2 of the best kept secrets of Europe

2 of the best kept secrets of Europe

The best thing about wine like food is that every new opportunity too try something new is a new conversation and a provides a whole new range of unique experiences and memories.

I remember when I visited the Alsace region of France for the first time and the wonderful small town of Colmar , I was struck by the beauty and simplicity of the region but at the same time the wonderful complexity that it also bought to me.

The Alsace is often seen as the poor cousin of the French wine industry as it has shared a very checkered past as  the region has traded hands between the Germans and the French for many years but please rest assured this is a very real part of France despite many of the very Germanic sounding towns in the region like Mullhouse.

My love affair with this region had begun and I was fortunate enough to Marc Tempe who is a well known wine merchant and master sommelier in Colmar as I was trying to track some Trimbach to try , he opened his eyes and between my poor attempts at utilising 6 years of high school French and his English we got by, why because we used the language of wine.

I am fortunate to be back in Colmar and the Alsace next week where I will visit Marc but also my new friends at Wolfberger Wines who are just outside Colmar and Adrien Etienne who is their Export Manager where he has assured me that I am in for a real treat both in what we will be  sampling and also experiencing which I am looking forward too- I will keep you posted.

If you have never tried the wines from this region then I would suggest that you give them strong consideration , unfortunately what we are currently seeing here in Australia is but a very small and very under represented slice of the great wines that the regions produce. My favourite of course are the riesling’s they are complex, have lots of wonderful fruit, stunning acidity and balance and present a wonderful wine that is both a great food wine and one that happily stands by itself. I know most people tend to think of the older styled Rhine Riesling’s but these like their German cousins close by in the Black Forest region are nothing like that.

Often when I drink these I get the taste of fresh limes, honey, floral- rose petals  (yet not sickly or over powering) and spice so I find that there is a lot going on , yet they finish and drink very dry and are simply mouth watering

But one should not stop there as  there are a number of great examples of Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and no Pinot Noir that are all worthy of investing in and trying, certainly we will be doing our part to bring to you a great election of these wines in the Spring as this style of wine goes so well with many of the foods we eat in the Spring and Summer especially seafood and our fruits.

So after having the opportunity to as my wife Kate said to ” swan around the vineyards of France in the name of business” I head a few miles across the boarder into Germany and the Baden-Baden ( Black Forest) to see what new wines can be found. The Baden-Baden region is one of the largest wine growing areas in Germany and one of its most southern so it has an amazing range of influences going on in the both the style of the wine that is being produced and how it is being produced.

German wines for many years have been defined by their Riesling production and I know many of our friends have had mixed fortune with these but I am glad to say that the region is now producing some simply stunning wines. The local favourite and another of  mine ( yes I have lots of these) is what the locals call their Spatburgunder which literally translates into ” late Burgundy” or as we know it better Pinot Noir. I remember trying my first pinot from this region when I was in Frankfurt at a softball carnival with my 2nd daughter and I remember being struck  then by the wonderful complexity and taste of the this bottle of wine, it has taken me a few years to circle back on these wines but I do not think that I will be disappointed.

The people of the region certainly support there wines and being one who loves useless facts has found that ” each citizen of the Baden-Baden region consumes an average of 58 bottles of wine per year” which is wonderful testament to the quality of the wine and the diversity of the wine in the region, I am not sure what our per capita consumption would be but I do know that the locals in many of our wine growing areas would not be as supportive.

Another interesting fact is when asked my Swiss friends who are really knowledgable when it comes to the subject of wine and have cellars to die for as well say that the German Spatburgunders are some of the best examples of pinot style wines in the world, now I take that as a pretty good recommendation.

I have been fortunate to have been invited to spend time with a few of the leading wine makers in the region which I am really excited about. I will be catching up with the CEO of Baden-Badener Wines Thomas Goth, Markus Mleinek the Cellar Master at Weinhaus Heger and finally and Arne Bercher from Weingut Bercher, these 3 wine makers represent some of the best in the region and have been highly recommended and awarded over recent times so I am very excited to meet with them personally and to sample their wonderful wines- I will keep you posted on this as I travel.

I am fortunate enough to be able to follow my dreams and my passion and I would love to be able to share this is in some small way and at the same time let you experiences wines and tastes that you may have never had the opportunity to do so.

I will keep you posted as I travel through Switzerland, France and Germany next week as I conduct my whistle stop tour of the region…..lots more to share and to tell you about , have a great day and happy drinking.




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