Wet auctions and Two Hands
I Mosel-ed, I Saar-ed, I Ruwer-ed: One AmericanÃ¢ï¿½ï¿½s Quest to Conquer GermanyÃ¢ï¿½ï¿½s Finest Wines at the Wet Auctions
The next morning, Stefan Pauly, always the consummate host, was kind enough to treat me to the traditional Mosel pretasting breakfast of bread and local red peaches which were quite tart, almost rhubarby. We thoughtfully packed the sweet St. Martins pretzels in the car for later, but alas the dog, obviously in possession of some secret knowledge, ate them. We began with the Bernkasteler ring auction in the little town of Wehelen with its famous sundial. It was the first and smallest of the four auctions, with the other three all run by the VDP, the big grower group with a name too long to spell out. One could look possibly at it as a warm-up as secondary to the VDP auctions, but the truth is in the bottle as I felt the quality of the wines was on par and often exceeded those of the Grosser ring (big auction) that was to follow the next day. As it took time to retaste each wine, the auctioneer told anecdotes and complemented the producer of the wine while we retasted. He hoisted an auction hammer of immensity I had never seen the likes of in London and New York auctions, that would have serviced proudly any Germanic war hero of bygone era. From the extensive list of auction wines on offer, a 2007 Wiltinger Braunfels from Peter Neu had coppery minerality and a perception of dryness with its high acidity and long finish that sold for only 10 Euros. Retasting the 2008 Kaseler Nies’chen Riesling Auslese, Alte Reben(old vines), made me jump and tap the commissioner to raise my bid to 30 Euros, which was double the opening bid; as its lovely sweetness was balanced by acid sharpened minerality giving it verve and swerve as it cut across the palate.