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.


Weinhof Herrenberg – Loch Riesling, Schoden, Saar

October 8, 2009

My friend Heinz was kind enough to help me out. He dropped by the Weinhof Herrenberg in Schoden, Saar, on his way back from the hunt and bought three bottles of Loch Riesling. I had planned to visit the Loch family winery for some time but never managed to get there. There was always something else when visiting Trier, my hometown nearby, a birthday, a visit, a train to catch etc.

Heinz brought back the box shown below and three different Loch Riesling wines, all of the 2008 vintage. Regular visitors of my blog know that I am a Riesling lover, especially if they were grown along the Saar, my favorite provenance of German Riesling wines.

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The treasures from Weinhof Herrenberg and the two brochures

The three wines were a ‘2008 LochRiesling’ (8.90 Euro/bottle), a blend of Riesling grapes from various vineyards, a ‘2008 Schodener Herrenberg “Stier”‘ (12.90) and a ‘2008 Schodener Herrenberg “Stoveler”‘ (13.90), both wines from my favorite ‘terroir’, a very steep vineyard called “Herrenberg” bordering a forest and enticing large groups of wild pigs and deer to visit and taste the sweet grapes during vintage time. I had walked the vineyard and heard about the Loch wines but never tried a single drop. It was high time to change that.

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2008 Loch Riesling wines from Schoden, Saar

I also love the brochure with the “whole” (the “Loch” in German) explaining the philosophy of Claudia and Manfred Loch, the proprietors and vintners of the boutique winery “Weinhof Herrenberg”, which is the basis for their wine-making. In short, the Loch’s aim for authenticity, uniqueness, they reject designer wines but quest for a unique character and truthfulness.

The brochure is a very unusual one, telling people why to keep their hands off LochRiesling wines and what the weaknesses of the wines are: for instance that their wines are unknown, consumer hostile, old fashioned, egoistic, lawless, dangerous and limited (in numbers of bottles!). I like this brochure.

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The “Loch” brochure with a whole in it

The wine list also includes wines from locations in Ockfen and Wiltingen, two famous Saar wine villages. The “Beerenauslese” wines are not available any longer. The Loch’s also produce a dry, sparkling wine. All wines are reasonably priced.

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The current wine list

You might wonder what they taste like? Well, I will tell you more about this at a later blog entry. But if you are near Schoden or in the vicinity of the Saar, please visit the Loch family vineyard at Weinhof Herrenberg. If you cannot visit in person, visit the website which is very informative.

Address:
Claudia and Manfred Loch
Weinhof Herrenberg
D-54441 Schoden/Saar
Tel.: +49-6581-1258
Fax: +49-6581-995438
info@lochriesling.de
www.lochriesling.de


German wines: delight in red and white

July 4, 2009

Traveling in Germany I had the opportunity to taste some marvelous wines with some of my friends. Two of these I would like to briefly present to you, one red, one white wine, one from the Pfalz and one from my native land, the Mosel or to be precise the Saar.

Over a dinner at “Schneeweiss”, a fashionable restaurant in the eastern part of Berlin offering “cuisine from the Alp mountain lands”, we had a bottle of ‘2008 Schneider Ursprung’, a cuveé made of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Portugieser by Markus Schneider.

Markus Schneider is one of the young but accomplished vintners who earned the highest praise from wine critics and experts from the wine and hospitality industry. This cuveé is made from grapes grown on a rather warm location at the “Feuerberg”, a terroir known for its capacity of heat retention by the local gravel stones which allows the grapes to fully ripen.

The wine is of a deep purple colour. It displays flavours of a lot of fruit, plum, some mint, chocolate and shows some peppery notes. The wine is very round and extremely smooth, for me just a bit too perfect in the mouth, I must say. It went extremely well with the food that I had ordered (Italian pasta filled with mushrooms). The wine is perfect and was a good choice. It retails for about 8 to 11 EURO but is worth the money.

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A very simple label on the bottle: “Schneider Ursprung”

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What a beautiful deep purple colour

Later the same evening, we tasted a dessert wine from my native lands, the Mosel, actually from the Saar river. It was a ‘1992 Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Spaetlese’ from “Staatliche Weinbaudomaene Trier”.

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What a delight this wine was, a drop from heaven. It had aged well, was fresh and round. Although low in alcohol (only 8%), the acids were vibrant so that the wine was extremely well balanced, honey sweet, just wonderful. Only my friend Gerhard can wait for a wine like this to ripen in the cellar and patiently await the right moment to open a treasure like this.

I know the terroir quite well, Ockfener Bockstein, just a couple of meters away from the boundaries of the hunting grounds of my friend Heinz in Schoden, Saar which borders on Ockfen. The vineyards here are extremely steep and all work in manual. The 1992 vintage of this Riesling Auslese is just wonderful. I have no words to describe this nectar and do justice to the wine.

Address:
Schneeweiss
Kern Ranogajec GbR
Simplonstraße 16
10245 Berlin
Proprietors: Denis Ranogajec and Ralf Kern
Tel.: +49-30/29 04 97 04
Fax: +49-30/29 04 97 05

Weingut Markus Schneider
Am Hohen Weg 1
67158 Ellerstadt
(near Wachenheim, Pfalz)
Tel.: +49 (0)62…
Fax.: +49 (0)6237 – 977230

Administration:
Georg-Fitz-Straße 12
67158 Ellerstadt
info@black-print.net
http://www.black-print.net

Staatliche Weinbaudomänen Trier
Deworastr. 3
54290 Trier, Germany
+49 651 97598-0
www.staats
weingueter.rlp.de


Mother’s day – lunch at home

May 12, 2008

Normally we go out for lunch at Mother’s day. But on Sunday we stayed home. Margit cooked a beautiful meal. We had prawns and a risotto “arrabiata”, nice and spicy and a fresh green salad.

It was a beautiful tropical day, the beginning of the dry season in Jakarta. Our garden is lush and green, some of my orchids are still in bloom. In short it was wonderful at home, not disturbed by anybody.

The prawns

The risotto “arrabiata”

A bottle of Mosel Riesling from Trier

Well and what did we drink with the food? I raided my little wine cellar and dug our one of my last bottles of Mosel Riesling. This time a wine from Staatliche Weinbaudomäne Trier, a ‘2005 Avelsbacher Hammerstein Riesling Kabinett’.

It was, I would say, a semi-dry Riesling, maybe a bit on the sweet side. Anyway, it was too sweet for me, but matched the spicy risotto perfectly. The wine has only 8.5 % alcohol; it is fruity, spicy and aromatic, with a good body, structure and length. It was awarded a gold medal by the state of Rheinland-Pfalz’ wine show.

A firework for the nose

The Staatliche Weinbaudomäne (it means ‘estate’ or ‘domain’) is owned by the state of Rheinland-Pfalz. Today, it cultivates about 31 ha of vines at various locations near Trier along the Avelsbach stream, a brook of 4.6 km length which flows into the Mosel river.

In 1996 the estate celebrated its 100 anniversary. It was founded in 1896 by the then Prussian State government and covered about 200 ha under vines consisting of three separate estates, Avelsbach, Ockfen and Serrig, two of which were located at the Saar, another tributary of the Mosel.

The Avelsbach is divided into five ‘terroirs’ (locations), Altenberg, Herrenberg, Kupp, Hammerstein and Rotlay (the last of which is not in production any more).

Interesting is that this wine must appeal to Japanese consumers because of the dozen wine sites a search leads you to, at least 50% were in Japanese characters.

Address
Staatliche Weinbaudomäne Trier
Deworastrasse 3
54290 Trier


Country Inns in Germany – Klostermühle, Ockfen, Saar

May 5, 2008

When I am visiting my hometown Trier I always try to arrange an outing to the Saar, my most favourite tributary of the Mosel (the other one I love very much, is the river Ruwer).

One day in March my mother, my friend Heinz and I, we went for lunch in the countryside. It was March. Spring was waiting in the wings, but could not get through as yet. However, it was a beautiful day. We choose the Klostermühle in Ockfen, Saar, as our destination, a winery cum hotel and restaurant (www.bockstein.de).

Winery-Hotel-Restaurat Klostermühle in Ockfen, Saar

Pork tenderloin with Spaetzle, a German type of noodle dumplings

The food was delicious, typical country inn style, rustique, big portions, in short: value for money type of food. I had one of their Rieslings with my food. Ockfener Bockstein is the name of the most famous location (terroir) in this neck of the wood. It was a very typical Saar Riesling, low in alcohol but zippy and fruity, with complex acids, a good structure and a long and intense finish.

After lunch we drove though the vineyards of Ockfen. On our way to Schoden where Heinz together with some friends is renting a hunting ground, we passed by the “Bockstein” which you can see in the picture below (where the tree line on the hill in the background is ending).

Ockfener Bockstein, one of the most famous “terroirs” of the Saar

The Saar is a very picturesque wine region and tourist destination in southwestern Germany and certainly worth a visit. Do it regularly as I do. The Riesling wines are among the best of Germany.

Address
Weingut – Hotel – Restaurant Klostermühle
Fam. Minn
54441 Ockfen, Saar
+49-6581-9293-0


Country Inns in Germany: Asparagus and river perch

May 18, 2007

While travelling in Germany recently, I had a lot of fish and seafood dishes, the reason for this being that I accompanied a group of visiting Indonesians to a number of coastal towns on the East and the North Sea. Since Germany had a splendid spring, this was the more enjoyable.

Later, together with my brother and my old folks in Trier, I visited one of the traditional German country inns so prevalent in my home area, the Mosel River Valley, the Landgasthof Kopp (www.landgasthofkopp.com) in Hentern, a small village between the Mosel tributaries Ruwer and Saar.

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Landgasthof Kopp main entrance

Springtime in Germany is ‘asparagus time’. Everywhere the lush white sticks can be purchased or consumed. All four of us ordered some kind of an asparagus dish. I had asparagus with perch (German: Zander).

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River perch with asparagus

With this delicious meal, I drank the house wine, Ockfener Scharzberg Riesling, a local product from a small village on the Saar river called Ockfen (www.ockfen-home.de). Ockfen has about 700 inhabitants and of the agricultural used land of 246 ha about 90 ha are under vines on very steep slopes. The most famous terroir is ‘Ockfener Bockstein’ which is among the best wines from the Saar. The wines from this location are very dry, minerally and fruity with a good structure.

From the Middle Ages onwards it was the monasteries along the Saar river that cultivated vines and promoted the wine industry. The wealth and prosperity of Ockfen was almost exclusively based on its wine industry. The many small villages and towns along the Saar river are worth visiting (among them Saarburg, Ayl, Kanzem, Oberemmel, Serrig, Wiltingen to name only a few. I highly recommend this very beautiful part of Germany.

As regards the inn, the Landgasthof Kopp, this place is a must, not only because of the superb quality of the food and the service. The price too was a pleasant surprise, unbeatable, I must say. For the four of us, including drinks, we spent a total of only 60 Euro for a memorable family lunch.