Wine tasting at Oechsle, Trier

October 29, 2013

The following wine tasting was a remarkable event which we utterly enjoyed. I do not include tasting notes here; we were not in the mood to write all that stuff down. We wanted to enjoy each others company and get on with the exploration of the wines.

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The Oechsle wine house in Trier

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The tasting facilities

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Wine stored in the tasting room

The wine tasting costs about 15 EURO/Person and includes six wines. So what were the wines we had included in the tasting, you might ask?

They were as follows:

– 2011 Chardonnay by Sektgut Laurentius
– 2011 Elbling Classic Margarethenhof by Juergen Weber
– 2011 Riesling Spaetlese (old vines) by the Bremm winey
– 2011 Ayler Riesling by Peter Lauer
– 2011 Chardonnay by von Nell Estate in Kasel
– 2011 Kasler Kehrnagel (off dry) by Recihsgraf von Kesselstatt

and two red wines
– Rotweikoenigin (red wine queen) by Longen-Schloeder
– 2011 Pinot Noir by Chateau Edmond de la Fontain

You will have noticed that this in more than six wines. In fact the sommelier was so encouraged by our enthusiasm that he served us some selected drops.

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Elbling, my new passion

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Riesling from the Mosel

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Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt, semi dry Riesling

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The Mosel produces also excellent Pinot Noir wines

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The jolly wine tasters: The Weber and Adam families

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Elbling temptation – Open day at the Fuerst Winery in Metzdorf

September 30, 2013

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The Fuerst Winery in Metzdorf

My day job does not leave me much times these days. However, as promised, I wanted to share with you some of my wine experience during the last summer vacation in Europe. Today I want to inform you about our visit of the “Hoffest”, a kind of open day with all kinds of program for the guests including food and wine of the Fuerst winery in Metzdorf, a small village on the banks of the Sauer river.

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Elbling, one of the oldest vine varieties

The Fuerst family is know for their excellent Elbling wines. Elbling, a white grape, is one of the oldest grape varieties in Europe. It’s origins are not entirely clear. Some claim that the Romans brought the grape to Gallia and Germania, others say that is was an indigenous variety cultivated by Celtic communities long before the Romans arrived.

However that may be. It is very high in acidity, and therefore suitable for the production of sparkling. The total area under Elbling grapes has decreased over the years. Less than 600 ha are planted to Elbling grapes these days, most of it along the Mosel river. Luxembourg has about 120 ha of Elbling vineyards.

The wine is spritzy and fruity, in short a straight forward affair, a pleasant and down to earth experience. It should be drunk young.

It was a splendid day when the six of us visited on a Sunday morning. Unfortunately we had missed the breakfast and morning walk in the vineyards, which was offered as an culinary and educational experience for the guests.

Because everybody was in the vineyards, the seats and tables in the winery were rather empty when we arrived which left us with lost of choice. Just about 30 minutes later the place should fill up very quickly and we were lucky to have a comfortable place.

We were hungry. The photos below show the different dishes we ordered. Apart from various cold platters, even a simple sausage with fries could be ordered. The barbecue and grilled meat were the favourites with many guests.

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I was eager to taste the Elbling wines. They should not disappoint me. There is nothing more refreshing on a hot summers day, I must say. The relatively low alcohol of the wine also helps.

Before we left I searched for the vintner; and the young wine-maker sold me a few bottles. I was amazed. Here you get value for your money. Please check out the price list of the Fuerst winery. You will find many pleasing offers.

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The man from the Mosel with daughter Lucy

Concluding I will say that Elbling is an underrated grape variety but makes very pleasing wines. If you visit the Mosel river and its tributaries, please plan for an excursion along the Elbling wine route and visit some of the lesser known hamlets and villages and taste the wines of small family owned vineyards and wineries.


Luxembourg and its wines – “wine study path” in Wasserbillig

September 4, 2012

The Mosel view towards Trier which is further donwstream

I have written about Luxembourg and its wines before. When I visit my home town Trier I almost always include also an excursion to the Gand Duchy. I love the place, its people and its wines

The vineyards of Wasserbillig in Luxembourg

When I visited in July, I discovered a so called “wine-study path” (Weinlehrpfad in German) right on top of the hills above Wasserbillig, a small town right across the border from Germany and very popular for its cheap petrol and the petrol stations selling coffee and also wines.

The ‘wine-study path’ from Wasserbillig to Mertert

The path leads from Wasserbillig to the neighbouring hamlet of Mertert. The walk through the vineyards is just magnificient. A multi-faced billboard at the start of the walk informs the casual visitor about the vineyards and the wine industry of this part of Luxembourg.

Map of the Mosel river and the mouth of the Sauer, a tributary

Billboard about the wines of Luxembourg

Luxembourg mainly produces dry white wines and sparkling wines called Crémant de Luxembourg. Since the soils are so different here from the soils further donwstream (where we find mostly Devon slate), also the wines are different. The keuper marl soils of Remich and the calcareous soils of Grevenmacher produce distinct whites reflecting the “taste” of these soils.

Wines and gastronomy in Luxembourg

The main grape varieties are Mueller-Thurgau (Rivaner), Auxerrois Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Elbling, Gewuerztraminer and Chardonnay. Some Pinot Noir is grown as well. All the wines are cold climate and usually dry. Very little semi-dry and sweet wines are produced.

Vines in “full swing”

I highly recommend this walk, and , of course, a tasting of wines made in Luxembourg.


Home again celebration – 2008 Redmont, Markowitsch, Austria

August 12, 2011

Bangkok August 2011: rainy season but with splendid mornings

How nice to be back home again. This time “home” means our flat in Bangkok.

After about four weeks on the road which brought us, among others, to my home town Trier in Germany and Ontario in Canada, we are finally back in Thailand and our “normal life” can resume.

Needless to say, we had a great time. Not only visited we family and friends but we also had gone on often spontaneous short trips for instance to Metz the capital of Lorraine, France, and Echternach in Luxembourg where we explored local culture, food and wine (Auxerrois wines in Lorraine and Elbling in Luxembourg).

Our visit to Ontario, Canada was mainly aiming at seeing friends of old student times. Two of my best friends, Dominik Franken and Gerd Eilers, had migrated to Canada after they finished their masters degrees in agricultural economics. After more than 20 years, it was time to renew our friendship and catch up with each other. That’s what we did.

We also used the opportunity to learn more about the “wineland Canada” as well, especially two regions were in our focus: the Niagara Peninsula and Prince Edward County, a marvel of a new and coming, cool climate wine region just south of Kingston, Ontario.

I have collected many stories, pictures, tasting notes, leaflets and brochures of wineries and other places we visited which will keep me busy blogging.

This abundance of material will also nurture my curiosity to learn more about the wines we tasted and the wineries we visited and embark on more research.

Due to the erratic availability of internet connectivity I have neglected my blog. The good news is that the Man from Mosel River is back. Now I just need some free time and opportunity to bring my notes into shape and share with my esteemed readers our recent wine experience.

Postscript
Question: What did we do after we arrived after a 10 hours flight from Fankfurt?

Answer: Well, we had a pasta, “bucatini alla amatriciana”, and a wine from Carnuntum, Austria which I had picked up while in transit on Vienna Airport.

The ‘2008 Redmont’ by Markowitsch, a blend of Zweigelt (50%), Blaufraenkisch (15%), Cabernet (15%), Merlot (10%) and Syrah (10%), was an inexpensive wine which I had grabbed without much thought, turned out to have a mighty nose and great aromas, which caught me by surprise.

The wine is well balanced and full bodied. I really enjoyed it. The only thing I did not like was the slight bitter after-taste one could feel on the palate. But I plan to buy another one of Markowitsch’s wines when I am in Vienna next time.


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?


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


Elbling wine in Echternach, Luxembourg

July 8, 2010

We went on a drive along the Mosel river to make good use of our limited time in Germany. It was a beautiful summers day with blue sky and temperatures in the low 30ies. We drove upriver to Wasserbilligerbrueck and north along the Sauer, a tributary of the Mosel.

The two towers of the main church of the abbey

Echternach on the Luxembourg side was our aim, a beautiful medieval town in eastern part of the Grand Duchess at the border to Germany. Echternach is famous for the rhythm of its annual procession, the “Echternacher Springprozession”: two steps forward, one step backward, the rhythm of many political reforms.

The orangery

Elbling is an old grape variety with an obscure origin but it has been widely planted in the Mosel wine region for many centuries. From medieval times until the 20th century Elbling was the most planted variety in this part of Germany. Nowadays it is a variety in decline. Not much is left of it, though, maybe only about 600 ha in Germany and about 150 ha in Luxembourg.

Elbling grapes make a rather neutral white wine with high acidity. It is the wine for every day in the southern part of the Mosel wine region. More often than not it is used for sparkling. In wine tastings Elbing does usually not feature at all.

There is even a revitalized Elbling wine route along the Upper Mosel at the right side of the river from Thorn, Palzem, Wincheringen, Nittel, Wellen, Temmels, Oberbillig until Wasserliesch and at the left side of the river from Igel to Langsur and along the Sauer river, a tributary of the Mosel from Mesenich to Metzdorf.

Local Elbling

We explored the town, the cathedral, the abbey and many of its public places which were filled with locals and some foreign tourists. When we finally settled in a small cafe, it was clear what we were going to order, the house-wine of the place. While the children enjoyed an ice cream, we indulged in a local Elbling. It was dry, clean and crisp with fine acidity; a great drop for a hot summers day. Come and visit this part at the heart of Europe. It’s worth it.