Schloss Biebrich Sekt

oenophilogical_munichaugustinerkellerLast fall l had the chance to get a quick trip in to Germany and Switzerland.  It had to be quick due to necessary commitments, but it was a wonderful trip.

The first leg we spent in Munich.  We could have gone gallivanting about Germany because there is so much to see and do, but we decided to focus on beautiful München.  Why?  Well, in part because I had lived in Munich as a young man just out of college.  Thus, I wanted to take a good look around and see just how much had changed.  I also wanted to share some of the gems I’d discovered previously with my sweetie.

Staying in a hotel close to (but not right at) the Hauptbahnhof allowed us to utilize the outstanding public transportation system to go everywhere. oenophilogical_munich_nymphenburgerschloss Whether by subway, commuter rail, bus or streetcar, we were able to get to all our destinations.  Our hotel was also within easy striking distance of the Altstadt (old city) area that includes the famous Rathaus with it’s glockenspiel, Marienkirche and the many shops and restaurants lining the Fussgängerzone (pedestrian zone) that links Karlsplatz, Marienplatz and Odeonsplatz.  Yes, we heard and watched the glockenspiel.  We also packed in a visit to the Olympic Center, Olympic Tower and Olympic Village (and my old apartment which was within walking distance).  oenophilogical_munich_englishegarten2We saw the Nymphenburger Schloss with it’s fascinating history and beautiful gardens.  We pondered the amazing collection of art in the Alte Pinakothek museum, part of a group of museums where you could spend days – weeks, even – appreciating the art.  We took a stroll around the Englisher Garten and stopped for lunch at the Chinesischer Turm/Chinese Tower.  In fact, we had plenty of Bavarian food and beer, dropping in at the Augustiner Keller Beer Garden one evening and the Hofbräuhaus another.  And perhaps most enjoyably, we discovered a wonderful pub/restaurant a few blocks from our hotel in a quiet residential neighborhood that served, among other tasty things, Münchner Schnitzel.  This was my favorite dish when I lived in Munich!  I thought it had perhaps been the specialty of the local restaurant (no longer in existence) where I had first discovered it.  Imagine my elation to accidentally rediscover it and be able to share it as well.

With memories of our trip still dancing in my head, it was no surprise that I was drawn toward a German label when considering options for “bubbly” to help celebrate this past holiday season.

oenophilogical_schlossbiebrichsektWinemaker:  Schloss Biebrich
Varietal:  Sekt
Vintage:  NV
Appellation:  Germany
Price:  $5.49 at Trader Joe’s

Notes:  This effervescent wine was a “barely there” straw with a very apple-y nose which held some citrus notes.  It was light-bodied and had good acidity.  Alcohol was at 11%.  On the flavor side it held what the nose portended – sweet apple with a touch of citrus.  I know this is very inexpensive wine, but I was disappointed.  Don’t get me wrong: I will drink it again if someone hands me a glass.  On the other hand, I probably won’t be buying another bottle.

The wine amateur

Here are some tasting notes from my friend labellestudio. It’s her first wine post! Will have to see if I can find this selection in my area. I hope so.

labellestudio

A few days ago I told a fellow blogger and wine expert Oenophilogical that I intended to write a wine review as a fun addition to this site. I am afraid this is not going to help my reputation as a serious person but why this serious all the time anyway? Let´s give it a try and move somewhat out of our comfort zone for once. 🙂

Heuchelberg Weingärtner 2011 Trollinger Rosé ~ Fruchtig süss ~ Württemberg

My husband discovered this wine a few months ago and bought it in a small beverage market. Three weeks ago he retaliated and bought another bottle… Rosés are often labelled as “women´s wines” in Germany, especially when they are on the rather sweeter side like this one but both my husband and I enjoyed it very much.

The color was a pale golden pink and the scent reminded me of wood, plaster, peppermint…

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Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt Glühwein

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.

Winemaker:  Gerstacker Weinkellerei
Wine:  Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt Glühwein
Varietal:  Red Spiced Wine
Vintage:  NV
Appellation:  Germany
Price:  $8.99 per Liter

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.

 

 

 

Schmitt Söhne Riesling 2012

With summer now fully upon us, I am very likely to be popping the cork on some lighter wines – white and blush, especially.  They just seem more weather-appropriate, you know?  And they also tend to complement the types of meals one generally gravitates toward on a sweltering summer day.  As I may have mentioned previously, I used to live in Germany (twice, actually).  Yet much to my chagrin, while there I didn’t get to take advantage of the opportunity to experience the outstanding wines.  The first time I was too young.  The second time … that’s a long story.  lol  One of these days I’m going to make a return trip (a nice lengthy one) and correct that.  In the meantime, I’ll be buying what I can find in my local area to sample and enjoy – such as this inexpensive Riesling.  Another Riesling in a blue bottle!

Vineyard:  Schmitt Söhne
Varietal:  Riesling
Vintage: 2012
Appellation:  Rheinhessen, Germany
Price: $11.29 for 1 Liter

Notes:  The color of this Schmitt Söhne Qualitätswein was very pale straw.  The bouquet was quite faint, carrying scents of apple, grapefruit and grass.  Acidity was good, and the body was light.  Flavors I detected were also on the lighter side.  They included honey (not surprising as this selection comes in at 9.5% alcohol), pear, apple, a hint of apricot and grapefruit on the finish.  It was light and fruity.  It was also quite inexpensive on sale – in the liter bottle – for $7.99.

Glühwein – German Mulled Wine

     Reblogged from vinoinlove:

Mulled Wine

Germany has a long tradition when it comes to Mulled Wine. The oldest documented Glühwein tankard dates back to 1420. It belonged Count John IV of Katzenelnbogen who is said to be the very first vintner to ever have planted the Riesling grape on a large scale. Glühwein is the traditional German Christmas drink. It’s not only sold on every Christmas-market but also cooked a home.

Styles

1) Traditional Glühwein

Traditional Glühwein is based on red wine. Usually a very young and fruity wine is used to produce Glühwein. The wine should not have more than 12% or 12.5% alcohol by volume. Citrus, cinnamon sticks, cloves and star aniseed are the most important spices for traditional German Glühwein. Depending on how strong you want your Glühwein you have to add Orange juice. If you want to try Glühwein at home then follow these simple instructions: Heat 0,75 liters of red wine and 0,25l of orange juice in a pot. But be careful – don’t let it boil! Cut 1/2 orange and 1 lemon into slices. Add them together with 3 cloves,  2 cinnamon sticks, and 2 star aniseed to the wine. Let everything cook for around 15 minutes but once again don’t let it boil. Use a colander to separate the Glühwein from the spices and serve it in tankards. Of course this is just one of many possible ways to prepare Glühwein and there is no right or wrong recipe. Just make sure that it tastes like Christmas!

2) White Glühwein

Read more ….

Now that winter is officially here and the holidays are squarely upon us, my mind tends to reminisce over holidays past.  One of my most vivid memories of the holiday season is a December spent in Munich.  It was almost magical walking through the Christkindlmarkt at night shopping for handmade tree ornaments with the smell of Glühwein and roasted chestnuts in the chilly air while snow blanketed the city and environs.  I’m slightly envious that vinoinlove lives in Munich, but I think that makes him a great source for a good Glühwein recipe.  So on some cold winter’s night in the coming months, you may want to try one of these to warm and cheer you.  He’s been thoughtful enough to include recipes for some additional German beverage specialties in addition to the mulled wines.  Oh!  And …

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

Cupcake Vineyards Riesling 2011 Pfalz

This German import is sold under the Cupcake label but is bottled in Germany by a company given the designation D-RP – 907 009.   That’s a sexy name for a winery, isn’t it?  After some digging, it appears to me that the responsible party is likely one J.F. Brems GmbH in Zell.  A small town of roughly 4,300 residents situated on the Mosel River, Zell is best known for another wine.  One I remember my mother buying and sipping when I was just a little tyke.  Zell is the home of the Zeller Schwarze Katz.  But this particular bottle is not a Schwarze Katz selection, it is a Qualitätswein Riesling from Pfalz.

Winemaker:  Cupcake Vineyards
Varietal:  Riesling
Vintage:  2011
Appellation:  Pfalz
Price:  $10.99 at Whole Foods

Notes:  The color was bright golden yellow.  The bouquet held scents of tart apple and fragrant peach.  Alcohol was at 10.5% in this Pfalz white that was light-bodied and somewhat low in acidity.  Flavors I tasted centered around a core of tart apple.  Not green apple, but more of a Braeburn type sweet and tart.   I also caught hints of peach and a touch of lemongrass on the finish.  Clearly, given the flavor profile I’ve listed, this wine is not devoid of acidity.  I just think that a tad more would have given it the play-on-the-tongue quality that I enjoy in my favorite Rieslings.  If your preference is for something a little more mannerly … well, here you go!   It isn’t overly complex and the price is reasonable, so it’s a decent candidate to pair with a relaxed meal – maybe a lightly spicy vegetable stir fry or a quick pan-fried pork chop.

Zell on the Mosel

Divino Nordheim Müller Thurgau Trocken 2009

Thurgau2009What a nice surprise to find a decent-sized section of German wines available at one of the wine stores in my area.  I’ve mentioned before that this shop – Arrowine – is not as close and convenient for me as are any number of others.  Clearly, though, I will have to make an effort to get there from time to time!

I’d never had a Müller Thurgau before.  Well, let’s say “as far as I can remember” I hadn’t.  When I was a little kid my family lived in Germany.  My parents did give me a taste of one or two wines during that time, but I only remember them talking about Liebfraumilch.  I’ve always assumed that was what I’d sipped.  It’s funny looking back now, because they had to make me try the wines.  I didn’t want to!!   Anyway, this Müller Thurgau was a new experience for me.

Winemaker:   Divino Nordheim
Wine:  Müller Thurgau Trocken
Varietal:  Müller Thurgau
Vintage:  2009
Appellation:  Franken, Germany
Price:  $9.99

Notes:   You may know that trocken means dry in German, and this wine is dry at 13% alcohol.  In the glass it was a pale yellow.  On the nose I caught lively citrus and peach.  This was a light and crisp wine.  Acidity is bright, giving it a very slight feeling of effervescence when it hits the tongue.  Flavors for me were citrus and star fruit with hints of peach and honey.  I also found plentiful grass on the palate that lingers in the fairly long finish.  Seems like this would be a good all-purpose summer white for sipping or enjoying with light summery dishes like a crisp salad, some fresh seafood, or even grilled chicken.

Important: I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  See “About” for the full disclaimer.

Hans Lang Edition Maximilian Pinot Noir 2009

inotNoir2009A German red at Trader Joe’s!  In fact, when I picked this one up, I also saw a Dornfelder from Joseph Händler there, too.  I had tasted the 2012 Händler Riesling not too long ago, so I thought it would be better to try something from a different wine house now.  I’ll go back for the Dornfelder, to be sure.

Winemaker: Weinhaus Hans Lang
Wine: Edition Maximilian, Pinot Noir
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Vintage: 2009
Appellation: Rheingau, Germany
Price: $6.99 at Trader Joe’s*

Notes:  Well, this was an interesting selection!  First, it had quite a pungent bouquet of strawberry with little hints of earth and spice.  In the glass it was a light ruby color.  On the palate is where it got interesting.  I might even say unusual for a Pinot Noir.  In this light German red I found a core of ripe strawberry with a cranberry accompaniment.  There was also a very present tartness that surrounded but didn’t completely obscure the other flavors.  On the mid-palate came the sweetness (alcohol is at 11.5%) along with some suggestions of spice.  As the wine approached it’s finish, the tart returned and was joined by the modest tannins which – while bringing a very pleasant fuzzy-tongue feeling – added just another touch of tart.  I was not sure if I liked this wine.  And remember: cranberry sauce is my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner.

After tasting it, I certainly didn’t imagine the 2009 Edition Maximilian Pinot Noir was going to be a wine I’d like to just sip and savor.  Still, I thought it had it’s good points for a cheap table red.  And I suspected it might stand up to light spicy dishes.  So I took the whole grain pasta I was going to have for dinner, added a little more fire (red pepper flakes), and tried them together.  Indeed, the light sweetness of the wine moderated the pepper a bit while the pepper reduced the tart quotient of the wine considerably.  So, for me, I could drink this wine to accompany a light and spicy pasta or pizza, but I wouldn’t serve it to guests whose tolerance for tartness I don’t know well.  Because if you don’t like tart flavors, you will definitely not like this wine.

Important: I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur. See “About” for the full disclaimer.

* Initially, I mistakenly posted a price of $4.99.  But somehow it just didn’t seem right.  So upon rechecking my receipts, I have updated this post to reflect the correct price.

Hans Wirsching Silvaner 2010 Franken

Peck_HWSilvaner2010Here is another German wine.  I bought it at Grateful Red, that wine store I mentioned in an earlier post.  I told you I’d be pulling from their selections from time to time!  This is a Silvaner – yet another varietal wine I haven’t had before.  I’ve had Liebfrau(en)milch previously, of course.  My but those “firsts” just keep adding up, don’t they?  Hey, that’s a good thing!

Winemaker:  Hans Wirsching
Varietal:  Silvaner
Vintage:  2010
Appellation:  Franken, Germany
Price:  $18.99

Notes:   This wine is a light bright yellow in the glass.  On the nose I got a bright green apple and lemon scents.  It has a lively, bubbly effervescence when first poured that actually created a little foam in the glass.  On the tongue I thought this wine had a pleasant light viscosity.  Flavors for me were primarily lemon, honey and green apple.   Alcohol is 11.5%.  Overall, I’d say it was pretty good in my book.  And I feel confident it would pair pretty well with any seafood.  I can especially imagine it going well with a spicy shrimp dish like Camarones Diablo.

Important: I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  See “About” for the full disclaimer.

Joseph Händler Riesling 2012

Peck_JHRiesling2012OK.  Here is the third in my promised trio of German wine tastings.  It’s another Riesling from the Pfalz region – this time a 2012.  Here’s what I found in this simple, straight-forward wine.

Vineyard: Domherrenberg Kellerei for Trader Joe’s
Varietal: Joseph Händler Riesling
Vintage: 2012
Appellation: Pfalz, Germany
Price: $5.49 at Trader Joe’s

Notes:  The wine is a very pale straw color in the glass.  On the nose I got lemon and white peach.  Like the Spätlese I recently tasted, this Riesling has good acidity which gives the tongue an effervescent zing immediately (but in a more restrained way).  The primary flavors for me were apricot, lemon and green apple with green apple peel on the finish.  It’s fairly sweet at 10% alcohol, but the acidity and flavors make it seem less sugary than other selections at the same ABV.  Overall the experience was pleasant – less dramatic than the Spätlese but equally pleasing.  I wouldn’t consider serving this one at dessert, though.  This wine sits solidly in the “good for a picnic” category for me.  It would also be nice served at a cheese and wine gathering.

By the way, don’t think I’m finished with German wines.  I’m not.  Ich komme zurück.  Ohne Zweifel!!

Important: I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  See “About” for the full disclaimer.