Greek fish stew with Riesling from the Nahe wine region

October 22, 2012

Greek fish stew

I love the recipes from Jamie Oliver. In his book: “Jamie does…”, the Aegean Kakavia, a Greek fish stew, is presented.

These days, as you know, there is some kind of weariness between Greek and German people because of the currency and bailout issues. So a Greek dish with a German wine seemed the right pairing; hinting at some kind of reconciliation or just because fish and Riesling harmonize so well?

I don’t know.

The recipe is dead simple. The beauty is that any fish will do. We had flounder and prawns. Chop some onions, tomatoes, garlic, celery and potatoes and cook it in some vegetable stock, with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. At the end add some fresh parsley and dill, and voilà, here we are.

2010 dry Riesling by Emrich-Schoenleber

I love Riesling and hold the wines made by Emrich-Schoenleber Estate in Monzingen, Nahe in high esteem. They remind me of my childhood and the time I spent with my maternal grandfather in Martinstein, just a couple of kilometres to the West.

This low alcohol (11.5%), bone dry Riesling is a fine specimen of what the Nahe wine region can produce. The wine is fresh and zesty, with intense lemon aromas, well balanced acidity and a long finish. I could have a bottle every day…but since I live in Bangkok, this is hardly possible. The more I treasure this fine Riesling wine.

If you happen to pass by the Nahe, visit the winery of the father and son vintner duo and enjoy a 250-year tradition of grape-growing and wine-making. The cellar door of the Emrich-Schoenleber family is a beautiful place to taste fine wines. You will not regret it.

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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.


The Nahe wine region: Schaefer-Froehlich Winery in Bockenau, Nahe

August 1, 2012

A vineyard in Bockenau, Nahe

Every year when we visit Germany in summer, we start our family vacation with a hearty breakfast in Bad Sobernheim, Nahe. We drive to this picturesque little town on the banks of the Nahe river right from Frankfurt airport.

After we have fortified ourselves, we usually pay a visit to one of the wineries in the vicinity. This year’s choice was the family winery of Schaefer-Froehlich in Bockenau, Nahe.

Regular readers of my blog know how fond I am of the Nahe wine region. Family tradition and my own history somehow tie me to this very diverse grape growing region. I nurture these emotional links through the enjoyment of the region’s excellent Riesling wines.

The Schaefer-Froehlich winery is highly decorated and its outstanding wines regularly win awards in national and international wine events. In 2010 Tim Froehlich was selected by Gault Millau as the wine-maker of the year. And Eichelmann awarded it the winery-of-the-year award in 2011.

The entrance to the vintner’s house

I called the winery to make sure that someone was there to receive us. Very often I just go and take my chances. It was good that I called, the voice on the other side told me that they were very busy with the bottling of the last vintage, and that it was not a good time to visit. But I was able to convince the person to welcome us since we came from far away and because we would not stay long.

Bottling in full swing at Schaefer-Froehlich winery

We were received by Nicole Froehlich. She led us to the cosy tasting room up on the first floor, where we started right away with serious business. Wine tasting so early in the morning has its challenges.

Nicole Froehlich introducing the wines

I did not want to waste the host’s time and overstay our welcome. Therefore I restricted the tasting to two wines only, both dry Riesling wines, one grown on volcanic soil, the other one on slate. Both are excellent wines, young and exhilarating with aging potential and great character. This is Riesling as I like it.

The two dry Riesling wines by Schaefer-Froehlich

Interestingly enough the volcanic one appealed to me more than the Riesling grown on slate, despite its greater complexity and finesse. My wife preferred the “slate Riesling”.

I wonder what the grand-cru wines are like when the “ordinary wines” of Schaefer-Froehlich are such delicacies. Guess what” I will tell you after my next visit to this wonderful place.

The wine tasting crew from down under

I highly recommend this winery, it’s wines are outstanding and service is just great. Please call them before you rock up.

Address:
Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich
Schulstraße 6,
55595 Bockenau, Nahe
Tel.: +49 6758 6521
Fax: +49 6758 8794
www.weingut-schaefer-froehlich.de


Riesling from the Nahe river

November 3, 2011

2010 Riesling S “Vom Buntsandstein” Pastorenberg by F.E. Schott

Very nice and very drinkable wines from the Nahe are wines from the F.E. Schott Family Estate in Wallhausen, Nahe. About a year ago, I have met Michael Schott, the family wine-maker, at a wine festival in a suburb of Berlin where he and his mother presented their wares to the German capital city’s consumers.

I had used the opportunity to sample some of the wines. Because of my maternal grand-father and my long connection with the Nahe wine region (about 4,200 ha under vines), I just cannot ignore the wines from this jewel of a wine region.

The Schott Family Estate Winery

The location (terroir) Wallhaeuser Pastorenberg is one of the five vineyard locations in Wallhausen and Bad Kreuznach the family cultivate today.

Since 2009 the brothers Michael and Benjamin have taken over the cultivation of the estate. benjamin is taking care of the vineyards and Michael is making the wine. Apart from Riesling, also Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc are grown. The red grape varieties include Dornfelder, Dunkelfelder, St Laurent and Pinot Meunier (Schwarzriesling).

The 2010 vintage was not bad. The ‘2010 Riesling S “Vom Buntsandstein” Pastorenberg’ is a dry wine which won a gold medal at the local winery associations wine awards competition. The price is very reasonable (7 Euro/bottle). It is an easy drinking wine for every day consumption.

You should visit the family (they are very nice people) winery when you are near Bad Kreuznach. Wallhausen (with about 224 ha under vines) is a very pictureque little place.

Address:
WEINGUT F.E. SCHOTT
An der Ruh 2
D-55595 Wallhausen – Nahe

Tel: +49-67 06 – 402
Fax: +49-67 06 – 6283
Mail: weingut@schottwein.de
www.schottwein.de


Riesling from the Nahe – 2008 Monzinger Halenberg by Emrich-Schönleber

October 21, 2011

I love to eat fish. Red snapper is a good one. That one can prepare it with mushrooms was new to me. Alas there is Marcella Hazan and her cookery book which are always an inspiration.

Dinner in the making

Mushrooms on the fish

Unfortunately, I messed up the pictures of the food on the plate. I do not know how it happened. At times I am just too stupid to handle my new camera, it seems. Sorry folks, you have to be content with the two pictures above. I assure you that the fish was delicious. We served it with a bean salad in onions but had also some peeled tomatoes as a salad. We did not need carbohydrates.

A delicious fish, I usually enjoy with a good wine, not always white, sometimes red, but tonight it was white. From my last visit to Germany I had brought a bottle of my favourite winery in the Nahe valley, Weingut (winery) Emrich-Schönleber in Monzingen, a small village next to where my grandfather used to live (Martinstein) and where I spent almost all my school holidays.

The winery Emrich-Schönleber is one of the best wineries in the Nahe region and in Germany. It is famous for its dry and off-dry Riesling wines, mainly from the locations Halenberg and Fruehlingsplaetzchen. I usually visit them coming straight from the airport during my annual sommer break or home leave as it is called.

It is hard for a German Riesling lover who resides in Bangkok to find good Riesling wines. I am spoiled in this, I know.

But look at this colour? Golden, pure, with a fragrance of delicious grape fruit and citrus flavours. It has some residual sugar, so it’s not bone dry but the wine is creamy and dense, round and full, with good structure and a wonderful long finish.

It stays on the palate. If you ask me, it could stay there for ages. I was in paradise for the duration of the meal and woke up to the hard reality: no more Riesling from Emrich-Schönleber in my wine fridge.

Sigh, life can be hard.

2008 Monzinger Halenberg R by Emrich-Schönleber

Address:
Weingut Emrich-Schönleber
Soonwaldstraße 10a
D-55569 Monzingen
Tel.: +49-67 51-27 33
Fax: +49-67 51-48 64
www.emrich-schoenleber.de


Good bye my terrace garden

March 12, 2011

My terrace in Thonglor, Bangkok

Today was the last day on my terrace garden in Thonglor. We are moving from Wednesday onwards into new premises in Ekkamai, just a block further away from our beloved Baan Phansiri which was our home for the first two and a half years here in Bangkok.

“From all that he loves, man must part”, is an old saying, and parting it is again. I have had my own gardens since university days, often together with friends.

Hans-Heinrich Schuessler, my maternal grandfather, introduced me not only to appreciate wine but he also laid the seeds for my gardening passion. When I was just a little boy he took me with him to his many gardens. As station master of the German Railways, my grandfather had various gardens along the railway line in Martinstein, Nahe – a wonderful wine region by the way. I never had to do any work. That was somehow the trick, I suppose. Friends of mine who were made to work as children usually hate gardening or agricultural tasks. In striking contrasts I just love them.

Together with friends at Bonn University I cultivated various gardens in the vicinity of the university town. I planned fruit trees, scrubs and vegetable patches, and left all behind when moving abroad. Every garden partner had his skills, his passion and his magic. And we celebrated many parties deep into the night in our gardens.

Later in Rome I set up a terrace garden overlooking Garbatella, a resettled neighborhood south of the city center. My lemon trees produces beautiful fruit. In Beijing I had a glass corridor on the 11th floor which I greened with various indoor plants. In New Delhi I grew Indian vegetables. Our household staff watched in disbelief when ‘sahib’ got his hands dirty while digging in the back garden. But when they saw the veggies growing strongly, they all asked me for seeds.

The biggest tropical garden I ever had was in Jakarta, in Lebak Bulus, in South Jakarta to be precise. Five rambutan and two mango trees were a constant source of sweet and wonderful tropical fruit. I grew also papaya and star fruit.

Here in Bangkok the terrace was my place to relax and dream. Quasi an illusion, a place to worship nature, but basically to make me forget the noise and pollution of the city around me with its huge construction sites, the skyscrapers, and the constant stream of cars, and endless noise.

Today, I prepared my many pots for the move. I had to cut a few bigger scrubs and transplant some others. Also my many orchids needed some tender care. Since I have to leave for Germany today, I will not be around for the move next week.

I will have a terrace in the new location as well but a covered one (therefore not all my plants will grow), and not one with an open sky. So I had to lay there for a last time and look up into the clouds and the endless sky. Needless to say that I am very sad to leave this place where I felt so much at home.

But as the saying goes: “From all that he loves, man must part”, and so I try to look ahead with beautiful memories which no one can take away from me.

Good bye my terrace garden in Thonglor. Thank you for the pleasure and the good times.


The five best Riesling wines of 2010

February 18, 2011

Riesling the queen of white wine

Well, let’s be clear from the outset: this is not the result of an orderly wine tasting. I am reminiscing about the most remarkable Rieslings I drank in 2010. The five wines below are the ones I selected, and I call them “my best Rieslings in 2010 – the Man from the Mosel selection”.

As you might know, any recall from memory about events past is a tricky and challenging thing. I also do not have the opportunity to drink these wines parallel to each other (what a shame). But here is my top five list:

1. ‘2009 Dhron Hofberg Riesling GG’, by Grans-Fassian Estate, Leiwen, Mosel.

This is a marvellous Riesling. The 2009 vintage was great. Grans-Fassian is a top Riesling producer from the Mosel. With 95 Parker points the Dhron Hofberg Riesling is just divine. I could not believe my luck when I casually strolled into the cellar door and picked up these treasures.

2. ‘2008 Schieferterrassen Riesling’ by Heymann-Loewenstein, Winningen, Mosel.

Weingut Heymann-Loewenstein is another of the great Riesling producers from the Mosel. The wines are made in a different style from the mainstream. They show great character and have funk. Only on April 30, 2011 the 2009 vintage will be released. I am very excited and cannot wait to taste the 2009 Riesling.

3. ‘2008 Monzinger Halenberg Riesling trocken’ by Emrich-Schoenleber, Monzingen, Nahe

The wines made from fruit grown at Monziger Halenberg are among the best Riesling wines in Germany. The Nahe is the region where my maternal grandfather started to introduce me to wine when I was just a boy. Ever since I love this very diverse region.

Monzingen is a small village next to Martinstein where I spent time with my grand parents. I walked all the different hills and slopes in the vicinity. Emrich-Schoenleber is one of the top producers at the Nahe, a lovely family too where father and son make the wine together.

4. ‘2009 Riesling Leiwen Laurentiuslay GG’ by St. Urbanshof, Leiwen, Mosel

Another wonderful wine from the Mosel. Weingut St. Urbans Hof is located in Leiwen, Mosel. Recently we had a bottle of this Riesling with Sunday lunch. Goodness me what a treat that was. I had only one bottle with me when I came back from Germany in November. The good news is: I will be in Trier in mid March and guess what…..

5. ‘Dr. Mayer Riesling Kabinett trocken’ by Timo Mayer, (Yarra Valley), Remstal, Wuerttemberg

Timo Mayer is an Australian boutique wine maker of the Yarra Valley and a native of Grossheppach, Remstal. He made this wine while travelling in Europe. The grapes come from his brother and the family vineyard. The 2009 vintage was ideal for making this wine. Timo shipped about 60 cases back to Australia. We were so lucky to have access to a few bottles.

You might say, all these wines are German Rieslings, did you not drink others? Well, I did. I tried quite a few Australian ones but that’s usually not my cup of tea. But I am undeterred. My to to list (to drink list) is long.

I admit that I also love Riesling from the Alsace, France. Though they are creamer, heavy, earthy.

I also love Riesling from Rheingau und Rheinhessen, in fact there are so many good German Rieslings it is very difficult to say which one to drink first.

Please let me know what your best Riesling was in 2010.