I know what you’re thinking, and the answer is No, 1WineDude has not become a German Wine Blog. It just looks that way because October has (primarily) featured German wines and German wine happs. This is due to TasteLive.com having dedicated the month to featuring selections picked by the organization Wines of Germany (I helped to set this up and might collect a modest “finder’s fee” for that – if I’m lucky). Also, Wines of Germany keeps sending me pictures of the German hotties who were vying for the German Wine Queen title, and I’m just shallow enough that those caught my interest.
I’m excited to announce that I’ll be your co-host for the wrap-up German wine event at TasteLive.com on October 22, which is open to the public – that means that you can join us in tasting and tweeting about the following wines live from the comfort of your favorite drinking chair! (TasteLive has partnered with Bacchus Wine and Spirits for those that can’t source the wines locally).
- Selbach-Oster, Riesling, Kabinett, Mosel, 2007/2008
- Leitz, Riesling, “Eins Zwei Dry,” Rheingau, 2008
- Dönnhoff, Riesling, Nahe, 2008
- Darting, Riesling, Durkheimer Nonnengarten, Kabinett, Pfalz, 2008
I’ve had the Selbach-Oster and the Leitz, and they’re both really tasty wines, which probably bodes well for the other selections. Those of you who have been following along at home with the previous October events featuring German wines know that the selections have all be very good, so I’m really looking forward to the 22nd.
More detail is available on the TasteLive Blog.
Sign up over at TasteLive.com, get yourself the wines, and join us on the 22nd!
I recently received a press release from the Wine School of Philadelphia, with whom I’ve been discussing taking part in their Sommelier Smackdown event series (basically, in a Smackdown event the Wine School staff take on local wine personalities and wine pros in a contest to match up wines with dinner recipes, and usually much merriment / fun / smack-talk ensues).
So far, we haven’t been able to nail down a mutually available date, and both the Wine School of Phila. and I had been lax in following up to make it happen. Their recent press release helped to clear things up, though – turns out that the reason things have been delayed (and I am not making this up) is that they’ve been issued a cease and desist order on the Sommelier Smackdown event series – from World Wrestling Entertainment!
Vince McMahon Issues Smackdown Against Wine School
Philadelphia, PA. Vince McMahon is taking on his oddest foe to date: a sommelier wine tasting. The World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., has issued a cease and desist against The Wine School of Philadelphia and its popular “Sommelier Smackdown” series of wine classes.
In a letter to the school’s owner, the WWE’s lawyers are threatened legal action if the school does not stop hosting the series of wine tastings. “I feel kind of special,” says Keith Wallace, “I am being picked on by Vince McMahon. I better start working out.”
The Sommelier Smackdown is a series of food and wine pairing events that take place in Philadelphia. The event pits a sommelier against a member of The Wine School team, and the audience gets to vote for the winner.
Mr. Wallace says he will not stop running the classes, at least for now. “They don’t have a leg to stand on. I am not going to bow down to a bully,” he says. “They claim that they own the term “smackdown” but they don’t.”
In response to the WWE threat, Wallace is calling out Mr. McMahon and the wrestler Chris Jerico to a wine-tasting double-team cage match.
Keith Wallace is the Founder and Director of The Wine School of Philadelphia. He is a contributing writer for The Daily Beast, and is currently working on his first book for Running Press.
Oh, sure, use the old “I can’t go head-to-head with you today, I’m in legal action with the WWE” excuse. Cowards!
But seriously, I imagine that you are having the same reaction that I did – as in, WTF?!?!?!
Let’s just get one thing clearer than a Loire Muscadet Sevre et Maine right now: I am NOT getting into a throw-down, folding-chair-throwing cage match with anybody over wine pairings…especially Robert Parker, because that guy is big…
If I had to sum up the history of Silvaner, the ancient wine grape that probably originated in Transylvania but whose spirit now resides firmly in Germany’s Franken region, in as few words as possible, it would probably look something like this:
The problem is not that Silvaner isn’t any good. In fact, it can be pretty damn tasty, as last week’s Twitter Taste Live event, featuring some of the Silvaner-based wines from Franken producer Castell, clearly showed to those who participated.
The problem is that Silvaner, in the words of Jancis Robinson, “is not a wine for our times.”
This is because Silvaner does not exhibit bombastic flavors and aromas. Instead, it more subtly transmits the terroir in which it’s planted. It can achieve some downright haunting tropical fruit and spice characteristics, but in the wrong hands (and wrong soil) it becomes mindlessly bland. A darling of the first half of the 20th Century, most plantings of Silvaner started giving way to the even more bland and even less characterful Muller-Thurgau.
In a way, Silvaner’s lack of popularity and its decreasing hectares of plantings is a watermark for the wine world’s current fascination (or infatuation, or totally mad and unhealthy obsession) with wines that explode out of the glass immediately and bitch-slap you with fruit and oak. Which is a shame really, because it would suck to lose Silvaner forever. Thank goodness therefore for Franken, where Silvaner is still taken seriously, and where it still produces interesting, refreshing wines that can help make inspired food pairings if you’re up to the challenge.
Once again, I’ve captured most of the twitter chatter from the Twitter Taste Live event (available below). I’ve also added my mini-take on the three Castell selections that we tried during the event. I’d recommend seeking out these somewhat-haunting wines. I fear that, given our current trends towards the bombastic, wines like these may one day end up haunting only our memories… or haunting the fields of Muller-Thurgau that once that they once called home…
Read the rest of this stuff »
Today, I’m closing the loop and following up on the contest to find the next German Wine Queen, who was officially crowned last week in a final gala event featuring the six finalists culled from Germany’s 13 wine regions. The winner was Sonja Christchurch from the Mosel, who is a recent business graduate and has a day job as a wine journalist (right on!).
It’s interesting to see what the Wine Queen contestants have to go through to get into the finals and then be chosen for the top 3 slots, which includes the following tests:
- A blind tasting
- Describing a wine region (presumably a German one) within 45 seconds (which can’t be easy using long German words that probably take 15 seconds each to pronounce)
- Identify six errors in a film about the Middle Rhine region (this one is my personal fave)
- Stand up to an 80-member jury of wine experts, politicians and journalists
80-member jury? Are you kidding me? Masters of Wine candidates don’t need to do something that difficult, for Pete’s sake…
Anyway, you can check out a (very roughly translated) summary of the event here.
Congrats to the Mosel, and to the new Queen. I may start a petition soon to implement the Wine Queen program in the U.S. In my spare time.