Back from paradise

August 13, 2013

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The Mosel river near Trittenheim

In the picture above you will see the wine village of Leiwen (left). Further around the bend of the river (to the right) is the wine village of Trittenheim. This is basically the view of the Mosel you will get when you drive though the Hunsrueck mountains.

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Trittenheim, Mosel

And this was also our first view of the Mosel when we arrived in Germany for our summer vacation this year. We were mesmerized. What a splendid view, what a splendid landscape, what a splendid river, how good to be home.

From the outset let me tell you we had a great time (only about 3 weeks), and despite our at best erratic planning and our lousy preparation, we were able to line up some unique, memorable and exquisite encounters with the wine and food world.

I intend to write in more detail about most of these encounters. But let me not be too optimistic as regards the time available for blogging.

So what were the highlights of our visit?

Well, we had the best pork-knuckle ever (!) after a two hour march through the forests near the Ammersee on our way to the monastery of Andechs, a famous location for catholic pilgrims. Bavaria is a fantastic place to visit especially if the weather gods are smiling on you, and smile they did. We had warm, at times even hot, weather during the whole time of our holidays.

Along the Mosel we visited three wineries – two along the Ruwer, one on the Sauer, both tributaries of the Mosel – and had one wine tasting in Trier city at Oechsle. Wonderful, exquisite, I can only rave about the many fresh and zesty wines we had the opportunity to sample.

The wineries we visited were:

Fuerst Winery, Metzdorf, Sauer
Karthaeuserhof Estate, Eitelsbach, Ruwer
Maximin Gruenhaus C. von Schubert Winery-Estate, Mertesdorf, Ruwer

Another highlight was the visit of one of the best restaurants in the Alsace region of France. For a family lunch we went to the Auberge du Cheval Blanc in Lembach, Alsace near Wissembourg in the Vosges mountains.

Needless to say we spent many afternoon and evenings in wine bars and beer gardens, among them the wine bar Kesselstatt and the wine bar “Weinsinnig”, two of my favourite places to relax and enjoy a good glass of wine in Trier.

More soon. Stay tuned.

PS: I made some gorgeous pictures.

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Mosel wine in the EVA Air lounge in Taipei

November 22, 2012

The other day, while I was waiting for my flight home to Bangkok, I discovered to my great amazement in the business class airline lounge of EVA Air, that a wine from my native Mosel was on offer.

What a pleasant surprise, I thought, when I spotted the label in the wine cooler. It was a ‘2011 Bockstein Kabinett Grand Cru’ by St. Urbans-Hof in Leiwen, Mosel. The wine village of Leiwen is only a couple of kilometers away from my home town Trier.

I have visited the winery and love their crisp-dry Rieslings. For the first time I had the opportunity to taste one of their off-dry wines. The terroir, “Bockstein” in Ockfen, a small village at the Saar river, a tributary to the Mosel, is also a place very dear to me.

From the raised hides in the hunting territory of Schoden (another village at the banks of the Saar river) one could have a glimpse of the “Bockstein”, a rock formation towering over the Saar valley. It’s vineyards are very steep and the Riesling grapes grown are famous for their high quality.

Off-dry whites are not my favourites, but of course this wine showed it’s outstanding quality. It was full and lush, smooth as silk in the mouth, with intensive and mellow Riesling aromas. It had also a long finish, and I loved the balance of sugar and acidity.

Moreover, I found my beloved Mosel (Saar) here, thousands of miles away in a place of Asia where I least expected it.


Progressive dining experience – do we need culinary art?

May 6, 2011

In today’s Bangkok Post a novel cuisine was described which is currently offered at the “Plaza Athenee Bangkok and Fin”, a place I have never heard of. According to the paper “Progressive dining experience” is a new gastronomic concept involving pop-up venues and somthing called “molecular cuisine”.

It promises an inventive, novel culinary adventure, something unique in Bangkok. The originators, Daniel Bucher and Axel Herz, are two young award winning chefs from Le Meridien in Hamburg.

But what is “molecular cusine”, “molecular cooking” or “molecular gastronomy”? Well, of course any cooking is “molecular” so to speak. According to Daniel Bucher it is “avant-gard culinary art combined with hard-core food science” presented in pop-up (impromptu) venues.

It is supposed to be what modern city dwellers want: sustainable, environment friendly, highest quality food for a competitive price in an environment with low overheads. It is supposed to provide creative freedom, fun and laughing and even “to make you love” food, I suppose.

The newspaer article does not provde any information about the price of the five course menu and the five wines which were part of the dinner.

Well, for an Epicurean like myself that should be the ultimate, should’nt it? If you eat for pleasure alone and not for nurishment, isn’t that the good life we are all striving for?

Despite the fact that I spent more time dwelling in big Asian cities than in rural areas, I am a country boy, and thanks god that. My type of food is not the deigner stuff you get in those modern restaurants. I want real food and not art.

You can find many of the meals I treasure here on my blog. But I am afraid that I have to go and taste for myself otherwise my criticism lacks a certain edge and the profoundness necessry to be credible.

As compensation, let me invite you to a glass of wine instead. My recommendation is, surprise surprise, a German Riesling, a ‘2009 Grans-Fassian Laurentiuslay GG’ by Grans-Fassian Estate in Leiwen, Mosel.

This is the best Riesling wine I tasted this year.


The “philosophers fish” with a St. Urbans-Hof Riesling

April 17, 2011

I love fish in all variations. “The Philosophers Kitchen”, a cookery book by Francine Segan offers great fish recipes. The red snapper in parchment recipe you can also find in my blog entry of 2007 titeled: A philosopher’s lunch.

Fish with olive and capers

Potato wedges

I had brought from Germany a great wine for exactly such an occasion, a ‘2009 Laurentiuslay GG Riesling’ by St. Urban’s Hof Estate in Leiwen, Mosel.

Refreshing 2009 Laurentiuslay GG Riesling

This grand cru Riesling is just wonderful. It not only scores high on Parker points but is a great example what top Riesling producers from the Mosel can do with this grape variety. The 2009 Laurentiuslay Riesling GG was one of the five best Riesling wines I tasted in 2010.

I can do only one more thing: suggest to you to get a bottle, soonest I would say.

The front label

The good news is that I have one more bottle in my fridge here in Bangkok, reserved for another special lunch with great food. Unfortunately, my fridge has no “magical properties”. I will have to bring more bottles from Germany via suitcase which is not very commodious.

Address:
St. Urbans-Hof Estate
Urbanusstraße 16
D-54340 Leiwen/Mosel
Germany

Tel.: +49 65 07 / 93 77-0
Fax: +49 65 07 / 93 77-30
www.urbans-hof.de

Winery’s opening hours:
Monday – friday: 9 am – 5 pm
Saturday: 9 am – 3 pm (on appointment)
Sundays and on holidays: closed


Mother’s cooking: Venison with a Grans-Fassian Riesling, Leiwen, Mosel

April 13, 2011

I love nothing more than when my mother cooks venison or other game meat for me. She does not eat it herself because she does not like game meat at all. But my friend Heinz, a passionate hunter, and me, we just love it.

Mushrooms, Swabian “Spaezle” and venison from a ‘red deer’

In his freezer Heinz has stored all kinds of beautiful pieces of hare, roe deer, red deer, moufflon and wild boar from his hunting expeditions. And when I am home in Trier, we have a feast. This time they prepared a fillet from red deer for me.

And that’s the meal

No better wine with this al of game than a wine from the Saar river, I thought. Because the red deer was shot in Schoden, Saar where Heinz used to hunt. “Used to” because he lost his hunting territory. From the first of April other tenants has taken possession of it. The association of landowners, ‘Gehoeferschaft’ called in German, has decided to award the six year lease contract to another group of hunters.

But I had no wine from the Saar at hand. So what to drink with the delicious venison?

Well, there are plenty of good Riesling wines around. My choice then was a ‘2009 Laurentiuslay GG (grand cru) Riesling’ by Grans-Fassian a top Riesling producer from from Leiwen, Mosel.

Though I am not a “point drinker”, and this wine scores in the mid 90ies, is a ripper of a Riesling. As expected, it did not disappoint me. This is a “must buy” wine. I just love it. I even got a bottle here in my wine fridge in Bangkok.

So if you are traveling along the Mosel, visit Leiwen and buy a couple of cases from Grans-Fassian Estate. You will not regret it.

2009 Laurentiuslay Riesling GG by Grans-Fassian Estate

Address:
Weingut Grans-Fassian
Römerstraße 28
54340 Leiwen, Mosel

Tel.: +49- 6507 -3170
Fax: +49-6507 – 8167
E-Mail: weingut@grans-fassian.de

Monday-Friday
8.00-12.00 und 13.30-16.30 Uhr
or on prior appointment


St. Urbans-Hof Estate in Leiwen, Mosel

February 9, 2011

Flat vineyards around the St. Urbanshof winery in Leiwen

There are not only steep slopes and stony vineyards along the Mosel but also flat bits, as in the picture above which shows the vineyards around the winery of St. Urbans-Hof in Leiwen, Mosel.

St. Urbans-Hof Oekonomierat Nic. Weiss Estate is member in the prestigeous VDP, the association of the top wineries in Germany. I visited the cellar door on a bleak November morning last year.

The winery

The entrance to the estate

Cellar door

Cellar door

Cellar door

My purchase

Wine box with label

2009 Laurentiuslay Riesling GG St. Urbans-Hof

The tasting of German “grand cru” (GG=grosses Gewaechs) Riesling wines by the German wine magazine “Weinwelt” awarded 91 points to the ‘2009 Leiwen Laurentiuslay Riesling GG’ by St. Urbans-Hof. I bought a couple of bottles, one of which I openend with a meal of game prepared by my friend Heinz. The wine is a wonderful specimen of Mosel Riesling and shows all the marvelleous characteristics they posses.

My conclusion is that any visitor to the Mosel river should visit the wine village of Leiwen, and – ergo – the fantastic wineries and vineyards to taste these georgeous Riesling wines.

Address:
Weingut St. Urbans-Hof
Urbanusstraße 16
D-54340 Leiwen/Mosel
Tel.: +49 65 07 / 93 77-0
Fax: +49 65 07 / 93 77-30
www.urbans-hof.de


Grand Cru from the Mosel: 2009 Dhron Hofberg Riesling GG by Grans-Fassian

January 30, 2011

Beautiful fish

Pomfret, or Bawal Putih, as we call it in Indonesia, is a wonderful fish; in fact it is one of my favourites. I also love “fish-Sundays” which always lends itself to a beautiful white wine. Mind you, I also drink red wine with fish, but if I have some Riesling in my fridge….

Pomfret

With the chilli-garlic-ginger sauce, the pomfret was just wonderful.

From the outset, I was clear about the wine. Well, actually our wine fridge is quite empty. But from my last trip to Germany in November last year, I brought with me two bottles of precious liquid: Riesling wines from my beloved Mosel river.

You might guess it, yes. I opened a bottle of ‘2009 Dhron Hofberg GG Riesling’ by Grans-Fassian Estate in Leiwen, Mosel. This grand cru (or Grosses Gewaechs as the German call it) is just wonderful.

2009 Dhroner Hofberg Riesling GG by Grans-Fassian Estate

Wine tastings last year by Weinwelt, a German wine magazine, awarded it with 95 Parker points. The wine is luscious and complex, with beautiful peach and citrus aromas. It has the minerality of the Mosel Riesling. The fine acids and the balance of the wine are just mind blowing.

Wine prices in Bangkok are astronomical. For a 5 EURO wine in Germany one has to fork out about 20-30 EURO here. You can have the Dhron Hofberg Riesling for a price below 20 EURO from the cellar door. The trip is worth it. Leiwen is a treasure trove for wine lovers and Riesling geeks.

I wrote about the Grans-Fassian Estate in an earlier blog entry. The winery is also member in the prestigious VDP (the Association of German Quality Wine Estates).

Cheers and “zum Wohl”

Address:
Weingut Grans-Fassian
Römerstraße 28
54340 Leiwen, Mosel
Tel.: +49-6507-3170
Fax: +49-6507-8167
E-Mail: weingut@grans-fassian.de
Openng hours: Mon. to Fri.
8.00-12.00 und 13.30-16.30 h
www.grans-fassian.de