Beautiful Reds from the Pfalz at Weinsinnig, Trier

January 13, 2013

The other day (actually it was about a month ago during my last visit in Trier, Mosel), I had some fabulous reds at “Weinsinnig”, my favourite wine bar in Trier.

Both wines come from the Pfalz (Palatinate) wine region in Germany. Markus Schneider Estate is located in Ellerstadt, and Rings Estate in Freinsheim. Both estates are led by young and innovative vintners and wine-makers.

W sinnig Black Prince

2010 Black Print by Schneider

I have written about the wines of Markus Schneider before. ‘Schneider Ursprung’ is a wonderful cuveé (blend) of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Portugieser.

The ‘2010 Black Print’ is a blend of St. Laurent, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Mitos and Cabernet Dorsa (hold your breath). The last two grape varieties are new crossings (hybrids) produced in Germany.

The wine was matured in small oak barrels. It has an almost black colour, as the name suggests. The fruit aromas are very concentrated, some plum and cassis but also blackberry. The tannins are already soft enough and well balanced. This is a yummy wine at a very reasonable price (around 12 Euro/bottle). But you have to be quick to pick up the remaining bottles.

Markus Schneider is not only very innovative as the composition of his blends are concerned but also the labelling of his wines is new and against German traditions. The Wine Guy has done a portrait of the winery which might be of interest to you.

W sinnig Rings

2011 Das kleine Kreuz by Rings Estate

Also the second wine I tasted at Weinsinnig was a red cuveé from the Pfalz. The ‘2011 Das kleine Kreuz’ by Rings Estate is a blend of Merlot, St. Laurent, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The brothers Andreas and Steffen Rings appeared 2007 on the German wine scene. That was the year that the Gault & Millau wine guide included the winery for the first time. Last year the brothers won the German red wine award.

This wine is just wonderful, awesome, fabulous. The density of the fruit, the well balanced acidity, the soft tannins and the long finish are all very striking. I could not believe it, my vintners soul cried more, more, more.

If we only could have these wines in Bangkok.

Weinbar & Verkauf
Palaststraße 12
54290 Trier
Tel.: +49-651-979 01 56

Weingut Markus Schneider
Am Hohen Weg 1
67158 Ellerstadt
Tel.: +49(0)6237 – 7288
Fax: +49(0)6237 – 977230

Weingut Rings
Duerkheimer Hohl 21
67251 Freisenheim
Te.: +49-6353-2231


Restaurant review: Weintor, Palatinate, Germany

May 12, 2012

My parents in front of the German “Weintor”

My parents came to see me when I was in Karlsruhe for a business meeting a couple of weeks ago. They took me for a drive around the southern Pfalz region, which is a major wine producing area in Germany.

It was a beautiful day in spring with mild temperatures and fast moving clouds. After a short rain, the sun came out for a while.

We ended up at a small village called Schweigen-Rechtenbach to have a look at the German “Weintor”, literally translated as the “German wine gate”.

It was built in 1936 and marks the starts of the German wine route which ends in about 85 km further north in a village called Bockenheim.

The terrace

We planned to have lunch in the restaurant at the “Weintor”. The large terrace was very inviting but it was still too cold to sit outside.

The foyer

The stone building looks very traditional from the outside. However, the foyer of the restaurant has a kind of post-modern funky look, “retro” one could also call it.

The entrance to the restaurant

The inside of the restaurant

We sat near the fire place. The staff was very friendly, and convinced us to get started with a sparkling Pinot Meunier, or in German “Schwarzriesling”.

Sparkling Schwarzriesling – Pinot Meunier

This was followed by “greetings from the cook”: a delicious pate, which was just the right starter. It wetted our appetite.

Courtesy of the cook

I could not resist and ordered the house Riesling, a dry wine from the Pfalz region.

Dry Riesling from the Pfalz

My main dish was a trout with almonds, with potatoes and salad. Just wonderfully delicious. It was the right hearty meal which made me forget my jet-lag. I had arrived the very same morning from Bangkok and needed some stimulation to stay awake. That’s why I could not resist the ice cream either.

Trout with almonds



We had a jolly good time. The food was delicious, the staff extremely friendly, the spring outside inspiring and the company just great. I could not imagine a better welcome to Germany.

On our way out, I noticed the table with the informations about wine events and other local festivities. It was a pity that I could not stay a couple of days longer. The wine route through the Pfalz/Palatinate has so much to offer.

Deutsches Weintor Restaurant
Weinstraße 4
D-76889 Schweigen-Rechtenbach
T +49 (0) 6342 – 922 788 8
F +49 (0) 6342 – 922 788 9

Wissembourg, jewel of northern Alsace

May 10, 2012

Half-timbered houses in Wissembourg opposite the cathedral of St Pierre and Paul

One of the loveliest little towns in northern Alsace is Wissembourg. During my recent visit to the Palatinate (Pfalz), the German wine region just north of Alsace, we did a side trip to see this picturesque place.

We had come after lunch just to have a little walk around town. It was a pleasant spring day with mild temperatures and some sunshine although heavy rain clowds graced the sky.

Wissembourg has about 8,000 inhabitents and was the location of various battles fought in the French revolutionary wars in 1793 between French and Austrian, Prussian, Bavarian, Hessian and other German forces. After the second battle of Wissembourg, France was able to take over the whole of Alsace. In 1870 the tables were turned. This time the Prussian forces won and made their way to Paris.

I remember that during my student days at Bonn University I once attended a play by a theatre group from Alsace. The play depicted the history of the region and how it moved from being indpendent to becoming a part of France and Germany, but that the people remained the same.

The following pictures will give you a rough idea about Wissembourg, but I suggest you go and see for yourself, stay a couple of days to also indulge in the food and wines of Alsace.

Another well preserved half-timbered house

About twenty years ago when I came to Wissembourg for the first time with my wife Margit, we almost bought a half-timbered house. We were so enchanted by these houses, that we almost could not resist to invest in such a house. They were not expensive at the time, 80-90.000 Deutschmark only. Since my brother lived and worked jsut a little north of France in southern Palatinate, we thought he and his family could live in the house. But it did not work out and we discarded the idea.

The stream crossing the town is called the “Lauter”

I would have loved to enter this restaurant but we just came from lunch

Medieval music was presented by these two bards

“Winstub” is what the sign says in the local dialect. It means wine bar

The wine bar wedged between two houses

Spring invites everybody to buy fresh flowers

Various types of bread and cake were on offer

Wine for sale

Of course wine was everywhere. I did not buy any since I had to travel and drag my suitcae around. And wine is, unfortunately, very heavy.

But I will come back to Wissembourg, that’s for sure. Maybe next July when I spend some time in my home town Trier. Not far from Wissembourg is my favourite restaurant, “Auberge du Cheval Blanc” in Lembach in the Vosges mountains.

Spring blossoms all over the place

Boetzinger, wine from Baden, Germany

May 5, 2012

Boetziner wine co-operative

When I attended the party convention of the German Free Democratic Party (FDP) in Karlsruhe a couple of week ago, I was not so sure that I would have the time for some wine tasting. Alas, the Saturday night party of the FDP showed that there was no reason to worry.

Karlsruhe is located on the right side of the Rhine river in Baden, one of the smaller German wine regions in the South-west, just across the Rhine river from another famous German wine region: the Pfalz (Palatinate).

It goes without saying that wine from Baden was the choice of the organizers, and a good choice it was. One does not expect a “grand cru” to be served at such an occasion. After an excruciating day of debate and discussion the hundreds of party delegates just want to get on with their lives.

However, a decent drop of wine is very much appreciated. Two wines were on offer, a ‘2011 Boetzinger Pinot Gris, Kabinett dry’ and a ‘2011 Boetzinger Pinot Noir, Kabinett dry’, both in their dry variant.

Boetzinger is a wine co-operative, the oldest wine co-operative at the Kaiserstuhl in Baden. It has about 500 vintner members who produce first quality grapes.

We started with the white and followed through with the red, both wines were very pleasant, clean and crisp for easy drinking and dry: in short excellent specimen of their kind.

We drank lots. The waiters kept bringing the stuff. When we got up at about two o’clock in the morning we had a good fill.

And the next morning, you might ask? Well, just fine. The wine not only had a decent taste, it showed its quality also after a huge consumption.

From the Boetzinger website I found that the bottle of Pinot Gris costs only EURO 5.75 and the bottle of Pinot Noir is EURO 6.30, both very decent prices especially when you are dealing with the exorbitant wine prices here in Thailand.

Try the wines of Boetzinger.

Spring in the vineyards of Palatinate/Pfalz, Germany

May 1, 2012

The border region in Schweigen-Rechtenbach, just north of Wissembourg, Alsace

Spring is a beautiful time in the vineyard. The other day, when we visited the Southern Palatinate wine region, just north of the French border, I was able to witness the spring awakening of the vines.

It was a beautiful day; the sun was out. It was fresh and crisp, but the warmth of the earth was tangible. Needless to say, the birds were singing.

The vineyards were ready to “burst the buds” of the leaves among the fields of yellow rape seed flowers and the willow trees clad in their fresh new green.

The grass in the vineyards was already high, lush and full of vigour. Soon the first tractor will come along and mulch it.

The cane-pruned older vines looked very good, healthy and ready to go.

And the leaves were “breaking out” in full force. One could almost watch them grow with the bare eye. What a time, what a beautiful time.

Visit vineyards in spring; visit Germany now.

Flammkuchen everywhere

August 14, 2010


Everywhere we went in Germany (except Bavaria) during our holidays, “Flammkuchen” was on the menu. Flammkuchen is the German name for an Alsacian dish called ‘flammekueche’ or ‘tarte flambée’ in French. The dish is in fact of ‘alemannic’ origin. The Alamanni , an alliance of different Germanic tribes settled in what is today south-west Germany, eastern France and northern Switzerland (the area south of lake Bodensee); composed today roughly of the regions of Alsace, Baden and the Palatinate.

The thin, bread-like dough comes often in a round shape and is, in its traditional form, covered with crème fraîche, onions, and lardons. However, there are many variations of this old recipe. Similar to pizza all kinds of toppings have found their way onto Flammkuchen. I found different styles as far north as Muenster.

In my home town Trier at the river Mosel, we had the delicious dish from time to time and just loved it. Usually I had a Bitburger Beer with it, preferably in a mug. But the local wines make also a good drink, for instance an Elbling or a local Riesling wine are perfect for the enjoyment of a Flammkuchen. Try it.

Flammkuchen and a Bitburger Beer