Last day of 2012: Taking stock

December 31, 2012

What to do on the 31 of December? Well, I thought to check out my wine fridge. Small as it is, the review did not take very long.

I was amazed that my wine collection included wines from Germany (yes mostly Riesling wines), Austria, Italy, Canada, Australia, China, Vietnam, Myanmar and of course Thailand. This makes eight countries, four in the West and four in the East.

I also realized that I have no French wine in stock.

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1982 Scharzhofberger Spaetlese

Two wines in particular I look forward to taste in 2013.

One is a ‘1982 Scharzhofberger Riesling Spaetlese’ by Egon Mueller from Wiltingen at the Saar river, the second a ‘2009 Pinot Noir Centgrafenberg Grand Cru’ from Rudolf Fuerst in Buergstadt, Frankonia.

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2009 Centgrafenberg GG Spaetburgunder

Both wines, both terroirs and both vintners are among the top in Germany.

The Riesling bottle looks OK, just the label has suffered a bit. I wonder what a 30 year old wine will taste like. In any case it is a treasure. I wonder when I shall open it?

The bottle of Pinot Noir I bought from Fuerst junior during a wine tasting at Karthaeuserhof in Eitelsbach last August.

There are of course other treasures in my wine fridge. More about this next year. Now I will get ready for the New Years party.

I wish all of you a good start into 2013, and stay tuned to the Man from Mosel River.


Wine bars in Trier: Weinstube Kesselstatt

April 10, 2011

Wine bar Kesselstatt in Trier

A place I just love to visit while in my home town Trier, Mosel is a cosy wine bar-cum-restaurant near the cathedral, called Weinstube (wine bar) Kesselstatt.

It is housed in the historic administrative building of the Estate Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt, a well known winery with a long tradition (more than 600 years – difficult for us Australians to comprehend).

In front of the building is a replica of a tomb stone called the “Roman wine ship” found in Neumagen-Drohn, a village at the Mosel river, in 1878. In 220 it used to be one of two stones marking the grave of a Roman wine merchant. Honestly, I would love to get such a tombstone set on my own grave. What a hoot.

Today the winery is owned by the Reh family. Annegret Reh-Gartner manages the 36 ha of prime vineyards located along the rivers: Mosel (12 ha), Saar (12 ha) and Ruwer (12) ha. 98% of the area is under Riesling. The estate calls itself “the Riesling winery”.

When I strolled through the town at the end of March, I could not resist its magnetism and dropped in for a quick glass of wine.

The inside of wine bar Kesselstatt

Because the Kesselstatt estate owns vineyards along the three rivers constituting the former wine region of Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, one has a great choice of different Riesling wines.

I ordered a semi-dry Riesling from Scharzhofberg, a grand-cru of the outstanding Saar Riesling wines. Normally I avoid semi-dry wines but because of the early hours of my visit I just could not go for a dry Riesling.

2010 Scharzhofberger Riesling semi-dry, Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt

What a delight this wine is! I dissolved, so to say, this is Riesling at its best, and I tend to argue that none in the world is better. Lush and full, round but with zest, a titillating pleasure for the palate.

Below you will find pictures of the inside of the bar. There are old barrels filled with bottles, a old wooden press, and a side room with a map of the estates’ vineyard locations and other interesting wine paraphernalia.

Wine bottles in old barrels

A huge wooden wine press with a church bench in front

The function room

When I left the Kesselstatt wine bar revitalized and in high spirits, I walked out to a cherry tree in full blossom with a splendid view of the adjacent church of St. Liebfrauen and the cathedral (Dom, left).


Winery Review: Vereinigte Hospitien, Trier, Mosel

June 2, 2010

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The St Jacob of United Hospices wine label

I grew up just next to the convent of St. Irminen at Irminenfreihof No. 5 in Trier, Mosel. The convent belongs to Vereinigte Hopitien, a foundation which also ownes a well known winery with the same name. Their English name is “United Hopices Wine Cellars“. The patron saint of United Hospices is St Jacob, an image of which is also used on the wineries labels.

As a kid I played in the cellars and warehouses of the convent. I also remember them sending their vats and barrels for controlling purposes to the Eichamt, the local Weights and Measures Office, which my father was heading. We played around the barrels and I vividly remember the smell emitted by the oak and the moist wood.

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The winery

United Hospices owns vineyards along the Mosel (locations: Piesporter Goldtroepfchen and Triere Augenscheiner) and the Saar (locations in Wiltingen, for instance Hoelle, Scharzhofberg and Kupp, Kanzem and Serrig). Most of the vineyard originally belonged to monastries and convents. Today about 25 ha are under vines, 90% of which are planted with Riesling grapes (my favourite grape variety), the rest consists of Pinot Gris, Blanc and Noir.

As many of the wineries in Trier, also United Hospices has a large traditional wine cellar (some parts of it dating from the 3. century) which you should have a look at. Wine tasting in ths historic atmoshere are unforgettable events. United Hospices top wines are the dry and sweet (Trockenbeerenauslese) Scharzhofberger Riesling wines from the Saar some of which sell for up to 100 Euro/bottle. The ordinary Riesling wines cost about 6.20 Euro/1 l. bottle.

I hope you are going to visit Trier this summer and drop in for a wine tasting. Cheers

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The main hospice building along the Mosel

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Church St Irminen

Address:
Vereinigte Hospitien
Krahnenufer 19
54290 Trier
Tel.: +49-651/945-1210 o. 0651/945-1211
Fax: +49-651/945-2060
Opening hours: Mo. – Thu. 08-12:30 and 13:30 to 17h; Friday closing at 16h, Saturday 10-14h


Sunday Lunch with Riesling from the Saar River

January 29, 2007

What a wonderful weekend this was. It goes without saying that I had “to weber” some of our food; to be precise it was my task to barbecue Sunday’s lunch. As our house guest David is vegetarian it meant that I had a lot of “veggies” (as Australians commonly call vegetables) to prepare. But we had also fresh fish, a Pomfret as it is commonly known. There are two varieties, the white and the black pomfret. The Indonesians call the former “Bawal Putih”. White pomfret has an excellent flavour and is commonly used for a dish called Ikan Asam Manis (sweat & sour fish); needless to say that it is very delicious either steamed or grilled.

The White Pomfret

The White Pomfret (from Kaarin Wall “A Jakarta Market”, page 53)

First, I grilled the vegetables: potatoes (after they were boiled), onions, capsicum, green peppers, and zucchini. The fish was marinated with black olives and capers and wrapped in aluminum foil to keep it moist. I put it on for only about 20 minutes. The food was delicious and we had the right wine to go with it.

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My Weber with the vegetables

We drank one of my last two bottles of Van Volxem Saar Riesling 2003. This wine estate is located in Wiltingen (www.wiltingen.de), a village about 20 km south of Trier at the Saar River, a cool climate region belonging to the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer area. The lower Saar is a very small winegrowing region but has some of the best Grand-Cru locations for Riesling (for instance Schwarzhofberg) on which its reputation is based.

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The 2003 Van Volxem Riesling

Van Volxem is the oldest estate in the Saar. Formerly a monastery, the estate belonged to the Van Volxem family for four generations. In 1999 it was purchased by Roman Niewodniczanski of the beer brewing Bitburger family. Based on old tax records, many excellent and sometimes forgotten vineyard sites were newly acquired when the estate was expanded. Most of the more than 20 ha are planted with Riesling vines. The first vintage was bottled in 2000 and ever since elegant wines with excellent ratings were produced under a system that avoids the German “Praedikat system”. Unfortunately, the estate’s internet presentation is still under construction. Therefore, we have to wait a while longer until you can visit www.vanvolxem.de.

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A typical Saar vineyard

The soils of the Saar are based on blue-black slates and very stony. The vineyards are located at steep southerly slopes. The key for the Van Volxem Estate’s success are late harvests and low yields, environmental friendly practices (no pesticides) and low input cultivation techniques (no chemical fertilizers), relying in the cellar on natural yeasts fermentations and maturation in oak barrels. The 2003 dry Riesling blend has 12% alcohol. It was the first vintage producing dryer wines. 2003 was a ripper year as regards the weather and this might explain the higher than usual alcohol content of the 2003 vintage. Some of the wines are produced from more than 100 years old vines. The 2003 Riesling is medium bodied, had a buttery aroma and displayed some sweetness. It showed some mineral characteristics, had a fruity nose and a long finish. It is terrible that I have only one more bottle left of this excellent vintage (www.riesling.de). Wines do not age well in the tropics, even if you keep them properly refrigerated. There is always the odd power failure which destroys your well thought through cellaring program.

The drinking of Saar wine reminds me of my youth when my father and his friends used to go hunting in Schoden, a village further upriver. Often groups of hunters would descend on the Saar villages after successful campaigns and dine in one of the old rural inns (Gasthoefe). When at home with my mother in Trier, we often set out for long walks in the forests covering the hills above the Saar. From there one has a magnificent view of the lovely countryside.

From Schoden

Vineyards in a distance

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The Saar Valley, the village of Biebelhausen in front on the left side of the Saar, behind the terroir “Ayler Kupp”, and to the left further back the famous village of Ayl.