It is safe to say that only one person at Vinexpo 2012 was sporting a tiara. The German Wine Princess, Elisabeth Born. The German Wine Princess (or Princesses, as there can be up to three elected and crowned each year) is a representative of the German Wine Queen (also appointed annually), who travels the world, attending wine fairs and celebrations, meetings and conferences, educating wine lovers about the variety and quality of German wines and acting a royal mascot for the industry.
We spoke about the quality of German wines and the success that they have had in the Asian markets. We also briefly discussed the signing of the Declaration of Intent on Co-operation in Wine-related Business between Hong Kong and Germany, an agreement which will facilitate the co-operation between the two countries in wine fairs and exhibitions, education, tourism, storage and auctioneering. Elisabeth let me in on one of her favorite pairings of Asian food and German wine, two characters which harmonize very well with each other in her opinion.
Mr. Andrew Wong and Mr. Peter Bleser at the Signing of the Declaration of Intent on Co-operation in Wine-related Business between Hong Kong and Germany
“Wine is meant to quench thirst. It’s a beverage. It’s meant to refresh.”
Not a take one hears too often and definitely not one I was expecting from Boston Magazine’s “Best Sommelier of 2011.” But it all makes sense, really. When wine, like lemonade or water, is consumed alongside a meal, it needs first and foremost to hydrate, to alleviate the palate of the dryness resulting from the mastication of food. Of course, a wine also must have a flavor relationship (whether harmony or contrast) with the dish it is paired with and this is perhaps where the culture of meticulous tastings and profiling comes in. But according to Kai Gagnon, wine director at Bergamot restaurant on the Cambridge-Somerville border between Harvard and Inman Squares, one must also consider how wine replenishes after a paired bite.
Tasting Notes: This is a wine that will give you a zen-experience when you drink it. Scharzhofsberg Kabinett from Von Hövel is an excellent, straight forward world class riesling for around 10 euros! On the nose it has elderflower, citrus and delicious honey, and the palate shows a slight sweetness which is perfectly integrated with the hint of lemon fruits and a creamy yet very fresh acidity. And the taste goes on forever
Last month we left the city for the weekend to gorge ourselves on the best wines made in New York State. My girlfriend Amanda and I had been invited to spend some time in the Finger Lakes, starting with a vertical tasting of Hermann J Wiemer Rieslings from ’99-’08 hosted by the winemaker, Fred Merwarth and Oskar Bynke the estate manager. Fred has been at the winery for nine years gradually taking over full winemaking responsibilities and Oskar worked there as an intern for two years after working in the wine industry in NYC. Hermann was looking to retire and lacking any natural heirs struck a favorable deal a few years ago to have the winery sold/passed down to his vigneron protege and his impish former intern. These are not the most well known wines of the region necessarily (that is changing) but they are far and away the benchmark and are almost solely responsible for the legitimacy of the Finger Lakes AVA.
The winery was established in 1979 on the west side of Seneca Lake. There are seven lakes in region which are long, narrow and incredibly deep. This is the reason the vines can survive the harsh NY winters in that the depth of the lake actually prevents it from freezing and protects the the area up to just over a mile from it’s shore.
Wow… visting this region is not only about wine, it definitely comes with an endless amount of history classes! Very impressive and stunning Schloss Reinhartshausen in the small town of Erbach in the “Rheingau” region!! Admirable with which deep knowledge, imense professionalism and certain pride Mr. Bibo (Managing Director) and his team lead the place, make amazing wines, carry on this huge task and tradition the castle carries with itself. It is difficult to put in words, but I am going to try anyways….
Recently, I met with Sofia Thanisch, the owner and proprietor of Wwe. Dr H. Thanisch-Erben Thanisch to taste her 2007 Rieslings. Thanisch is one of the top producers in Germany and the main vineyard, Berncastler Doctor, has been held up as the German equivalent of Romanee-Conti. It could be considered the most expensive piece of vineyard land in the world (yes, more than Le Montrachet) based on the price paid the last time any land was sold within the vineyard (1908) when 100 gold Deutsche Marks were paid per SQUARE METER when vines were planted one to the square meter. The label may be the most iconic in all of Germany. The vineyard itself overlooks the Mosel, facing south-southwest and at more than a sixty degree slope making harvest a difficult, almost a dangerous proposition. These wines are made in varying quantities every year, between 100-700 cases, depending on the ripeness of the grapes both from the Berncastler Doctor vineyard and the surrounding Bernkasteler Badstube. Just a quick comment on the “c” versus the “k” in Berncastler…the vineyard labels for Berncastler Doctor were registered in 1904 hence the “c” versus the true German “k” both in Berncastler and Doctor. This is why you see variation when the wines are written up using “k”. Thanisch uses a “k” in Bernkasteler Badstube. Again, German wine labels are easy…