Women in the wine industry

March 8, 2013

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Lucy and Charlotte Adam

Today is international women’s day. It is a very special day especially since exactly 25 years ago I have met my wife Margit for the first time (in an Italian language class in Rome). So we are celebrating today, and I will tell you what wine we will drink at this special occasion.

But before I come to this, let me also say that the next generation is getting ready. My two daughters Lucy and Charlotte are in the middle of their preparations for the IB examinations. They have big plans. Both want to study at Melbourne University.

At this, I admit, very preliminary point, both will have some connection with the land and country, it seems. Lucy intends to do an oenology course (but she will study politics), and Charlotte wants to get involved into environmental science for sustainable agriculture. If they stay course, we might welcome two new vintners at Two Hills Vineyard.

This is of course the future calling, but the two have not disappointed at no time.

By the way, my role has also been defined in advance: farm hand, is my destination.

OK back to the present. What will we be drinking tonight? Can you guess?

It will be a ‘2012 Maximin Grünhäuser Riesling trocken’ by Schlosskellerei Maximin Grünhaus C. von Schubert in Mertesdorf, Ruwer. I have written an entry of the earlier vintage of this wonderful wine from my beloved Mosel river.

PS: Thanks to another “Man from the Mosel”, my friend Thomas Weber, I am in the possession of the above bottle. Thank you Thomas for carrying this treasure more than 10,000 miles to the other end of the earth.

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Winery of the Year 2012 – The German Champions

October 12, 2012

In the last week of September three of my favourite German wineries were honoured by the Wine & Spirits Magazine, and included in the top 100 list of the best wineries of the world in 2012.

The three wineries are the following:

1. Dr. Loosen, Bernkastel, Mosel
The winery has been in the Loosen family for more than 200 years. Ernst Loosen took over in 1988, and, as they say, the rest is history. Dr. Loosen is maybe one of the best known German vintners in the international wine scene. I was so happy when Barrique, my local wine shop in Healesville, Victoria was carrying Dr. Loosen wines.

Address:
Winery Dr. Loosen,
St. Johannishof
54470 Bernkastel, Mosel
Tel.: +49-6531-3426
info@drloosen.com
www.drloosen.com

2. C. von Schubert, Mertesdorf, Ruwer, Mosel
This winery has also a long tradition. The “Grünhaus”, as the estate is also known, was already mentioned in ancient documents in 966 when it belonged to the Benedictine monastery of Saint Maximin in Trier.

Carl von Schubert, the current owner-operator, belongs to the fifth generation of the von Schubert family. The estate produces outstanding wines and was awarded many national and international prices. I tasted some of the Maximin Grünhäuser 2011 vintage dry Riesling wines during our summer vacation

Address:
Dr. Carl von Schubert
Hauptstr. 1
54318 Mertesdorf
Tel.:+49-651-5111
Fax: +49-651-52122
info@vonschubert.de
www.vonschubert.com

3. Robert Weil, Kiedrich, Rheingau
The winery was set-up in 1875. The founder was the university professor Robert Weil who taught German at the Sorbonne in Paris. The Franco-Prussian war of 1870/71 forced him to return to his native Germany. He settled down in Kiedrich, Rheingau and extended his vineyards and laid the foundation for today’s estate. In 2010 I found some bottles of the Robert Weil 2008 vintage in a Bangkok wine shop. Delicious.

Address:
Winery Robert Weil
Mühlberg 5
65399 Kiedrich, Rheingau
Tel.: +49-6123 2308
Fax: +49-6123 1546
info(at)weingut-robert-weil.com
www.weingut-robert-weil.com


Riesling from the Ruwer river: Maximin Grünhaus

September 14, 2012

2011 Maximin Grünhäuser Riesling trocken

One of the nicest dry Mosel Riesling wine I tasted during our summer vacation in Trier was a ‘2011 Maximin Grünhäuser Riesling trocken’ by Schlosskellerei Maximin Grünhaus C. von Schubert in Mertesdorf, Ruwer.

It was at Weinsinnig, one of my favourite wine bars in Trier, that we sampled this wine with its romantic and old fashioned label. The wine has character. Although just from their “ordinary” dry Riesling class, you get value for money (9.90 EURO/0.75 l. bottle).

2011 Maximin Grünhäuser Riesling trocken

It has the zest, the exuberance, the fine balance of acids, the opulent aromas, the structure and long finish one longs for in a Mosel Riesling. Although I had driven past the winery many times before, I had never tasted a wine from this first class producer in the Ruwer valley.

The MUNDUS VINI award for the best dry white wine in Germany 2011 and the “Big Gold Medal” were bestowed on the ‘2009 Maximin Grünhäuser Abtsberg Riesling Qualitätswein old vines’, of the estate. I wonder what this wine would taste like.

But I tell you, I will return, and include some more of their wines when I visit the Mosel next time.

Address:
Dr. Carl von Schubert
Hauptstr. 1
54318 Mertesdorf

Tel.: +49 (651) 5111
Fax : +49 (651) 52122
info@vonschubert.de

Maximin Grünhaus


Karl Marx and Chinese Grape Wine

November 28, 2008

To state it from the outset, Karl Marx never ever tasted Chinese grape wine in his lifetime. However, Karl Marx, the most famous son of my home town Trier, used to own for some time some of the better vineyards properties along the Ruwer river, a tributary of my beloved Mosel river.

The Marx family vineyard was found in the location “Viertelsberg” a medium quality terroir near the castle ‘Gruenhaus’. In 1857 the family sold its vineyards in Mertesdorf. Karl not only invested in vineyards and the wine industry but he also loved to drink Mosel wine. I frankly do not understand how Marx could survive those many years in London where good Mosel wines were certainly hard to come by in the latter half of the 19th century.

Marx would have enjoyed the samples of “College Wine” produced by the Chinese Agricultural University (CAU) oenology department. The wine is produced for purely non-commercial reasons. The bottles were presented to me by an old friend. We enjoyed it over a meal which marked our reunion. The wine went very well with the Chinese food on offer. Later at home in Bangkok we would have it with an Italian pasta. But in this case I felt that some depth and ‘strength’ was lacking.

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The grapes for this wine come from Changli in Hebei province and were supplied to the oenology department by the well known Huaxia Winery. When I lived in Beijing in the early 1990s, it was marketed as Great Wall wine.

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Swirling in the glass – what a beautiful ruby-red colour

The wine displays the typical varietal character of a Cabernet Sauvignon but is medium to lights bodied. At 12% alcohol it’s a bit “thin”/”light” for my taste. In comparison, it went well with Chinese but not Italian food.

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A somehow classic design

Afterthought
PS: Despite the fact that the CAU is a modern university, at the entrance to its eastern campus, one of the few statues of Mao Zedong graces the gate. When I lived in Beijing in the early 1990s, my friend David McGrath (al marhum), chased the remaining Mao statues still standing in the capital city. He took photos of all of them. If I remember correctly David identified 8 statues. Around ‘Xue Yuan’ road where I stayed, I found 4 of these 8 in no time. All were to be found at the entrances of universities or other academic institutions.

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The four Mao statues

F.l.t.r. and up to down: Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development, China University of Geosciences, University of Science and technology, China Agricultural University.


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.

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The bighorn fillet

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The mushrooms

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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.

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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).

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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.