Right after I graduated from college, I spent two years in Munich (München), Germany. It was an eventful time in my life. It was the first time I’d ever lived in a metropolitan area. Turns out I’m a city dweller at heart. Also, my first son was born. Yeah, that was a big one. It was an amazing time in many ways. It seemed there was a surprise, a new experience around every corner. One of the most beautiful was seeing the Kristkindlmarkt on Marienplatz. There had been snow early and often our first year, so there was a frosting of snow on the buildings and some of the stalls as we wandered the market looking at the handicrafts – we bought crystal tree ornaments. All the while the pungent aromas of glühwein and roasted chestnuts filled the air.
Despite the fact that it wasn’t Münchener Glühwein, I was excited when I saw this on the shelf of a local supermarket in January. Even though the holidays had passed, it was still cold enough to warrant a nice warm beverage.
Notes: The color of this spiced red was a pale garnet. Not surprisingly, the bouquet held scents of winter spices – esp. clove – and dark fruit. Directions on the bottle instructed me to heat the wine to 170 degrees Fahrenheit without boiling. Once that was done, we were able to pour it into our holiday mugs. Yes, we have holiday mugs! I found this wine light-bodied with good acidity and no noticeable tannins. Sweet at 10% alcohol, the Gerstacker Glühwein was a mug full of plummy, berry, spicy goodness. It was simple, pleasant, warming enjoyment on a very cold night. Temperatures outside were in the teens, but the warmth of this spiced wine and the memories it brought to mind kept us cozy inside. For an hour or two, it was the holidays all over again.