So it had been well over 20 years since I had visited Europe last - the Berlin Wall was still up if that offers a time line for you. I was a young man - new to the ways of the world and wine was probably the last thing on my mind. so let's fast forward many years, add a daily regime that consists of shaving my face, add a beautiful wife and 2 great children. Recently my folks moved over to Germany, as does my sister and her family all associated with the military - so they are all experiencing many places I did - but also having new adventures of their own. It made sense to pack my family up and head over to visit all of them over Christmas. I will come back to this.
My job often entails business dinners with either upper levels of our organization or certain clients that place us in settings that would frown upon ordering a beer, I would liken it to asking for seconds at communion, probably won't get you kicked out, just isn't the norm. so as a result of trying things new, curiosity and a wee bit of peer pressure - I finally started trying some various wines. There are some reds I like and some whites, but not all.
So, back to Germany - my wife and children had never been away from North America, so this was a huge adventure for them as well as for me because now I was able to share some of the locations that I had always told them about. My wife and I early on in the trip decided to try and grab a bottle of wine from each country that we would visit while on the trip. since we were allowed 2 a piece to bring back into Canada and our trip would involve 4 countries - the math and opportunity seemed just.
Our first trip was a overnight excursion for my wife and I, we left the kids with mom and dad in Germany and hopped on the ICE train to Paris. Even though we live in Canada, we are from the USA so we never took French growing up - so this would become a minor challenge in selecting a wine - we did absolutely no research on good wines from the region - lucked out and had a nice wine shop near our lodging with a shopkeep that spoke decent english and was able to steer us towards some local recommendations (ever wonder why Americans get a bad name in Paris?) - he was quite patient and very helpful. We settled in on a bottle of "Moulin de Duhart - Domaines Barons De Rothschild (Lafite) 2007 Pauillac. We are saving this one for a special occasion to remind us of our excellent visit to Paris.
While in Luxenburg, we did not fare so well and we laugh at our purchase. Since Luxenburg was not a main place for us to stop on the trip, we were passing through on our way to Belgium, we stopped at a large truck stop - this truckstop was like a mini mall complete with a large selection of wine - not knowing where else to go, we went ahead and found a local wine "Domaines Vinsmoselle Rivaner Cotes de Remich 2009" so we always laugh that we bought a bottle of wine at the gas station in Luxenburg.
We totally messed up in Belgium and forgot to buy a bottle - so we ended up getting 2 bottles of German wine instead. The first is a "Weingut am Rosenberg Mosel 2007 Osanner Rosenberg Riesling-Hochgewachs" which we have not uncorked yet and the other we did which was EXCELLENT as I am a big fan of Rieslings - this bottle was "Hessische Staatsweinguter Kloster Eberbach 2008 Riesling Classic" - this was the wine I was seeking when I stumbled upon this website.
So all-in-all, this was a great trip, got to try some great Mosel Valley wines while we were there - all of our bottles arrived with our bags unbroken and unscathed. Now I am looking for an excuse to go back and grab some more.
If anybody knows about the two bottles above I listed that we haven't opened - I would be interested to get some prior impressions.
Europe...1 Country = 1 Bottle of Wine
- Reply by EMark, Sep 4, 2011.
I really enjoy your storytelling. This posting and your others by you that I have seen are very entertaining and interesting.
Your Luxembourg episode about the truckstop wine purchase reminds me about the excitement that a friend of mine had when he discovered a winery in an auto shop in San Luis Obispo, CA.
He subsequently took me to this winery (Cerro Caliente), and they, in fact have some reasonably good wines. To say that they are in an auto repair shop is a little bit of a stretch. They are in a location that is roughly equivalent to a strip mall, and the winery owner does also run the auto shop in the next unit.
Don't judge a book. . . .
- Reply by dmcker, Sep 4, 2011.
Can't say I've ever had wine I knew was from Luxembourg or Belgium. Too many bottles I've yet to try from France and Germany and other parts of Europe south and east to focus on those two--though definitely have had plenty of beer from Belgium! Will be interested to hear how your truckstop find tastes.
I haven't had the Osanner Rosenberg before, but I have had some Kloster Eberbach wines before. It's actually a Rhein wine, not Mosel. The abbey (Kloster or cloister) had the largest vineyards in medieval Europe. The 'Hessische Staatsweinguter' means the state of Hesse now owns and operates the vineyards. I've had Kabinetts and Spatleses and Ausleses and Beerenausleses and Trocken Beerenausleses, but not their Qba that I can remember, and more often than not I've had their Steinberger offerings. I can remember gunflint, minerality, good acid and balance, certainly petrol with age, though even from the Spatlese class they tend to run sweeter than some, heading in the dessert direction. Have almost never not enjoyed a bottle of theirs, especially with older vintages. Auslese I'll definitely consider a dessert wine, though Spatlese can go well with proper pork and other preparations.
Don't know what that 'Classic' label at the end means. I've found the Steinberger wines these days not as good as I remember from vintages in the '50s through '70s, but I'm also not drinking as much of them as I was doing in the '70s and '80s, so maybe I'm catching the poorer ones these days. I'm thinking that if the 'classic' does not mean at least Kabinett or better, and instead is a Qba, you should drink it soon. They don't tend to last anywhere near as long, and won't benefit from laying down.