Germany – wine heaven

August 31, 2014

After about two months in Germany, we move on to our new posting in Sofia, Bulgaria. It has been an exciting time. We enjoyed the climate, the greenness, the clean air and foremost: wonderful wines.

Coming from Bangkok, one is used to a 400% luxury tax on wine, which makes the heavenly drop very, very expensive. I used to say: a 5€ bottle of German Riesling wine, a solid but basic version of it, goes for 25-30 € equivalent in Thailand.

This has a devastating effect on my finances if not carefully targeted. Well, you might argue, there is wine produced by Thai vintners in Thailand itself. Are these wines not cheaper? The answer is “no”, because domestically produced wines are also subject to the luxury tax in the kingdom.

Germany, in comparison, is wine heaven. One can consume a wine from one of the primary producers for a pittance. Say 12 – 16 € for a Riesling from one of the top producers from Mosel, Saar, Pfalz and Rheingau.

It was no surprise that I dived into it, like a fish. I tried many different wines, from Germany and many European countries. I found out that there is lots of good quality wine in the market. But, apart from the famous VPD wineries, it is hard to find the really good stuff to drink, meaning a lot of tasting is required.

Concluding I might say that the two months in Germany was not sufficient time to find my favourite “every day wines”. I console myself with the fact that in my next destination, Bulgaria, there are many excellent wines to discover. Bulgaria is a wine region I know almost nothing about, which is a good start.

Stay tuned to my next entry.


It’s Riesling time

June 17, 2013

Selbach

2011 Selbach Riesling Classic

Recently, the supply with German Riesling wines in Bangkok has improved considerably. A fine specimen is the ‘2011 Selbach Riesling Classic’ by the Selbach Winery in Zeltingen, Mosel.

Selbach 1

The family enterprise has vineyards in Zeltingen, Wehlen, Graach and Bernkastel and is currently working 20 ha of vines, many of them in very steep locations along the Mosel river. 98% of the area is under Riesling, the rest is planted to Pinot Blanc. As is customary with many German wine producers, the Selbach Riesling assortment includes dry, semi-dry and sweet wines, plus late harvest and ice wine.

Selbach 2

In Bangkok only the classic dry Riesling variety from the Selbach winery is available (88 Parker Points). In order to get your hands on terroir specific and single vineyard wines you might have to identify a specific importer. Although ever since the new It’s Riesling initiative has started operating, one has a much better chance as a consumer to find more exotic Riesling wines of the highest quality.

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The Selbach Riesling Classic shows all the qualities of a good German Riesling. It is not bone dry, has a good acidity and citrus notes. Riesling is a perfect compliment with Asian cuisine, especially Thai and Chinese food. I paired it with the shrimps (in the picture above) and some spicy chicken (as in the picture below) and it worked very well.

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Chicken on my Weber grill


New website: It’s Riesling in Bangkok

April 19, 2013

Its Riesling web

It’s Riesling – cover website

As a lover of Riesling wines, I am always on the lookout for new initiatves promoting my favourite white wine grape. The other day I came across the facebook page of It’s Riesling.

I assume they are working from Thailand but I am not entirely sure about this. However, many of the pictures they posted on facebook show scenes and people from Bangkok. Also the telephone number seems to be a local one.

The motto of It’s Riesling is: “Wine is our passion; Riesling is our life”. I sincerely hope that this is true. Then I will have access to top German Riesling wines which would be fantastic.

They have some interesting wines on offer. I will keep you informed about my progress.


Best Australian Riesling 2012 – I need to try harder

February 7, 2013

Dr. Loosen Riesling

Author with a Dr. Loosen Riesling from the Mosel

As a man from the Mosel, I love the Riesling wines grown on the steep slopes of the valley. This is not to say that there are no other good Riesling wines elsewhere.

I also love the Rieslings from Rheinhessen, the Rheingau, the Pfalz and Alsace of course. When it comes to Riesling wines from my adopted home Australia, I still had not the necessary exposure which I very much regret.

Recently two Australian Rieslings won the top awards at two major wine shows in Australia. The ‘2012 Ravensworth Riesling’ a single vineyard wine produced by Ravensworth Wines, was the best wine of the 2012 Canberra International Riesling Challenge.

And the ‘2012 The Lodge Hill dry Riesling’ by Jim Barry Wines was awarded the honor of best table wine at the National Wine Show of Australia.

This is something. This is big. But what is even better is the pricing of these wines. The Ravensworth Riesling retails for A$ 20 and the Lodge Hill Dry Riesling for A$ 22. This is quality for money, I assume, and you need to buy now, because who knows how long this will last.


Roast venison from Schoden and a Riesling from the Mosel

December 20, 2012

It has been a while since my last blog entry. Somehow my work does not allow regular blog entries any longer. You will have guessed right: I was on an extended business trip to Germany.

After my official program was completed I also visited my mother in my home town Trier, just for a short weekend only. It was a cold and rainy day when I arrived late in the evening. My beloved Mosel lay in the dark.

Fortunately, a splendid meal was waiting for me. My friend Heinz had prepared roast venison for me. It was the last piece of meat he had left over from his hunting days in Schoden, Saar. In spring 2010 Heinz and his friends had lost their hunting rights to a group of hunters from Luxemburg.

Fortunately, he had the freezer full of delicious meat: venison, wild boar, wild sheep among others. The last piece of a young deer was just the right stuff to make me happy. As you can see from the two pictures below, the meal was awesome.

Wild 1

Roast venison with noodles and vegetables

Wild 2

What a fine consistency

What wine would go with this meal? Well, since the meat came from the Saar, the wine had to come from the Mosel. Fortunately, we had a bottle of ‘1999 Neumagener Rosengaertchen Riesling Spaetlese’ by Rainer Krebs, a winery in Neumagen-Drohn, Mosel.

MSR 1999 1

1999 Neumagener Rosengaertchen Riesling Spaetlese

The wine was amazing. It had the nose of petrol fumes, was full and buttery. Despite its age, the wine still displayed its great character. I do not know how many more year it would have lasted.

MSR 1999 2

It complemented our meal in a perfect way. We were reminiscing about the glorious hunting days in Schoden, the nights we spent together sitting in the cold and waiting for deer or wild pigs to show themselves. It was a wonderful time, and I am sad that the hunting rights could not be retained. But such is life, good things come, and go.

I salute all the hunters who treasured their time in this fabulous place.

Address:
Rainer Krebs
Weingut in Neumagen Dhron
Hinterburg 14
54347 Neumagen Dhron
Tel.:+49-6507 / 5934


Food and wine pairing: Pasta and Steinberger Riesling, Kloster Eberbach

November 2, 2012

My readers know that I adore Riesling wines. Here is another one which we had with a delicious pasta (see photo above) the other day. The intensity of the tomatoe sauce was matched by the vivid citrus aromas, the fine balance of the acids and the mineral character of the Riesling from the Rheingau, Germany.

The ‘2011 Steinberger Riesling trocken (dry)’ by the famous estate of Kloster Eberbach is a great drop for every day consumption. It is their basic wine, and at the cost of 8.90 Euro it is quite affordable. The wine has all what it takes to be an excellent Riesling.

Enjoy.

As the name “Steinberger” suggests, the vineyard is a kind of “stone hill” and just located nearby the monastry. For centuries fine wines were produced from this terroir. The short video below gives you an idea about it.


Sunday treat – dry Riesling from Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich, Bockenau, Nahe

September 30, 2012

Mother’s roe deer dish

Reminiscing about the past is one of the privileges of the not so young. A Sunday lends itself to such action, especially when considering the traditional German Sunday lunch.

Roe deer on noddles

While in my mothers house a few weeks back during our summer vacation, we were treated to roe deer goulash with noddles and salad. My friend Heinz, a passionate hunter, had reserved this particular piece of meat for me. He knows that I love game, especially meat of young animals.

Needless to say that this piece of roe deer was super delicious. When asked how they cook it, I can never quite figure out the recipe. Just simmering for a long time in a pot with some onions, is all what I could extract from the uttering of my mum. Well, I will have to prepare such a dish myself, one day and see.

The choice of wine was a foregone conclusion. Just a couple of days earlier we had visited the winery of the Schäfer-Fröhlich family in the village of Bockenau, Nahe.

In 1995 Tim Fröhlich took over the management of the vineyards and winery from his father. Today the estate has 16 ha under vines, some in the best locations in the vicinity (for instance Monzinger Halenberg, Monzinger Fruehlingsplaetzchen and Bockenauer Felseneck). His fine Riesling wines have won wide acclaim in the world of German wine. In 2010 Gault&Millau selected Tim for its “vintner-of-the-year award”.

The ‘2011 Bockenauer Riesling dry’ is a young wine. It comes from the hill just behind the winery. On the label it says “Schiefergestein” which means the the vines grow on blue and grey slate. I loved the lime and citrus aromas. The wine has great character, is fresh and exuberant. Its fine acidity shows great balance. This elegant Riesling has a long finish and might gain even more complexity when aged. No chance to age for this bottle, though. We needed it with the deer dish on that Sunday to bring absolute enjoyment to the Adam family.

PS: If you want to know where the grapes for this were grown, please visit Weinlagen-Info.de. My wine blogger friend, the winegetter, made me aware of this handy tool to find the vineyards and places where the grapes come from.