, I had the opportunity to taste each of the main dishes.

Needless to say (you can see it from the pictures) the food at Chopin restaurant is delicious; it’s a splendid example of German country cuisine at its best.

chopin4

Pinot Gris

There were two wines served with the food: a white (Grauer Burgunder/Pinot Gris) from Baden, Germany and a red (Nero d’Avola) from Sicily (which is not on the wine list any more).

I had the white, a ‘2004 Oberbergener Bassgeige, Grauer Burgunder, Kabinett, dry’, from the Kaiserstuhl wine region in Baden.

It’s a massive white wine (13% alc.) not something light for the summer. It has substance and structure which make it an ideal partner for pairing with Silesian food.

The producer of the wine is a “wine-co-operative”. The Gault Millau as well as the Eichelmann Wine Guide award the co-operative “one bunch of grapes” (Gault Millau: reliable) respectively “two stars” (Eichelmann: good producer).

I very much like this cosy family restaurant. If you are in Berlin next time, please do not miss to pay it a visit.

Address:
Restaurant Chopin
Wilhelmplatz 4
14109 Berlin, Germany
+49-30-8053033


The best German vintners and wine makers

June 1, 2009

Threewinegods

The wine gods (photo taken from a building in Berlin)

Its certainly a great honour to be called “vintner of the year”. Since 1994 Gault Millau, Germany’s wine guide and major authority regarding wine, wine business and the wine sector, is awarding the “vintner of the year” award.

Today the total number of vintners of the year is 16, seven of which come from the Mosel wine region. The current one, however, comes from the Pfalz (Knipser brothers).

But in the years 2007 (Theo Haart, Mosel), 2005 (Kartaeuserhof, Ruwer), 2001 (Loosen, Mosel), 1998 (Mueller-Scharzhof, Saar), 1996 (Joh. Jos. Pruem, Mosel), 1995 (von Schubert, Ruwer) and 1994 (Fritz Haag, Mosel) the vintner of the year came from my home, the Mosel river and its tributaries.

(Remark: the Mosel wine region was originally called: Mosel-Saar-Ruwer)

No other German wine region has provided that many “champions”. So far the Nahe and Pfalz wine regions had two vintners of the year; and Rheinhessen, Rheingau, Frankonia, Ahr and Baden had one each (for the names of the vintners of the year: Gault Millau).

I came about this fact only by accident while researching a story, I was going to write. I have to find more Mosel wines here in Bangkok, I guess. Wish me luck.


Restaurants in Germany – Lutter and Wegner im Künstlerhaus, Munich

June 27, 2008

While in Munich I stumbled across another one of the Lutter and Wegner chain restaurants – Lutter and Wegner im Künstlerhaus – and could not resist to have lunch there before departing to Frankfurt (www.l-w-muenchen.de).

The outside terrace

Colourful room “Venezia” with great views upon the Lenbachplatz

Bottles arranged like art

Art for the wine aficionados

Lutter and Wegner is not just a restaurant but a symbiosis of bar, lounge, gallery and in the evening live and other music are performed. Moreover, about 350 wines are on offer. I could only sample two of them with my lunch, hope you are more successful. The restaurant was the perfect choice of a enjoyable lunch before leaving this wonderful city and returning to tropical Jakarta. I could not resist the mushroom risotto. It was delicious, a wonderful combination of flavours.

The mushroom risotto

Of course I had to have a wine with my food. My first wine consisted of a ‘2005 Grauer Burgunder, dry’ (Pinot Gris) of Weingut Otto Laubenstein, Baden (www.laubenstein.com). It had a rather yellowish colour which came as a surprise to me, I had expected something more pale, straw colour like. The wine suggestion for the risotto was a ‘2007 Bürklin Wolf – Weissburgunder’ (white Burgundy). I should have tried my meal with this wine too, I guess.

My second glass of wine which I drank instead of having a dessert is considered a rarity in other parts of the world and this is exactly why I ordered it. The ‘2006 Blauer Zweigelt, Weingut Tement’, Südsteiermark (www.tement.at), showed a beautiful deep red colour. It displays flowery aromas, dominated by red berries, and is very smooth indeed and not heavy (12.5% alc.). The wine is aged for only about six months in small oak barrels.

Blauer Zweigelt (created in 1922 in Klosterneuburg by Fritz Zweigelt) is a cross between Blaufraenkisch and St. Laurent. It is the most widely planted red variety in Austria (resistance to frost) but has also gained some presence in Canada: the Niagara Region in Ontario and British Columbia.

Wine prices I found reasonable. The Pinot Gris sold for € 3.5 and the Blauer Zweigelt for € 4 for a 0.2 ltr/glass.

Address
Lutter und Wegner im Künstlerhaus
Lenbachplatz 8
80333 Munich
Te.: +49-895459490