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Posts Filed Under german wine

The Powerful Mosel Riesling Kung-Fu of SA Prüm

Vinted on October 5, 2009 under german wine, twitter taste live

If I have a love affair with any one fine wine grape, it’s got to be Riesling.  I’m not a fan of saying that a particular grape is superior to another when it comes to producing fine wine, but we all have our preferences and at the end of the day if you forced me to pick one variety for stocking up wine for a stranded-on-a-desert-island scenario, it’s going to be Riesling for me.   There’s just something about the purity, diversity, and transmission of a sense of place (while still retaining a ‘signature’ that clearly defines it) that Riesling delivers like no other wine grape.

So when I found out that TasteLive.com and Wines of Germany had lined up Mosel Riesling producer Raimond Prüm’s wines for a Twitter Taste Live event… well, I was sooooooo there.

Raimond Prüm is the tireless, red-headed force behind all things SA Prüm, which is by any account an historic producer of (very, very good) Mosel Riesling.  I had the pleasure of being Raimond the Red’s guest earlier this year when I toured Germany’s wine regions with a group of journalists, stopping last at SA Prüm in the Mosel.  The thing I remember most about “Der Specht” (so named due to his red coif) was the way that he pronounced the word “unbelievable” when describing Mosel wines (as in, he constantly referred to the wines of the Mosel as “unbelievable”).  Raimond drawls the first syllable, stretching it to a verbal breaking point, then smashes the remaining syllables together quickly and decisively.

“I’m telling you, the wines are uuuunnnnnnnnn… beliveable.”

He said this. A lot.

He’s also a pretty good cook when it comes to  his outdoor grill, and generous when it comes to sharing that food and showcasing his wines.  Oh, yeah, he’s also one hell of winemaker, and justifiably proud of his wines, which consistently over-deliver with seriously powerful QPR Kung-Fu – many of them are excellent, and several are under $20.  It helps that “Der Specht” is presiding over some of the most favorable sites for growing Riesling in the Mosel, where small changes in sun exposure can have a huge impact on the ripeness potential of Riesling and various soil types help to impart differing flavors and minerality to the wines.

It also helps to have a personality eminently suited to a Twitter Taste Live event, and a family winemaking history rivaling the grandest in all of Germany…

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The Queen is NOT Dead (German Hotties Vie for Wine Queen Title)

Vinted on October 2, 2009 under german wine, twitter taste live

You’re going to be hearing quite a bit about German wine here on the virtual pages of 1WineDude this month.  This is due primarily to the fact that German wines totally rock right now, but is influenced primarily by the Twitter Taste Live events that are focusing on German Riesling during the month of October.

The TTL / German Wine blitzkreig kicks into gear in earnest tonight with a blogger tasting event featuring the fantastic wines of Mosel producer Raimund Prum.  I had the pleasure of hanging out with Raimond at the S.A. Prum estate earlier this year, where “Der Specht” entertained us with his tireless promotion of all things Mosel-wine-related, grilled beef for dinner on the estate lawn, and poured copious amounts of his wines without providing a spit bucket.  My kind of wine producer!

The TTL focus on Germany will culminate in a public twitter tasting event of German Reislings on October 22, which I will co-host.  You will NOT want to miss that event, because the wines being featured will be AMAZING.  More to come on Raimund Prum and the October 22nd event next week.

What I want to tell you about today is the email newsletter that I received from the Deutsches Weininstitut. And you’re gonna want to pay attention, because sexy ladies are involved.

No, I’m serious…

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Postcard from Germany: Death and Rebirth in the Rheinhessen

Vinted on June 4, 2009 under best of, german wine

A group of young, talented winemakers are on a mission to change the perception of wines from the Rheinhessen; a look at one of those winemakers reveals just how dramatic – and successful – that change might be…

The first thing one notices about Alexander Gysler… is that he’s tall.

Even for Germans this guy is tall.  Even to a traveling writer of Mediterranean decent who is 5’5”, and to whom everyone seems tall, he’s tall.  Alexander towers a good head height over everyone in our traveling party.

We’re in Weinheim, having arrived at noon after a wine-related guided city tour of Mainz.  The previous evening, I’d been given an introduction to quality Rheinhessen wines over dinner in nearby Oppenheim, our hosts being a trio of winemakers that belong to the group Message in a Bottlean organization of young winemakers who are trying to undo the sins of the Rheinhessen’s past, at least in terms of wine.  Judging by their output – especially the bone-dry but somehow still very well-balanced Riesling Auslese from Pfannebecker, they’re starting to succeed.

Which brings us back to the big guy, Alex.

To hear Alexander’s story is to get a glimpse into the history of Rheinhessen wine.  Despite his formidable size, Alexander is soft-spoken, almost quiet, but quick with a smile or short laugh.  He’s also understated.  Case in point: His 2008 Huxelrebe Beerenauslese was recently chosen as a showcase German wine on offer in Lufthansa’s first class service.  And it might be the best Huxelrebe you’ve never tasted, with honeysuckle, lemon, and grapefruit aromas, balanced with vegetal and citrus notes and a honeyed finish that clocked in at 20+ seconds.  When I asked Alexander how he managed to score the Lufthansa gig, his answer was short and almost as sweet as the wine itself: “We were very lucky.  In Germany, it’s impossible to sell sweet wine.”

Which brings us back to the story of Rheinhessen wine…

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Postcard from Germany: A House Divided

Vinted on May 27, 2009 under best of, commentary, german wine, on the road

High-end Mosel wine producers are (slowly) battling for the identity – and the future – of German Riesling.

“We don’t aim to produce perfection,” Annegret Reh-Gartner told me over lunch at Schloss Marienlay, a beautiful estate on the Ruwer in Germany’s famed Mosel region.

Annegret is the driving force behind Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt, a Mosel wine icon with roots dating back to 1349, and now one of only a handful of producers with vineyard holdings on the Mosel as well as its tributaries, the Saar and Ruwer.  She is welcoming and open, the only things that hint at her family’s wealth (her father is probably one of the richest people in all of Germany, and their family holds several expensive vineyard areas in the region) are her keen sense of style and the impressive stone building housing our lunch table.

We aim to produce personalities.  You need soul.”

She states her views on Mosel wine matter-of-factly, with a surety that comes from clearly having considered the matter deeply.  Despite being affable, warm, and small, she cuts an imposing figure when talking about the state of Mosel Riesling, even when seated.  When she mentions the future of Mosel wine, her voice never raises but it does quicken.

“We can’t limit ourselves to super, well-balanced wines with residual sugar.  We have to catch mice with bacon.”  By mice, Annegret means the modern German wine consumer – Wine drinkers in Germany have rebelled against the explosion of cheap, bad, cloyingly sweet wines that plagued the reputation of German wines for decades.  But instead of seeking out good, well-balanced wines from quality estates, those consumers have nearly abandoned sweet wines from Germany altogether, and are voting with their wallets in favor of bone-dry Rieslings…
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