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.


Pork on the rotisserie the German way: Schwenkbraten

November 17, 2012

‘Schwenkbraten’

Actually, ‘traditional German ‘Schwenkbraten’ is when the pork is on a movable gridiron which is beeing moved over a coal fire. The above picture is more of a rolled piece of pork on a rotisserie.

However, that may be, the German love to grill as much as the Australians do. And since the summers in Germany tend to be unpredictable, often short, every opportunity to be outside and operate a grill is used to everybodies delight.

What a delicious piece of meat?

The pork is stuffed with onions, bacon, maybe herbs

My friend Juergen doing the carving job

Ready to be served

Note: Let me tell you that the above pictures were taken in Eitelsbach, Ruwer. My old friends Elisabeth and Juergen Olk had organised a family reunion to which we were kindly invited. It was a lovely summers afternoon, with little children darting through the garden, and adults chatting, telling stories, and drinking and eating. Apart from some Ruwer wines, mostly Riesling, the preferred drink was beer. We had a delightful time. What a beautiful day that was.


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


Big summer wine tasting at Weingut Karthäuserhof, Eitelsbach II

September 26, 2012

Wine tasting

Let us come back to the Karthäuserhof estate tasting on August 11, 2012. It was a splendid summer’s day with blue sky and ample sunshine when we walked into the estate.

We paid our entrance fee of 15 Euro/person. It was all very confusing for a first time visitor. Many of the other guests, it seemed, knew their way around. Lot’s of people had showed up.

The wine tasting was conducted in two seperate locations. The first was a rather crammed barn with four tasting stations. I can only recall three of the wineries represented. The barn was packed with people, pushing and shoving along.

The vintners behind their tables were equally, let’s call it – stressed. I immediately felt some regret. Why did I give up a perfectly spacious table elsewhere and a bottle of wine in a quite atmoshere, I aske myself.

The tasting station of Knipser Estate

The three wineries were:

Weingut Knipser (Knipser Estate), Laumersheim, Pfalz
My first wine from Knipser I had tasted in Beijing, China, about 24 years ago, when my friend Norbert who is a native of the Pfalz, presented me with some dry Riesling from this estate. The family tradition of wine production in the Pfalz goes back to 1615 (an incredible long time in an Australian context).

Weingut Meyer-Näkel (Meyer-Näkel Estate), Dernau, Ahr
The Meyer-Näkel family, now in the fifth generation, has about 15 ha under vines, 75% of which are Pinot Noir, 12% early Pinot Noir, 5% Pinot Blanc, 5% Riesling and 3% others. One of the two daughters presented the wines when we were there. The Ahr is the northernmost (and the smallest) wine region of Germany and produces some stunning Pinot Noir wines.

Weingut Koehler-Ruprecht or The Vintage Vineyard as it is called on the webpage, Kallstadt, Pfalz
The vineyard is about 10.5 ha in size. The mainly white varieties (Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Muscat, Scheurebe and Pinot Gris) are planted on a calcerous soil in four locations in Kallstadt (Saumagen, Annaberg, Steinacker, Kreidkeller).

The first two wineries I know quite well. I have tasted wines from these producers at various occasions. The Koehler-Ruprecht estate was new to me. I admit that I do not know the village of Kallstadt near Bad Dürkheim. The webpage of Koehler-Ruprecht, however, is presenting the estate in five languages (German, English, Chinese, Norwegian and French)!

The Meyer-Näkel tasting table

And now the bad news: the crowded conditions did not lend themselves to note taking. Anyway, I was not in the mood while being pushed and shoved to think about anything, except: let’s get our of here as quick as possible.

But then I also thought, Rainer, you should taste some of the wines. Which I did. I remember nothing, except that the grand cru Meyer-Näkel Pinot Noir was wonderful, and that the daughter behind the counter was very kind and friendly.

We went to search for the second wine tasting station thereby recovering a bit from our claustrophobia.

More about this later.
Stay tuned.


Big summer wine tasting at Weingut Karthäuserhof, Eitelsbach

September 23, 2012

Karthäuserhof Estate, main gate

A winery I always wanted to visit is the Weingut Karthäuserhof in Eitelsbach, a small hamlet which is part of Ruwer, a suburb of Trier, just a couple of kilometres away from my home in the city centre.

The wine estate Karthäuserhof is a member of the elite club of German wine estates, the VDP. It is a prime producer of outstanding Riesling wines. The estate if farmed by the sixth generation of the Tyrell family. The vintner Christoph Tyrell is well known in the region and beyond.

Every year on the second weekend in August, Karthäuserhof is hosting a wine tasting conducted in co-operation with about a dozen other top German wineries from various wine regions. The 2012 tasting was a very special occasion since it marked the 200 anniversary and jubilee vintage of the Tyrell family.

The 11 August 2012 was a special day indeed; it was our last full day in Germany before our departure to Bangkok. My wife Margit and I, we were looking forward to the event despite the fact that we knew we could not buy a lot since our suitcases were already full with various bottles of wine which we had already purchased.

Our view from the bathroom window

Since we stayed with friends right across from the estate, we had a great view of the location “Karthäuserhofberg”, one of the ‘grand cru terroir’ of Karthäuserhof.

The vineyard has an inclination of about 50%. The soil is Devon grey and blue slate. It is situated right next to the winery and exclusively in the ownership of the Tyrell family. The total area under vines in one plots (very unusual for Germany, I would say) is about 19 ha, 17.7 of which are under Riesling, the rest under Pinot Blanc grapes.

I hope I have wetted your appetite. My next blog entry will deal with the wine tasting, the various wineries represented and their wines. Stay tuned.

Address:
Weingut Karthäuserhof
Karthäuser Straße,
54292 Trier,
Germany
Tel.: +49-651-5121
http://www.karthaeuserhof.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


“Weinsinnig” – wine bar in Trier

August 4, 2012

One of my favourite wine bars in my home town Trier is “Weinsinnig”, located right in the center of town.

The name of the bar is a kind of word play on “Wahnsinnig” (in English “mad” or “crazy”), and composed of two parts, a nomen, “Wahn” or “mania” (in English) and an adjective “sinnig” which can be translated as “plausible”, “make sense”, “evident”, “sensible” or “witted”. In the combination with “Wein”/”wine” it becomes something new, a compound with a new meaning which could be translated as “in the mood to enjoy wine”, “wine is sensible” or “crazy for wine”.

Weinsinnig is also a kind of cellar door for wineries from the Mosel. Moreover, it offers selected culinary delights, for instance “Flammkuchen”, a tarte flambe. And last but not least, Weinsinnig offers various activities related to wine and the people making it.

In front of the ‘walk along wine list’

It was a rainy summer’s evening when we visited and therefore we sat inside. Weinsinnig offers also a couple of chairs and tables outside. One sits on the pavement on a narrow street. Fortunately, warm blankets are on offer.

My choice: a dry Riesling from the Ruwer

I love their selection of local wines, many of them produced by young and innovative vintners. I chose a ‘2011 Maximin Gruenhaeuser dry Riesling’ by one of the top producers from the Ruwer valley, von Schubert’sche Gutsverwaltung. I also bought some more of this wine and will only say that this is a Riesling to die for.

2011 Maximin Gruenhaeuser dry Riesling

Inside

By the way TripAdvisor rated it 4 of 5 on 16 Jun 2012 and ranked Weinsinnig as 69 out of 182 restaurants in Trier. In my view Weinsinnig belongs to the “must visit” category in Trier. Check it out.

Address:
Weinsinnig
Palaststraße 12
54290 Trier, Germany
Tel.: +49-651 9790156