Restaurant review: Der Schützenhof, Würzburg, Frankonia

November 21, 2010

Der Schützenhof

A great place to eat and be merry in the town of Würzburg in Franconia is Der Schützenhof, a German country inn with a long and strong tradition. The views from it’s terrace are spectacular. You sit above the roofs of the historical city, so to say.

Great views

On top of the world and above the roofs – below: the city of Würzburg

The “Schützenhof” is not only famous for its views, but for it’s traditional German cuisine as well. I just love these tasty, robust, rural dishes made as if grandma had prepared them herself. Look at the pictures below, are they not mouthwatering? The food is just excellent, German country cuisine at it’s best.

Local Franconian sausages

Potato dumplings with roasted pork

Noodles/pasta with salmon

A local Franconian wine

I ordered the house wine, a local drop made from the Silvaner grape. My friends Romy and Friedel prefer other grapes for instance “Gutedel”, also known as Chasselas grape in France. But they also like Mueller-Thurgau, Pinot Blanc and Gris, Kernen etc.

With about 6,000 ha under vines Franconia produces excellent wines. It is famous for it’s dry Silvaner wines bottled in the so called “Bocksbeutel”, a rounded and flattened bottle type.

Franconia is a wine land (or German wine region) which wine enthusiast should explore. You’ll find amazing drops. Check it out.

Address:
Der Schützenhof
Mainleitenweg 48
97082 Würzburg,
Germany
Te.: +49-931-72422 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +49-931-72422      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +49-931-72422      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
www.schuetzenhof-wuerzburg.de


Franconian treasure: Weingut Schmitt’s Kinder

November 14, 2010

2007 Randersackerer Sonnenstuhl by Schmitt’s Kinder

One of the best Franconia wineries is Schmitt’s Kinder in Randersacker, a lovely village of about 3,500 people along the Main river, about 30 minutes from Wuerzburg, the capital city of Lower Franconia.

We have visited Randersacker in 2008 and cultivate fond memories of this (much too short) visit.

The name “Schmitt’s Kinder” (in English Schmitt’s children) goes back to 1910 when the children of the vintner (Schmitt) did not, as is the custom in Lower Franconia, divide the property after the fathers death among the siblings, but instead opted to jointly cultivate the land.

The winery is currently under the management of the 10th generation of vintners: Karl Martin and Renate Marie Schmitt. The total area under vines is bout 14 ha in the locations “Randersackerer Sonnenstuhl”, “Marsberg”, “Teufelskeller”, “Pfülben” and “Ewig Leben”.

Main variety is Silvaner, followed by Riesling, Mueller-Thurgau, Scheurebe, Pinot Blanc, Bacchus, Domina and Pinot Noir.

The ‘2004 Randersackerer Sonnenstuhl Pinot Noir’ won the 2006 Pinot Noir Cup for best Pinot Noir wine of the world!!!! Can you imagine? That’s just great, a German Pinot Noir beating the best of France and Australia.

The back label, very modest and unassuming

Our friends Romy and Friedel Engisch in Wuerzburg offered exactly that wine when we visited last August. I tell you also the 2007 vintage of this Pinot Noir is first class. Amazing what Pinot Noir wines Germany can produce.

If you have the opportunity to get your hands on a bottle of this wine, do so immediately. Total production is quite limited but the price level is very reasonable.

Romy and Friedel Engisch with their guests from Bangkok

Address:
Weingut Schmitt’s Kinder
Am Sonnenstuhl 45
D-97236 Randersacker
Tel.: +49-931 / 70 59-1 97
Fax: +49- 0931 / 70 59-1 98
www.schmitts-kinder.de/


Wine from Franconia: Weingut Juliusspital, Würzburg

October 12, 2010

During a recent visit to Berlin, I bought also some bottles of fine wine. I treated myself to a ‘grand cru’ or ‘Grosses Gewaechs’ as the Germans call it. The ‘2006 Juliusspital GG dry Silvaner’ was just the stuff which makes my wine lovers heart jump. The winery is one of the best in Franconia and ever since my late grand father took me there as a 16 year old boy I am in love with its wines. Franconian Silvaner is one of my favorites. The wine comes in the ‘Bocksbeutel’ bottle typical for Franconia.

2006 GG Silvaner Juliusspital dry

Nothing is better suited to wine enjoyment than the presence of a wine expert. When Timo Mayer, owner and wine maker of The Mayer Vineyard from the Yarra Valley, Victoria visited us recently in Bangkok, I could not resist to open this treasure of a wine from Franconia.

It has a golden colour, and is quite oily with a beautiful bouquet. The structure is good and it finishes with a tender bitter note due to the fine tannins. In short: a wonderful wine.

The wine is ready for tasting

Address:
Weingut Juliusspital
Klinikstr. 1
97070 Würzburg

Tel.: +49-931393-1400 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +49-931393-1400      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +49-931393-1400      end_of_the_skype_highlighting 
Fax: +49-931393-1414
E-Mail: weingut@juliusspital.de
www.weingut-juliusspital.de


Effervescent Silvaner

August 19, 2010

Great Franconian wines in the bocksbeutel bottle

I just love the wines from the Silvaner grape. Most of Silvaner is grown in Alsace and Franconia, one of my favourite German wine regions. Many of the wines from Franconia come in the famous “Bocksbeutel” bottle.

What I did not know is that some Silvaner producers also make the grape into sparkling wine. One of these essences was served to me during a recent family gathering in Reichenberg near Wuerzburg.

2008 Wertheimer Tauberklinge Silvaner extra dry

The ‘2008 Wertheimer Tauberklinge Silvaner sparkling extra dry’ (12.% alc. vol., 3.6 g. acid/litre and 14.7. g. sugar/litre) was a wonderful effervescent experience.

I think this wine from “Tauberfranken” technically belongs to the Baden wine region and not Franconia. However, nice Silvaner are produced their that’s for sure, and it’s just right at the border of these two outstanding German wine regions.

Effervescent Silvaner

This wine was very refreshing, spritzy with zest and round fruityness, very pleasurable indeed. I will have more of it in the future. Thanks go to my folks in Reichenberg for introducing me to this excellent sparkling wine.


A Sunday at Bloody Hill

September 21, 2009

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Great Yarra Valley views from the Mayer Vineyard (left to the dam)

On a beautiful Sunday in early August, we were in for a surprise visit to the Mayer’s. We bought some “nibblies” (Australian for cold meats, sausages, cheeses, condiments, etc.) and some wine in Healesville and drove up the steep drive to Bloody Hill on top of which their beautiful house (rammed earth) is situated. Alas, they were in and happy to welcome their unannounced intruders.

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The vineyard at the crest of the hill is very neat

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Some of the wines on “offer” (f.l.t.r.: a Silvaner from Franconia, Dr. Buerklin-Wolf, a Riesling from the Pfalz and a Dr. Mayer Pinot Noir from the Yarra Valley)

We came at the right time. A shipment of Riesling wine (about 60 cases) which Timo had made on a visit to Germany last year had just arrived and was ready for tasting. Moreover, as a member of the South Pack, Timo was in the preparation of a wine tasting tour to three Australian cities (Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane). The South Pack is a group of eight innovative young Australian wine-makers who have raised the bar for the selling of premium and super-premium wines in sluggish markets.

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The German Brotzeit

A quick “Brotzeit” was thrown up and the wine tasting could start. We did not drink in any kind of order but rather according to gusto and enthusiasm. First cap of the rank was the German Riesling Timo had made, Dr. Mayer Riesling of which I have no picture which speaks for itself. This was not a time for tasting notes but for joy and nourishment of body and soul, for Australian and Swabian story telling and song.

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Bloody Hill Pinot Noir

Timo is a native of a small hamlet, called “Grossheppach” (about 4,500 inhabitants), today part of the small town called Weinstadt (translated: wine city) in the Rems valley (the Rems is a small river), Wuerttemberg, about 15 km east of Stuttgart. As everything in Germany, Grossheppach has a long history.

Grossheppach

Coat of arms of Grossheppach showing the river Rems and four grapes on a vine

Furthermore, the village has a long tradition of vine cultivation and wine making. Timo comes from a family of small vintners (and farmers).

In 1279 a historical deed is the earliest written testament of the flourishing wine production in Grossheppach. Magister Rudolf, a local doctor, had bequeathed his house in Esslingen and three vineyards in Grossheppach to the Abbey of Bebenhausen which was witnessed by knight ‘Fridericus miles de Heggebach’.

Timo showed as a historical chronicle of Grossheppach with black and white photos which also depicted his family in the 18th and 19th century. Here we are, thousands of kilometres away from the old land and talking grape production, wine traditions and wine styles. To cut a long story short, Timo had made his first ever Riesling wine in Grossheppach and shipped it for sale to Australia.

It was not the time for tasting notes, I guess. We opened one bottle after the next. First the Riesling wines, then Chardonnay and finally Pinot Noir and Shiraz, all Mayer Vineyard wines and Timo Mayer creations.

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Mayer and Dr. Mayer Pinot Noir and a traditional German wine label with the coat of arms of Grossheppach

The Mayer Vineyard is only a small operation (2.5 ha under vines). All wines are hand crafted and from a single vineyard. Timo believes that wine is made in the vineyard, therefore there is minimal interference. The reds are unfined and unfiltered. Timo makes wines with a difference, with great character and individuality. As he says “he wants to bring back the funk”, and funky these drops are. James Halliday, “the wine pope of Australia”, has awarded his highest rating, a 5 stars, to the Mayer Vineyard.

The Dr. Mayer Pinot Noir is one of the newest creations from the masters hands; a great wine, elegant, whole bunch fermented if I am not mistaken. Timo assumed that all of it would be sold during the South Pack promotion tour together with the Riesling. By now there should be nothing left, I guess.

Needless to say that the day extended to the night and ended with a pasta feast for 9 hungry mouths.

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The pasta sauce in the making

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The magician at work, this time in the kitchen and not in the wine cellar

We had a great time. The children played all afternoon. We walked the vineyard and Timo showed me where he shot a deer. Then we went to get some of that venison for us to take home. The “Brotzeit” led to dinner and then it was time to drive home to our own vineyard in Glenburn. Good news is that Timo is planning to make Riesling again in 2009 and maybe the following years.

For sales and enquiries contact:
timomayer@bigpond.com.au

The following wines are for sale:
Bloody Hill Chardonnay
Bloody Hill Pinot Noir
Big Betty Shiraz
Mayer Close Planted Pinot Noir (also as the Dr. Mayer Pinot Noir)


German “Brotzeit”

May 27, 2009

Brotzeit

“Brotzeit” freely translated into English means “Time for a bread”; it is a German custom of a meal between meals, a snack one could say, which was very widespread in German lands when most of the population was doing hard physical labour.

During my recent visit to Germany I had the opportunity to indulge into this old German custom. Today, even small bottles of wine are “custom made” to this effect. Ever since my grandfather introduced me to Franconian “Bocksbeutel-wine”, I am a lover of Silvaner from the Main and the Fraconian wine region.


Another year gone bye

August 23, 2008

Because of our move to Bangkok, Friday was a busy day. Packers everywhere, the house is like a nest of wasps, it seemed. Not easy under such conditions to find some peace of mind, but I did.

Another year had gone bye. My daughters had woken me early in the morning to wish me happy birthday. More well-wishers would come to join them over the day. My birthday dinner consisted of a ‘Risotto ai Funghi Porcini’, hm, that was beautiful as we say in Australia. I have loved risotto ever since we lived in Rome, Italy. And ‘funghi porcini’ is just the best “profumo” you can imagine.

What a wonderful ruby red colour the Shiraz from Hanging Rock has.
Risotto ai Funghi Porcini

Unfortunately, we did not have an Italian wine to go with it. Since my wine cellar is almost empty, I had not much choice. There were only three bottles of Australian wine, all red, left,

a ‘2004 Two Hills Merlot’ (reserved for the last evening in our house),

a ‘2001 D’Arenberg Coppermine Road Cabernet Sauvignon’ from McLaren Vale (I had paid US$ 40 for this bottle) and

a ‘2004 Hanging Rock Cambrian Rise Shiraz’ from Heathcote.

The two whites I have reserved are for lunch on Saturday and Sunday:

a ‘2005 Kitzinger Hofrat, Silvaner dry’ from Bernhard Voelker, Kitzingen in Franconia

and

a ‘2003 Saar Riesling’ from Van Volxem Estate in Wiltingen, Saar.

The tasting room of Van Volxem Estate in Wiltingen, Saar (picture taken in July this year)

I chose the ‘2004 Hanging Rock Shiraz’. The bottle was given to me by Andrew at the cellar door when we went on a wine tasting in August last year. If you visit the region of the Macedon Ranges in Victoria, you have to see this vineyard and taste its award-winning wines (see also my blog entry from 09. September 2007).

Hanging Rock has also a vineyard in the Heathcote wine region, Central Victoria where its award-winning Shiraz wines are grown which enjoy an enormous demand from consumers in China.

The Hanging Rock winery in the Macedon Ranges. In the back you can see the rock. The photo was taken in August 2007.

The wine is a blend from several vineyards near the Mt. Carmel range. It is beautiful, has a ruby red colour, and very intense plum and cherry aromas; it is very fruity, has immense depth, a good structure and actually everything you want from a Shiraz from the Heathcote wine region with its hot summers. The Cambrian soils of the Heathcote region are the key to the fame of its Shiraz wines.

Isn’t the ruby red colour of the Shiraz of Hanging Rock wonderful?

Pity the wine did not match the food (my mistake). The ‘funghi porcini’ were too delicate and subtle and the wine just overpowered the fragrance of the earthy mushrooms. We did not care this time, enjoyed the tropical garden view and the sweet heat of a dry-season evening. One last time. I wonder where I will celebrate my next birthday. Over these thoughts I blew the smoke of a Partagas cigar which was given to me by my friends Liz and Walter in Jakarta. Delicious!