Back from paradise

August 13, 2013

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The Mosel river near Trittenheim

In the picture above you will see the wine village of Leiwen (left). Further around the bend of the river (to the right) is the wine village of Trittenheim. This is basically the view of the Mosel you will get when you drive though the Hunsrueck mountains.

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Trittenheim, Mosel

And this was also our first view of the Mosel when we arrived in Germany for our summer vacation this year. We were mesmerized. What a splendid view, what a splendid landscape, what a splendid river, how good to be home.

From the outset let me tell you we had a great time (only about 3 weeks), and despite our at best erratic planning and our lousy preparation, we were able to line up some unique, memorable and exquisite encounters with the wine and food world.

I intend to write in more detail about most of these encounters. But let me not be too optimistic as regards the time available for blogging.

So what were the highlights of our visit?

Well, we had the best pork-knuckle ever (!) after a two hour march through the forests near the Ammersee on our way to the monastery of Andechs, a famous location for catholic pilgrims. Bavaria is a fantastic place to visit especially if the weather gods are smiling on you, and smile they did. We had warm, at times even hot, weather during the whole time of our holidays.

Along the Mosel we visited three wineries – two along the Ruwer, one on the Sauer, both tributaries of the Mosel – and had one wine tasting in Trier city at Oechsle. Wonderful, exquisite, I can only rave about the many fresh and zesty wines we had the opportunity to sample.

The wineries we visited were:

Fuerst Winery, Metzdorf, Sauer
Karthaeuserhof Estate, Eitelsbach, Ruwer
Maximin Gruenhaus C. von Schubert Winery-Estate, Mertesdorf, Ruwer

Another highlight was the visit of one of the best restaurants in the Alsace region of France. For a family lunch we went to the Auberge du Cheval Blanc in Lembach, Alsace near Wissembourg in the Vosges mountains.

Needless to say we spent many afternoon and evenings in wine bars and beer gardens, among them the wine bar Kesselstatt and the wine bar “Weinsinnig”, two of my favourite places to relax and enjoy a good glass of wine in Trier.

More soon. Stay tuned.

PS: I made some gorgeous pictures.


Pierre Sparr Riesling, Alsace

May 8, 2010

Pomfret con alceitunas y alcaparras

We had fish for dinner. Following a Spanish recipe, we had “Bonito con Aceitunas y Alcaparras” (tuna with olives and capers) from the “Culinaria Spain – Spanish Specialities” cookery book by Koenemann, 1998, Cologne, which is a wonderful book. It has not only breathtaking recipes but great pictures, stories about the food and the people, the various regions of Spain and, of course on Spanish wines.

We deviated from the original recipe by replacing the tuna fillets by whole pomfret fish but used all the other ingredients for the preparation of the dish. Needless to say, it was delicious. The recipe worked also with pomfret, one of my favourite fishes here in Asia.

2008 Pierre Sparr Riesling, extreme, Alsace

I had no Spanish wine in my wine fridge, but a Riesling from Alsace which I had bought a couple of days earlier because of its funky modern label. Pierre Sparr is the name of the estate. The 2008 vintage Riesling is still young and exuberant, just the right stuff for pairing it with the strong taste of the olives and the capers. The acidity made all the difference.

Pierre Sparr Riesling extreme

2008 Pierre Sparr Riesling, extreme, Alsace

I tried to find the same label on the Pierre Sparr website but could not. It must have been a special label for the export market. Back home in Alsace the same wines have more traditional wine labels. The Sparr family winery goes back to 1680. Pierre Sparr is representing the ninth (!!!) generation of Sparr family wine-makers and vignerons. The winery is located in Sigolsheim at the heart of the Alsace region. The family owns and operates 34 ha under vines and contracts fruit from about another 150 ha, usually small growers.

I love this wine region and have visited many times, especially during my student days. Alsace has a outstanding gastronomy, spread over the most picturesque region, right at the foot of the Vosges mountains down to the Rhine river. Vines have been cultivated since Roman times.

Pierre Sparr offers a wide range of wines (and also grappa). I guess the wine we had belongs to the lowest quality segment which you can buy in France for about 8.25-9.50 EURO/bottle. I paid much more for it here in Bangkok. It displays rose petal aromas, citrus, peach and honey. The wine is sprizzy and has zest, a good structure and a long finish. Its’ perfectly made and will last for some more years (12% alc/vol).

I hope we have the chance to visit Alsace again this year. And meanwhile I look out for Pierre Sparr wines here in Bangkok.