Riesling from Traben-Trarbach… and words fail me!

Was du heute kannst entkorken,
das verschiebe nicht auf morgen!

Never put off till tomorrow
what you can uncork today!

There is a wine region defined by a snake-like river – dark and shiny – twisting through deep green forest and fresh green vineyards. The houses of a little, picturesque town remind partly of Alsace and Southern Germany for they tend to be half-timbered, and partly of Britain for their charming greyish or brownish stone.

IMG_0389This romantic description refers to the valley of Moselle, in German Mosel, after which the wine region is named. Mosel, possibly the best known (and still too little!) German wine region, stretches from the border with Luxembourg to the city of Koblenz, where Moselle flows into the Rhine.

In the old town of Traben-Trarbach – once a thriving wine commerce hub – I’ve discovered the wines of Martin Müllen. He’s numbered among the best winemakers in the region and as a matter of fact he made it to the great World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson, though he barely spends time for all that networking and marketing stuff one could perceive as necessary for a successful winemaker. The quality speaks for itself.

IMG_0460Here, like in many other parts of Germany, the dominating variety is Riesling, which once ennobled the local wine making. Up to the end of 19th century, some of the Mosel Rieslings enjoyed fame comparable with celebrated Bordeaux reds. The two devastating World Wars and following developments resulted in a decline in quality and so Germany started to be associated with easy-going semi-sweet whites like Blue Nun. From the 1980s on, this has almost ruined its reputation as consumer preferences shifted. Since then the quality dramatically improved and the valley of Mosel offers us again some of the most splendid white wines in the world. Though, prices remain relatively low and a great value for money is what results from this – surely not long lasting – situation.

Mr. Müllen was among those young winemakers who tried to reverse that degrading development and regain the old good reputation for the Mosel wines. He has been even called a ‘fundamentalist’ for his attempts to bring terroir-driven wines back to the region. In his winery, gentle more than hundred-year-old presses ensure that grapes have an opportunity to express their true character, and they are given lots of time to do that. As little technical intervention as possible is Mr. Müllen’s principle. Furthermore, for a decade, he has also helped to preserve the steep slopes of Traben-Trarbach, a unique cultural heritage but also a telling example of biodiversity uniting wild and cultivated species.

IMG_0354Last summer, I had an opportunity to try several of Martin Müllen’s wines and, dear me, there was not even one I disliked or found mediocre. It is also incredible what a great aging potential Riesling might have! I fell for 2008 Trarbacher Hühnerberg Riesling’s charm, a dry masterpiece of a lovely opulence, balanced acidity and light black currant notes (!), which are going to become more intense with time. Unforgettable were all Late Harvest wines (German: Spätlese): the 2012 Kröver Paradies, which was defined as fruchtsüß, that is fruity-sweet, and elegantly united the delicate sweetness with freshness; the 2012 Trarbacher Hühnerberg Riesling Spätlese – a feinherb (≈ off-dry) creation reminding of candy and matching red meat or game, a result of long pressing process (decent tannins from skins) and maturation in wood; and the 2005 Trabener Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese – another masterpiece uniting sweetness and acidity, containing distinct black currant notes, so seductive! The last Late Harvest beauty was the feinherb 2011 Kröver Letterlay Riesling Spätlese, which proved to be truly vigorous and as such was paired with roe venison goulash and spätzle with Mirabelle plums. The long degustation (I have not named even a half of the wines) finished with 2003 Kröver Paradies Riesling Auslese “Abbi,” served together with plum strudel. The 2003 vintage offered at the Mosel overripe grapes, which produced wine perfect for long aging. This one was creamy, dominated by the aroma of ripe strawberries, and manifested smart noble rot character.

Traben-Trarbach was where I have heard for the first time a twisted version of an old German proverb: Was du heute kannst besorgen, das verschiebe nicht auf morgen (Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today) with the verb uncork in exchange for do: Was du heute kannst entkorken, das verschiebe nicht auf morgen (Never put off till tomorrow what you can uncork today). Dear wine-lovers, following these wise words: cheers!

Xinomavro, 2010 Single Vineyard ‘Hedgehog’, Alpha Estate, Amyndeon, Greece

After Malagousia, Xinomavro (Greek Ξινόμαυρο) is another autochthonous Greek grape variety that I would like to present. Its very name means literally “sour black” – “mavro” standing for black, exactly like in the name of another Greek variety: Mavrodaphne (Greek Μαυροδάφνη), meaning “black laurel”. Dark as it might be, the perception of colors in the Hellenic culture generally leaves much to be desired. In the “Odyssey,” Homer described sea as wine-dark. In fact, there is no term for blue in the ancient Greek (neither in some further languages). IMG_1485Black like the Aegean Sea or not, Xinomavro, especially when young, might surely appear to many palates as too acidic. At the same time, the high acidity and tannins, combined with phenolic opulence, give it both great structure and potential for aging. Unlike in the case of its charming Malagousia, Alpha Estate uses the Appellation of Superior Quality, or Ονομασίας Προελεύσεως Ανωτέρας Ποιότητος (ΟΠΑΠ), for its “sour black” wine. The appellation of Amyndeon (also Amyndeo or Amyntaio) was created in 1971 for wines from the Xinomavro grape: whether red, rose or sparkling. In order to qualify, red must content at least 85% Xinomavro. To soften this somehow wild variety, Merlot is often used, but many purists consider it a sacrilege to dilute their noble “sour black,” and also Alpha Estate seems to share this point of view. In my glass, I found wine of purple color, with beautiful deep-violet reflexes, and of that blood-like acidity I have already loved so much in Terran and Refosco. Surely a wine of complex aromas, its bouquet of red berries, leather and spices was unfolding, with vegetal notes bringing to mind ripe black olives. Balanced, although at this age still with austere traits, not too alcoholic (13,5% ABV), and with long charming aftertaste, this wine showed the same imperialist tendencies as its compatriot, Alexander the Great – it takes possession of you.

Malagousia, 2013 Single Vineyard, by Alpha Estate, Florina, Greece

Let us drink, then/And/perhaps we’ll
find/something new/in our wine
(…) I hate an empty life/empty of wine.
[Hedylus, Let Us Drink]

Greece surely is a good place to start one’s wine education or just to follow a little bit Aristippus of Cyrene in his hedonist ethics and enjoy local food and wine. Although wine production is older than written history and as such certainly older than Greek civilization, Europeans see the roots of their wine culture in the ancient Greece. After all, they love tracing all possible aspects of their culture back to the ancients. But those who spread wine growing and wine making in the whole Mediterranean were indeed Greeks and Phoenicians. Hellenic poets and philosophers have amply documented great wines of their time, even though probably none of those would have ever gotten a decent score in modern tasting, mixed with honey, spices or seawater as they were.

The ancients truly hated “an empty life/empty of wine,” as Hedylus wrote in the third century B.C. Still, when the modern world of wine started in the 1960s, Greece was basically non-existent on the wine maps. Like many traditional wine producing countries it needed more time to reinvent itself in the premium wine market. Several centuries in the Ottoman Empire, with Muslim culture as the dominating one, haven’t helped either – a considerable part of contemporary Greek territory remained in the Ottoman hands until 1913.

Fortunately, everything changes, as Mercedes Sosa sang. As vineyards are mushrooming just everywhere around the world, many old wine regions in Europe experience a revival: from Poland and Eastern part of Germany through the Balkans up to Greece and Turkey.

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Malagousia (Greek Μαλαγουζιά) from Alpha Estate is the first Greek wine I’m writing about. It’s made from a eponymous white autochthonous grape variety, originating in the region of Nafpaktos (Ναύπακτος, known rather by its Italian name Lepanto) in western Greece. The variety was virtually extinct until Domaine Carras in the late 20th century began to cultivate it for its varietals.

Although it is found mainly in Greek Macedonia, some wineries started to cultivate it also in Attica and the Peloponnese. Its aromatic grapes have potential to give soft elegant and full-bodied wines of medium acidity, with aromas of exotic fruits, citrus, jasmine or even mint. Yannis Voyatzis, the chief enologist at Boutari Wines, called Malagousia the next Riesling.

Alpha Estate is located in the Florina region, in the northwest part of Greece. Parts of this area, the Amyndeon (also Amyndeo or Amyntaio) region, enjoy an ΟΠΑΠ status, which stands in the Greek appellation system for ‘Wines with Appellation of Superior Quality’ (Ονομασίας Προελεύσεως Ανωτέρας Ποιότητος) and as such for the highest quality. However this doesn’t apply to white wines, which need to be labeled as ‘country wine,’ regardless their quality.

IMG_1474The 2013 Single Vineyard Malagousia in my glass first exploded with citrus and apple aromas and indeed I was expecting to taste something like a ‘feinherb’ Riesling. But soon notes of tropical fruits, particularly pineapple, arrived and I could taste a strong (13% ABV) chunky wine, perfect for summer evenings but rather far in character from a usual German Riesling. As the wine was opening up, there was more and more jasmine scent in it and here you go, a perfect evening at the Mediterranean Sea. This Malagousia fully expresses the climate it was born in – such an opulent but elegant white wine brings gustative memories rather from Central Italy than from the North of Europe.

But I guess that Voyatzis meant rather the potential of this variety to conquer wine lovers’ hearts as Riesling has been doing it for years. Here, I agree. Malagousia might be indeed the next ‘Riesling’, or to find a comparison from the world of successful local varieties on a smaller scale: an Istrian Malvazia or an Albariño of Greece.

Papa dei Boschi – a nougat crème of superior quality

Italy is home to rich culinary traditions and Piedmont might be – along with Tuscany – this corner of the country where wine and food are best. The region happened also to be among the finest chocolate producers, although an average consumer might think first of Belgium and Switzerland. Though, it is where Nutella comes from!

The first cocoa beans arrived to Piedmont from Spain as early as in the 16th century. The maestri cioccolatieri of Turin had been tempting the locals with their splendid creations for centuries, until a need led to an invention of something completely new. At the beginning of the 19th century, when a large part of Europe was under French occupation, Napoleon forbade the import of cocoa beans to Italy. The carnival was starting and Turin remained with way too little cocoa to produce enough chocolate. The maestri cioccolatieri couldn’t help but extend their product. Fortunately they decided to do it with a noble ingredient, which one can still find in Piedmont in abundance: hazelnuts. Nowadays, the Piedmontese hazelnuts enjoy even an I.G.P. status (indicazione geografica protetta = protected geographical indication) and are considered the best ones in Europe. The invented product was called gianduia, after Gianduja, which is one of the masks in the Italian Commedia dell’Arte and traditionally represents Turin and Piedmont in general. In Germany, where I live, gianduia is usually called nougat, which might lead to confusion with white nougat (torrone, turrón).

photo 1

As many inventions of times of crisis, gianduia becomes a specialty. In 1852, the ‘Caffarel’ company invents small pralines, in form of triangular prisms, called gianduiotti – still an unchallengeable souvenir from Turin. ‘Caffarel’ continues to prosper, although sold to the Swiss – the recipe has allegedly never changed. Nutella is basically a gianduia spread and its name before entering the international market was Pasta Giandujot.

Considering the quality of many chocolate-hazelnut spreads, I believed Nutella to be superior to all its peers. And as a matter of fact, for being an industrial product, it truly is an awesome treat.

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Though, there is an artisan version of gianduia crème too. I have discovered it during the biggest cheese festival worldwide – the Slow Food ‘Cheese’ in Bra, organized every second year. And bless my soul, I have never eaten anything better! This crème is more liquid than Nutella, but is produced without any fats added. Its creaminess is all-natural and derives from hazelnuts, exclusively the Piedmont’s I.G.P. hazelnuts 🙂 The family uses cocoa from Central and South America. What’s more, there is not a single preservative or flavor added. There is real Bourbon vanilla inside – such a rare thing nowadays!

As I tried it for the first time, I had to define this product for myself and I described it as a noble Nutella… While the latter contains 13% of hazelnuts, Crema di Nocciole by ‘Papa dei Boschi’ has no less than 55% (!). All ingredients are organic, so every Slow Food fan or other gourmet can only close her eyes and enjoy, enjoy… enjoy!

All about Sangiovese

“Bevete il Sangiovese, quello scuro
d’anni ne camperete centomila
fa bene alla salute, e v’assicuro
fa far l’amore dieci volte in fila.”

“Drink Sangiovese, the dark one / you’ll live hundred thousand years / it’s good for health, and I assure you / you’ll be able to make love ten times in a row.” This is how Roberto Benigni finishes his poem “To Sangiovese.” He goes even further… he claims in his humorous poetry that, compared to Sangiovese, even Champagne becomes a vulgar chamomile tea. No doubts, Tuscans are famous for their ironic sense of humor.

Sangiovese is among the noblest autochthonous grape varieties in Italy and most probably doesn’t even need this kind of promotion.  The variety is widely associated with Tuscany, being the main component of Chianti. Indeed, the geographical origins of the variety are in Central Italy, in the regions of Tuscany, Marche, Umbria and Romagna, and it is where its vines still flourish.

Chianti in the typical 'fiasco' bottle

Chianti in the typical ‘fiasco’ bottle

In fact, Sangiovese is the most cultivated red variety in Italy, occupying 11% of all vineyards. There are 90,000 ha of DOC vineyards planted with it, of which 40,000 ha are in Tuscany, and 6,000 ha in Romagna. More than 100 DOCs allow this variety. Several of them are famous DOCGs like, for example, Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Carmignano, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.

Some authors claim Sangiovese to be known already to the Etruscan winegrowers, way before the Romans even started to think of an empire. Maybe ‘l’Ombra della sera’ (Shadow of the Evening) – one of the most beautiful artifacts preserved from the antiquity – was a votive statue buried in a vineyard with Sangiovese plants? The Etruscan name got however lost, the current one being derived from Latin ‘sanguis Jovis’ – the blood of Jupiter.

a smaller copy of the "Shadow of the Evening" and one of my favorite Sangiovese

a smaller copy of the “Shadow of the Evening” and one of my favorite Sangiovese wines

It might be the richness of synonyms, which sometimes leads to underestimating the role of Sangiovese in the Italian wine production. There are more than thirty names for this grape, some being the exact synonyms, others denominating subvatieties. There is Morellino di Scansano (Maremma), Brunello (Montalcino), Prugnolo Gentile (Montepulciano), Sangiovese Romagnolo (called also Nostrano or Sangiovese del Cannello Lungo), Nieluccio (Corsica), and many more.

The spectrum of aromas it may develop depending on terroir is spectacular. It usually has a great potential for aging too. And as for pairings, Tonino Guerra, an Italian poet and screenwriter, said that “Sangiovese is good with everything, just like the high-class prostitutes.” Have I mentioned yet, that Romagnoli (people from the region of Romagna) are famous for their humor too? 🙂

another good Sangiovese

another good Sangiovese

Negotin region – wine in ancient stone cellars

Since there are some fine wines from this area, the name of Negotin has already appeared on my blog several times. Today I want to write more on the region, which is among the best in Serbia.

Find on the map the point, where Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria meet and you’ll see what area we are talking about. Negotin is situated close to the place where the Timok river joins the waters of Danube. The valley of the former river is planted with vineyards since centuries. Its picturesque character stays in contrast to the town of Negotin itself, founded on a perfectly flat terrain. The town is known rather for its music festival called ‘The Days of Mokranjac,’ or in the graceful Serbian ‘Mokranjčevi dani.’ The Negotin-born Stevan Stojanović Mokranjac is probably the best-known Serbian composer, mostly of the choral music.

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Aldo at the house and monument of S. Mokranjac.

But for the wine lovers the most important name is Rajac, which is merely a small village, some 25 km from Negotin. In the Serbian appellation system, which is still in its introductory phase, the area we are talking about is called ‘Krajinski podrejon,’ that is the subregion of Krajina or Borderland, and makes part of the ‘Timočki rejon’ or Timok river region. One can hear also the term ‘Timočka krajina,’ as the whole valley of Timok is a borderland.

There are several autochthonous grape varieties in the region, mostly very rare. Only in the recent years, some of them have been rediscovered and new exciting wines are gradually entering the market. Noteworthy are Bagrina and Black Tamjanika. The former smells like the flowers of robinia (Robinia pseudoacacia) and thus is called after them, ‘bagrem’ being their Serbian name. The latter gives wines rich in extract, low in acidity, with an intense aroma of different berries. A glass of this specialty is perfect to finish a meal.

a stone cellar in Rajac

a stone cellar in Rajac

My Italian friend Aldo and I arrived in Negotin from Belgrade by bus. It was the very end of April – Serbian hills and mountains drowned in fresh green of young leaves and intense colors of blossom: from white of late fruit trees to purple of lilac. At the market square we had our Turkish coffee, called also Serbian or domestic (Serbian: domaća kafa), and two huge doughnuts.

Safe from low blood sugar, we took the small local train heading for Rajac. Just two cars, a friendly, relaxed conductor from whom one can also buy a ticket, and people returning to their villages, engaged in discussions, about inevitably better past, hard present, and unsure future. After several kilometers the first hills spring up from the plain. They become higher, covered with broadleaf forest, orchards and vineyards. In the valley, fields were mostly brown – intensely from freshly ploughed soil, or greyish from last-year weed stalks if abandoned. Air was scented with flowers and etheric oils released by the strong spring sun from the first leaves of aromatic herbs.

stone cellars in Rajac

stone cellars in Rajac

The train station in Rajac was abandoned and ruined. The village itself was once a rich wine-producing community and you can still admire the tasteful stone arches over the gates, quite Byzantine in their style. Now, many houses are empty and there are few young people left. Children of many wine-producing families moved to big cities and are little interested in the continuation of the great traditions of Rajac.

There are no hotels there and you can stay in private rooms – fortunately, I would add. In few days, we learned a lot about Serbian culture. We started every day with slatko and glass of water, coffee and a glass of rakija. Our host was a wine producer himself. He and his mother, an older charming lady with always smiling light blue eyes, booked for us dinners in a small inn uphill, where the ancient cellars are situated. The wine cellars are uninhabited stone buildings on the top of the hill, while their owners live in the village in the Timok valley. In the small inn of ‘Sveti Trifun’ (Saint Tryphon, the patron saint of winegrowers), my Italian friend could try all traditional Serbian products as for the dinner the owner filled our table with different bread types: pogača, proja, kifle; with sudžuk sausage, pršuta ham, kajmak, ajvar, several type of cheese, and much more. From time to time, he or his wife appeared with small bowls of prebranac, a kind of bean stew, or veal soup (teleća čorba). All this was accompanied by homemade wine, rakija and brandy (vinjak).

the very first delicacies arrived, at 'Sveti Trifun'

the very first delicacies arrived, at ‘Sveti Trifun’

The cellars, in one of which is the inn, are still waiting to join the great family of UNESCO-protected cultural heritage objects. There is no doubt that they are unique – an old colony of houses, created for wine storing. Usually on weekends, the owners open the small cellars to visitors and you can go and try the wines. Only the wine brought out is to be paid, abundant degustation is free. Few stroll down the hill on their way back without singing, swaying, and cheerfully commenting the beauty of the nature they finally notice.

The wines are often rustic, a little bit old-fashioned; giving the idea how was wine before. There are also modern producers, notably the ‘Matalj winery’, already mentioned on my blog, and the ‘French winery’ (Francuska Vinarija) in Rogljevo, where a French family of Bongiraud discovered their perfect terroir. Interestingly, one of the varieties that give best results here is Gamay. The old autochthonous varieties need to be reintroduced, after the communist period when they were not supported by the government. The first wine growers return to Black Tamjanika, Bagrina, Prokupac, or Začinak. On the other side of the border, in Bulgaria, there is another Balkan variety gaining its popularity: Gamza, known to most of us under the name of Kadarka. In Serbia, this variety experiences its revival rather in the northern part of the country, in Vojvodina.

We returned to Belgrade with as much wine as we were able to carry. Do you need any other words of recommendation? 😉

Rieslings from the Reuscher-Haart estate on the Mosel

photo 2Although I live in Germany, for a long time our domestic Rieslings only rarely have been guests in my house. Rather I often tried those from Austria, Serbia, Czech Republic, France, and even Poland, with its first wine experiments since the World War II. There was no particular reason for this behavior, or maybe I was just not ready to appreciate the spectrum of expressive sweetness present in German Rieslings.

My conversion started with Oliver’s preaching. There are many beautifully written posts on Riesling on his blog: www.thewinegetter.com. He was even so courageous to challenge the German system of wine classifications, which is different from what we know from other countries, and to try to explain it. So, when he recommended me two wineries in the valley of Mosel, I immediately decided to fill the gap in my wine education and ordered a case from each estate. This post is about one of them: Reuscher-Haart.

Germany is Riesling’s homeland and it is here where the variety offers some wines of incomparable excellence and specificity. As a matter of fact, the very beauty of German Riesling is much about keeping the balance between sugar and acidity. When it’s done successfully, we obtain an exceptional product, when not, we can only grimace, for the result is a sweetish water or tart diluted vinegar. This may apply to all wines but I think that some of our terroirs carry this contrast to an extreme: from one of the best white wines in the world to the one that nobody wants to drink (think of Liebfraumilch).

photo 4From the six bottles I ordered from Reuscher-Haart, not all have been tried yet. Still, there is a wine I fell in love with and about which I’m going to write more: the 2012 Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Kabinett! If Piesport is a municipality in the Middle Mosel area, Goldtröpfchen is a site, which Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson consider to be one of the best for Riesling in the whole country. We might describe this wine as feinherb, which is basically medium-dry. This term is the same poetic as zartbitter, used for dark chocolate. They both were invented to describe fine differences in taste and both could be translated as ‘subtly tart’ or ‘gently bitter.’ You remember that it’s all about keeping the balance between sugar and acidity. Thus, the producers are looking for a way to express the dainty variations in the palette of ‘balances,’ which they create between the two sides of Riesling.

Generally, Riesling is enjoyed rather alone than paired with food, although there is nothing speaking against the latter. In the case of the Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Kabinett, I decided to pair it, though not with food. In ‘Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship,’ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote that ‘Every day one should at least hear one little song, read one good poem, see one fine painting and – if at all possible – speak a few sensible words.’ And one could add: drink a glass of good wine. I didn’t have an opportunity to see some fine painting, while drinking at home. Though I had to think about a good poem, which could describe the beauty in my glass and which one of the best German wine writers – Ursula Heinzelmann loves so much: the 13th among Rainer Maria Rilke’s ‘Sonnets to Orpheus:’

Fat apple, banana, pear
gooseberry. . . .all speak immanence
of death and life to the child there;
I sense it on his countenance

as he partakes. This comes from afar.
Does something you cannot relate
slowly traverse your own palate;
replacing speech with fiats from the jam jar?

Dare to declare a pear.
This sweetness, thick at first,
then to clarity reversed

awakens from the slumbering nectar
luminous twin significance
of sun and earth; presence and joy – immense!

(trans. Robert Hunter)

photo 5This invitation to pure enjoyment was also an invitation to contemplate pleasure, joy and the very moment of drinking ‘this sun in a glass.’ So I felt the need to listen to a song, a beautiful song in Hebrew ‘A man inside himself’ (‘Adam Betoch Azmo Hu Gar’), by Shalom Hanoch, for which I have a working translation from my friend Kate:

A man lives inside himself
Lives inside himself.
Sometimes he is sad or bitter,
Sometimes he sings,
Sometimes he opens the door
To receive an acquaintance
But
But mostly,
A man is closed inside himself.

A man lives inside himself
Lives inside himself.
Either in some stormy town
Or in some village
Sometimes a storm passes
And his house breaks
But
But mostly,
A man is stranger also to himself.

And you, and you
How good it is that you came,
Without you the house is empty
And the night is cold.
So I am guarding you
As much as possible,
And with all this,
Will I find you tomorrow?

A man is close to himself
A man lives inside himself.

(trans. Kate Sereda)

photo 1The rest of the evening was even more contemplative – the bottle was finished, while watching Krzysztof Kieślowski’s ‘Three Colors: Blue.’ All this may be a perfect pairing, at least à la Goethe, but how to describe this wine?… In my opinion, the name of the site speaks for itself. ‘Goldtröpfchen’ means ‘golden droplets’ and when I watched my glass it was exactly that! It is such a seducing wine that it literally disappears, which is not that dangerous considering its 8,5% of alcohol. There were those ripe rosy apples of my grandma inside, who knows of which of ancient Polish varieties. And then also some exotic fruits but don’t ask me which ones… papaya or honey melon? Passionate and intense as it was, the wine made my evening!

Ursula Heinzelmann wrote once about another Riesling from this site: ‘opulent creaminess in glass’ – that fits also Reuscher-Haart’s product. And then something completely unbelievable – bought directly from the producer, this wine costs only €5,50 ($7,30). Even the term ‘good value for money’ is unsuitable in this case.

Also their ‘simple’ 2012 Piesporter Riesling in a 1-Liter bottle is a charming wine, which became star of the evening, when I paired it with Polish cheese specialties for my Italian friends.

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The 2012 Gutsriesling Trocken proved to be much less seductive, its sweetness less elegant. Then yesterday I had also a bottle of the 2011 Piesport Falkenberg Riesling Kabinett Trocken. Probably, spoiled by the fluid ‘feinherb’ gold, I couldn’t truly admire this wine, which is for sure a light and aromatic white, but appeared to me slightly rough around the edges.

All these wines fill me with gratitude to Mario Schwang for producing them, to Oliver Windgätter for telling me about them, and for my friends for sharing them with me! Cheers! 🙂