A spittoon

February 15, 2013


A spittoon at Weingut Karthäuserhof in Eitelsbach

When we had the open day at Weingut Karthäuserhof last August, I took this photo of a spittoon in the tasting room. I do not particularly like these receptacles but in serious wine tasting they are a necessity.

I will have to do more wine tastings to appreciate their usefulness, and wonder when this will happen.

Does anybody have other photos of spittoon for wine to share?

Have a good weekend.
Cheers (despite lent, I will have a few glasses of wine in the next weeks).

Pork on the rotisserie the German way: Schwenkbraten

November 17, 2012


Actually, ‘traditional German ‘Schwenkbraten’ is when the pork is on a movable gridiron which is beeing moved over a coal fire. The above picture is more of a rolled piece of pork on a rotisserie.

However, that may be, the German love to grill as much as the Australians do. And since the summers in Germany tend to be unpredictable, often short, every opportunity to be outside and operate a grill is used to everybodies delight.

What a delicious piece of meat?

The pork is stuffed with onions, bacon, maybe herbs

My friend Juergen doing the carving job

Ready to be served

Note: Let me tell you that the above pictures were taken in Eitelsbach, Ruwer. My old friends Elisabeth and Juergen Olk had organised a family reunion to which we were kindly invited. It was a lovely summers afternoon, with little children darting through the garden, and adults chatting, telling stories, and drinking and eating. Apart from some Ruwer wines, mostly Riesling, the preferred drink was beer. We had a delightful time. What a beautiful day that was.

Big summer wine tasting at Weingut Karthäuserhof, Eitelsbach II

September 26, 2012

Wine tasting

Let us come back to the Karthäuserhof estate tasting on August 11, 2012. It was a splendid summer’s day with blue sky and ample sunshine when we walked into the estate.

We paid our entrance fee of 15 Euro/person. It was all very confusing for a first time visitor. Many of the other guests, it seemed, knew their way around. Lot’s of people had showed up.

The wine tasting was conducted in two seperate locations. The first was a rather crammed barn with four tasting stations. I can only recall three of the wineries represented. The barn was packed with people, pushing and shoving along.

The vintners behind their tables were equally, let’s call it – stressed. I immediately felt some regret. Why did I give up a perfectly spacious table elsewhere and a bottle of wine in a quite atmoshere, I aske myself.

The tasting station of Knipser Estate

The three wineries were:

Weingut Knipser (Knipser Estate), Laumersheim, Pfalz
My first wine from Knipser I had tasted in Beijing, China, about 24 years ago, when my friend Norbert who is a native of the Pfalz, presented me with some dry Riesling from this estate. The family tradition of wine production in the Pfalz goes back to 1615 (an incredible long time in an Australian context).

Weingut Meyer-Näkel (Meyer-Näkel Estate), Dernau, Ahr
The Meyer-Näkel family, now in the fifth generation, has about 15 ha under vines, 75% of which are Pinot Noir, 12% early Pinot Noir, 5% Pinot Blanc, 5% Riesling and 3% others. One of the two daughters presented the wines when we were there. The Ahr is the northernmost (and the smallest) wine region of Germany and produces some stunning Pinot Noir wines.

Weingut Koehler-Ruprecht or The Vintage Vineyard as it is called on the webpage, Kallstadt, Pfalz
The vineyard is about 10.5 ha in size. The mainly white varieties (Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Muscat, Scheurebe and Pinot Gris) are planted on a calcerous soil in four locations in Kallstadt (Saumagen, Annaberg, Steinacker, Kreidkeller).

The first two wineries I know quite well. I have tasted wines from these producers at various occasions. The Koehler-Ruprecht estate was new to me. I admit that I do not know the village of Kallstadt near Bad Dürkheim. The webpage of Koehler-Ruprecht, however, is presenting the estate in five languages (German, English, Chinese, Norwegian and French)!

The Meyer-Näkel tasting table

And now the bad news: the crowded conditions did not lend themselves to note taking. Anyway, I was not in the mood while being pushed and shoved to think about anything, except: let’s get our of here as quick as possible.

But then I also thought, Rainer, you should taste some of the wines. Which I did. I remember nothing, except that the grand cru Meyer-Näkel Pinot Noir was wonderful, and that the daughter behind the counter was very kind and friendly.

We went to search for the second wine tasting station thereby recovering a bit from our claustrophobia.

More about this later.
Stay tuned.

Big summer wine tasting at Weingut Karthäuserhof, Eitelsbach

September 23, 2012

Karthäuserhof Estate, main gate

A winery I always wanted to visit is the Weingut Karthäuserhof in Eitelsbach, a small hamlet which is part of Ruwer, a suburb of Trier, just a couple of kilometres away from my home in the city centre.

The wine estate Karthäuserhof is a member of the elite club of German wine estates, the VDP. It is a prime producer of outstanding Riesling wines. The estate if farmed by the sixth generation of the Tyrell family. The vintner Christoph Tyrell is well known in the region and beyond.

Every year on the second weekend in August, Karthäuserhof is hosting a wine tasting conducted in co-operation with about a dozen other top German wineries from various wine regions. The 2012 tasting was a very special occasion since it marked the 200 anniversary and jubilee vintage of the Tyrell family.

The 11 August 2012 was a special day indeed; it was our last full day in Germany before our departure to Bangkok. My wife Margit and I, we were looking forward to the event despite the fact that we knew we could not buy a lot since our suitcases were already full with various bottles of wine which we had already purchased.

Our view from the bathroom window

Since we stayed with friends right across from the estate, we had a great view of the location “Karthäuserhofberg”, one of the ‘grand cru terroir’ of Karthäuserhof.

The vineyard has an inclination of about 50%. The soil is Devon grey and blue slate. It is situated right next to the winery and exclusively in the ownership of the Tyrell family. The total area under vines in one plots (very unusual for Germany, I would say) is about 19 ha, 17.7 of which are under Riesling, the rest under Pinot Blanc grapes.

I hope I have wetted your appetite. My next blog entry will deal with the wine tasting, the various wineries represented and their wines. Stay tuned.

Weingut Karthäuserhof
Karthäuser Straße,
54292 Trier,
Tel.: +49-651-5121

Ruwer Riesling – Van Elkan semi-dry, slate Riesling, Mertesdorf

September 18, 2011

Many of my friends in Trier just love off-dry Riesling wines. One of them is my old high-school friend Juergen Olk who lives in Eitelsbach.

When we visited him and his family in July he produced this wonderful bottle of Riesling from the Ruwer valley. The Ruwer river is a tributary to my beloved Mosel.

I did not know the Van Elkan winery. Although I am not that much a lover of semi-dry (or semi sweat) wines, I must say that I liked this wine.

Christina and Marco van Elkan started their venture into the wine industry in 2003. Their philosophy of low yields and minimum intervention pays off. The quality of their wines is already well recognized.

2010 Van Elkan semi-dry, slate Riesling

The van Elkan wines are reasonably priced (7.00 to 9.80 EURO per bottle).

I wonder what the dry wines of the van Elkan family estate taste like. Something to explore further.

Christina and Marco van Elkan
Rieslingweg 1
54318 Mertesdorf
Tel: +49-651-9954475
Fax: +49-651-9954476

Mama’s kitchen: tender bighorn fillet with mushrooms

May 11, 2007

Because I am from a hunter’s family, we have from time to time dished with meat from wild animals at home. During my recent visit to Trier, my mother prepared a tender fillet of a young bighorn sheep (Mufflon in German). The young Mufflon was shot in Schoden at the Saar river by my friend Heinz. She served it with freshly collected wild mushrooms (Steinpilze also from Schoden), a cabbage salad and spaetzle (literally translated: little sparrow), a kind of tiny noodles or dumplings made with flour, eggs, water or milk, salt and sometimes nutmeg mainly used in the South German (my mother comes from Franconia), Austrian, Alsace and Swiss cuisine. I took some photos of the delicacies so that one gets a better idea. It was such a wonderful meal.


The bighorn fillet


The mushrooms


The old folks

When I raided my mother’s wine cellar, I found a bottle with the picture of Karl Marx, one of the most famous sons of my home town Trier. Agreed, the application (or the interpretation hereof) of his ideas has brought much misery to the world. However, now mankind knows for sure that planning economies do not work, but that market based economic co-ordination systems are much better for us all.


This bottle was given to me for my 50th birthday a couple of years ago. It contained a 2002 Eitelsbacher Marienholz Pinot Noir (Spaetburgunder) from the von Beulwitz Estate (www.von-Beulwitz.de), now owned by the Weis family in Mertesdorf, one of the villages at the Ruwer river, a small tributary to the Mosel (and part of the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer denomination). The Ruwer terroir has about 300 ha under vines in various locations (Ruwer/Eitelsbach, Mertesdorf, Kasel, among others). Some of the best German Riesling is grow here since Roma time. In fact the earliest findings of vine cultivation date back to the 2nd century. A stone relief called “The vintner in his wokshop” is the one of the oldest historical relicts (the other one is the wine ship of Neumagen).


Ruwer vineyards

The von Beulwitz estate goes back about 140 years and produces mainly Riesling wines, many of which have won international awards and trophies. The most recent one is the “Trophée d’excellence” “Riesling du monde”/Strassbourg for it’s 2003er Kasler Nies’chen, Riesling Auslese, “Alte Reben” (old vines). The 2005 Riesling Spaetlese from this location gained 97 points.

The estate grows vines on about 5 ha, mainly in steep locations in Kasel and Eitelsbach. Yields are kept low in order to produce wines of great elegance and finesse. Unfortunately, the Pinot Noir of 2002 did not fall into this superb category, it was a rather ordinary wine. But despite this, we enjoyed the meal and the wine and had a good time at home. I promised myself to try some of the award wines next time.