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.


Winery review: Punt Road Wines – Yarra Valley, Victoria

February 4, 2012

Punt Road cellar door entry

We were on St Hubert’s Road on our way to Healesville when we passed Punt Road Winery and decided on the spot to drop in. Our main motivation was to buy some of the famous pear cider for Michael, my brother-in-law.

The back entrance to the tasting room

In all the many years we have come to the Yarra Valley, we had never made it to this well known winery. The estate with about 75 ha under vines (two vineyards, one planted in 1987 and the other in 2001) is owned and operated by the Napoleone family.

The senior wine-maker is Kate Goodman, one of the so called “young guns” of the Australian wine industry and much sought after judge for wine competitions.

The Punt Road vineyards are planted with the white varieties Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Viognier and the reds Pinot Noir, Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc.

The cider stacks

From the outside we already spotted the boxes with the Napoleone Co. apple and pear cider piled up in a neat stack.

My heart jumped. Here it was, the golden liquid which stirs up so much emotions, and is considered one of the best ciders in the valley. Quality has its price, so a box of the stuff does not come cheap.

Having been raised in Trier at the Mosel river, I am very familiar with cider, which is called “Viez” in the local dialect. “Viez” is a mixture of fermented apples and pear juice coming from a very small kind of apples/pears (they are in-edible and very very sour/acidic).

The trees are grown along the rural roads. All the peasant in the region used to make their own cider, as a very refreshing drink for home consumption.

The garden

The premises are very lovely with wide open spaces, tables and chairs, picnic facilities and an area prepared for boule playing (pétanque).

The back porch

We had not time for a proper tasting. The man behind the counter was not very welcoming either. So we decided to try some of their bubbly and the Pinot Gris which we (my wife Margit and I) both liked.

I am not a fan of Pinot Gris but this one was just the right stuff for a hot summers day. We bought a bottle of each. Later we also tasted the Pinot Noir, but the 2010 vintage did not catch our fancy.

The two bottles we acquired at Punt Road Winery

Golden liquid: Punt Road Pinot Gris

I guess we will have to come back for a proper tasting. Punt Road is a good place to visit in the Yarra Valley.

Address:
Punt Road Wines
10 St Huberts Road – Coldstream
Victoria, Australia 3770
Tel.: +61 3 9739 0666
Fax: + 61 3 9739 0633
wine@puntroadwines.com.au
www.puntroadwines.com.au


Winery review – Black Prince Winery, Prince Edward County, Ontario

August 18, 2011

The Black Prince Winery in Picton

The Black Prince Winery was the first winery we visited after our arrival in Picton, Prince Edward County, Ontario. We came by car on road number 33 from Kingston crossing by ferry to the “island” respectively the peninsula. The ferry ride was somehow a bit romantic and we enjoyed it thoroughly.

The tourist information office in the picturesque town of Picton was our aim. Quickly we found our bed and breakfast accommodation called “Saraswati” which doubles as a cancer and naturopathic care centre. The two guys in this office were extremely helpful.

After we had dropped off our stuff at Saraswati, we had some free time on our fingertips. We used it for a quick winery visit before dinner. The only winery in Picton is the Black Prince.

The vineyards were planted in 2000 and the winery opened in 2003. At that time only two other vineyards were operational in Prince Edward County.

Cellar door entry to the Black Prince

“Total terroir, local grapes, local barrels, local wine located in the heart of beautiful Prince Edward County”, is the motto of this winery.

Where does the name come from?

The search for an appropriate name lead the owners to research the “Edwardians”. One of them was the Black Prince. He was the eldest son of Edward III, and became a legend in his own lifetime. “He was one of the most successful commanders during the 100 years war and a model of chivalry and courtesy”, says the winery’s website. Since he also ruled over parts of Aquitaine, which included Bordeaux, his connection to wine was obvious and he qualified as name giver.

Lots of wine is displayed in the tasting room

We tasted two flights (three wines) of whites and one of reds. The whites included a 2010 Vidal, a 2007 Gewuerztraminer, 2008 Chardonnay, and a Pinot Gris. The reds were a Baco Nero, a 2009 Cabernet Franc, and a 2009 Merlot.

We liked the Merlot best. It had very nice aromas of cherries, was fruity, and medium bodied. The previous vintage of the Merlot was an award winner. At 17.75 C$ is seemed modestly priced for Canada.

We bought the Vidal, a frost resistant hybrid variety widely planted to produce ‘Icewines’ in Canada, the Gewuerztraminer and the Cabernet Franc as well as a bottle of Merlot. More about the Vidal another time.

Because the staff in the tasting room was so friendly we bought a few bottles. We had a great chat with the lady behind the counter and were very enchanted when we left the place. This was a great start to our Prince Edward County wine tasting tour.

I highly recommend visiting the Black Prince.

Address:
The Black Prince Winery
13370 Loyalist Parkway,
Highway #33,
Picton, Ontario
Canada K0K 2T0
Tel: +1-613-476-4888
Fax: +1-613-476-0075
Toll Free: 1-866-470-9463
www.blackprincewinery.com


Grans-Fassian Estate in Leiwen, Mosel

January 22, 2011

Grans-Fassian Estate in Leiwen

When I drove along the Mosel on a grey Saturday morning last November, I was heading to Leiwen to buy some good Riesling wines.

There were three reasons for this trip. It all started at Frankfurt airport when I bought the December issue of “Weinwelt” (World of Wine), the German wine magazine.

1. I had looked at the results of a wine tasting of grand cru (GG = Grosses Gewaechs) Rieslings: two of the top wines from the Mosel came from Leiwen; one of them was a ‘2009 Dhroner Hofberg’ by Grans-Fassian Estate.

2. Leiwen is just a 30 minutes drive from my mothers home in Trier at one of the most beautiful bights of my beloved Mosel.

3. I love German Riesling especially if it comes from the Mosel river and I wanted to know what a 95 point wine would taste like.

The original Grans-Fassian Estate manor house with the cellar door

So off I went by car and cruised along down the Mosel. I was lucky, the cellar door was open. Here I met Catherina, one of the two daughters of the owner, Gerhard Grans who had taken over the estate from his father Matthias in 1982.

We had a bit of a chat about wine, life and the universe. Catherina is a charming young lady. She is going to be an oenology student at Geisenheim soon.

Catherina Grans showing me the top wines

I tasted two of the wines (the ones mentioned in the magazine): the ‘2009 Riesling Dhroner Hofberg’ (95 points) and the ‘2009 Riesling Leiwener Laurentiuslay’ (92 points). I tell you these are Rieslings how I like them. Wonderful wines indeed. Tropical fruit the first wine, and a kind of a citrus bomb the second. Both with a good structure, young, minerally, powerful with a long finish.

The treasure box with Grans-Fassian wines

Furthermore, I learned that the estate has about 10 ha under vines. Some of the vineyards are lokated in the best terroir of the region, for instance Dhroner Hofberg, Leiwener Laurentiuslay, Piesporter Goldtroepfchen, and Trittenheimer Apotheke.

About 88% of the vines are Riesling, 10% Pinot Blanc and 2% Pinot Gris. The brochure shows the steep slopes of some of the vineyards, most of them with a southern or western aspect. The micro climate is ideal for Riesling. The soils consisting of red, grey and blue slate.

I bought a couple of the two wines I had tasted. By the way for someone like me who pays obscene prices for wine in Bangkok, these top wines were very reasonably priced, in fact they were a true bargain. It’s a pity that wine bottles are so heavy. I knew that I could only take one, maximum two of them with me on my long journey back to Thailand. What a pity, I thought.

The wine bloggers delight

Here is another hot “secret” for your next trip to the Mosel river: Grans-Fassian Estate in Leiwen should be your destination. Trust me, you will not regret it.


Restaurant review: Sjoebaren in Gothenburg, Sweden

September 13, 2010

While walking the streets of Gothenburg, Sweden (which is a very lovely city) where I attended an international conference, I noticed the many Japanese sushi restaurants. Well, I thought the Swedes love to eat fish; why not Japanese?

For dinner, however, my colleague Jules and I, we wanted to check out the original, a Swedish fish restaurant. The receptionist at the hotel pointed us to a couple of interesting places. We decided on a restaurant nearby, the Sjoebaren as it was called (freely translated as “seal” or “sea bear”). We were told that there are two restaurants with that name. We went to the one in Lorensberg.

The entrance of the restaurant

We had not made a booking and the place was full when we arrived. Fortunately, the waiters were very kind and accepted a booking for 20 h. We had an hour and a half of additional time to kill but that was not a problem for us (more about this later).

Kuentz-Bas, 2007 Pinot Gris Tradition from Alsace, France

It was clear, we wanted to eat fish. The first thing I selected was the wine. I opted for a ‘2007 Pinot Gris Tradition’ by Kuentz-Bas from Alsace, France. Decanter awarded 87 points to this wine.

The vintner of Kuentz-Bas is Jean-Baptiste Adam, an icon of the Alsatian wine industry. He runs his vineyards following biodynamic production methods. I am not related to Jean-Baptiste despite the coincidence with the family name.

Wine prices in Sweden are a bit on the high side. We went for only a glass. I loved the Pinot Gris. It was not overpowering, but fine and firm with a complex acidity and an impressive finish.

The starter

The herring was just too good to not order it. We did not expect what was put in front of us by the cheerful waiter. Look at that. This beautiful arrangement was just amazing. One piece of herring was marinated in a cinnamon heavy marinade, the other piece came with fish eggs on top in a white sauce. In addition we were given potatoes, onions, cream cheese and some other delicacies. I t,ell you this starter is to die for. My taste buds went ballistic. What a wonderful start to an Swedish meal.

Two kinds of herring

Fish of the day

My friend Jules ordered the fish of the day. Very tasty.

Graved lachs

I went for “graved lachs” (marinated salmon), my favourite dish from Sweden. Ever since a Swedish friend of ours had introduced us to this delicacy and ever since my wife makes her own version of it, I just cannot resist this fish. The portion was huge. And for the first time ever, I could not finish my plate. It was just to much. Unbelievable. I had to apologize to the waiter with a compliment to the kitchen.

Potatoes in dill-cream sauce

The painting in the middle of the restaurant.

Sjoebaren Lorensberg, when we left it

Sjoebaren is a hot tip if you are in Gothenburg. Do yourself a favor and treat you to something very special. The service is great, prices affordable and the quality extraordinary.


Restaurant review: Chopin, Berlin

June 8, 2009

chopin1

The Chopin restaurant

Last year I had the chance to dine twice at Chopin restaurant which is located between Wannsee and Griebnitzsee in the South west of Berlin. The cuisine the restaurant specialises in is Silesian food. Today Silesia is a region of Poland smaller parts of which, however, are belonging to the Czech Republic and to Germany.

chopin3

The entrée “Schlesische Zigarren

We had a fixed menu which was ordered for the occasion. The entrée consisted of “Schlesische „Zigarren“, Silesian cigars (price Euro 3,90), a puff pastry filled with sheep feta and a mustard sauce.

chopin2

The beef dish “Schlesischer Sauerbraten”

We could choose between two main dishes: a “Schlesischer Sauerbraten”, a marinated pot roast (price Euro 11,90) with red cabbage and apples, peaches and cranberries served with German dumplings, ….

chopin51

The pike perch (German: Zander)

…and a fish dish, consisting of a pike perch roasted in a sauce of dill and with zucchini (price Euro 13,90). Potatoes and vegetables were also presented.

Since we dined at the restaurant twice within a week, I had the opportunity to taste each of the main dishes.

Needless to say (you can see it from the pictures) the food at Chopin restaurant is delicious; it’s a splendid example of German country cuisine at its best.

chopin4

Pinot Gris

There were two wines served with the food: a white (Grauer Burgunder/Pinot Gris) from Baden, Germany and a red (Nero d’Avola) from Sicily (which is not on the wine list any more).

I had the white, a ‘2004 Oberbergener Bassgeige, Grauer Burgunder, Kabinett, dry’, from the Kaiserstuhl wine region in Baden.

It’s a massive white wine (13% alc.) not something light for the summer. It has substance and structure which make it an ideal partner for pairing with Silesian food.

The producer of the wine is a “wine-co-operative”. The Gault Millau as well as the Eichelmann Wine Guide award the co-operative “one bunch of grapes” (Gault Millau: reliable) respectively “two stars” (Eichelmann: good producer).

I very much like this cosy family restaurant. If you are in Berlin next time, please do not miss to pay it a visit.

Address:
Restaurant Chopin
Wilhelmplatz 4
14109 Berlin, Germany
+49-30-8053033


Restaurants in Germany – Lutter and Wegner im Künstlerhaus, Munich

June 27, 2008

While in Munich I stumbled across another one of the Lutter and Wegner chain restaurants – Lutter and Wegner im Künstlerhaus – and could not resist to have lunch there before departing to Frankfurt (www.l-w-muenchen.de).

The outside terrace

Colourful room “Venezia” with great views upon the Lenbachplatz

Bottles arranged like art

Art for the wine aficionados

Lutter and Wegner is not just a restaurant but a symbiosis of bar, lounge, gallery and in the evening live and other music are performed. Moreover, about 350 wines are on offer. I could only sample two of them with my lunch, hope you are more successful. The restaurant was the perfect choice of a enjoyable lunch before leaving this wonderful city and returning to tropical Jakarta. I could not resist the mushroom risotto. It was delicious, a wonderful combination of flavours.

The mushroom risotto

Of course I had to have a wine with my food. My first wine consisted of a ‘2005 Grauer Burgunder, dry’ (Pinot Gris) of Weingut Otto Laubenstein, Baden (www.laubenstein.com). It had a rather yellowish colour which came as a surprise to me, I had expected something more pale, straw colour like. The wine suggestion for the risotto was a ‘2007 Bürklin Wolf – Weissburgunder’ (white Burgundy). I should have tried my meal with this wine too, I guess.

My second glass of wine which I drank instead of having a dessert is considered a rarity in other parts of the world and this is exactly why I ordered it. The ‘2006 Blauer Zweigelt, Weingut Tement’, Südsteiermark (www.tement.at), showed a beautiful deep red colour. It displays flowery aromas, dominated by red berries, and is very smooth indeed and not heavy (12.5% alc.). The wine is aged for only about six months in small oak barrels.

Blauer Zweigelt (created in 1922 in Klosterneuburg by Fritz Zweigelt) is a cross between Blaufraenkisch and St. Laurent. It is the most widely planted red variety in Austria (resistance to frost) but has also gained some presence in Canada: the Niagara Region in Ontario and British Columbia.

Wine prices I found reasonable. The Pinot Gris sold for € 3.5 and the Blauer Zweigelt for € 4 for a 0.2 ltr/glass.

Address
Lutter und Wegner im Künstlerhaus
Lenbachplatz 8
80333 Munich
Te.: +49-895459490