Dornfelder, Zellertaler Keller, Villa Golsen, Trocken Rheinhessen, Germany 2010

While Monday posts have been revisiting our travels in Germany, one grape missed mention: Dornfelder.

The Germans take science to vines with exacting passion.  August Herold created Dornfelder (named after his institute’s founder) in 1955, in Weinsberg (named after…well… grape city).  It is a crossing of many other crossings…deep breath: Helfensteiner (Frühburgunder/Pinot Noir Précoce × Trollinger/Schiava Grossa) and Heroldrebe (Blauer Portugieser × Blaufränkisch/Lemberger).

Dornfelder family tree german wine grapeClear? Me neither.  Maybe opening a bottle might help:

Zellertaler Keller, Villa Golsen, Dornfelder (grape), Trocken, Rheinhessen, Germany 2010 (drunk 2012). Bio. €4.99

Villa Golsen Dornfelder TrockenAPPEARANCE: Clear, medium plus intense purple ruby.

AROMAS: Clean, developing, medium plus intense aromas of dark wild-berry mix, marzipan, all spice, a hint of wild fox musk (brett wild yeast), and vanilla.

PALATE: Dry, medium plus acid, round medium tannins, medium alcohol 12%, medium body.

FLAVORS: Medium intense flavors of wild-berries, orange peel, vanilla, and all spice that last a medium length.

CONCLUSIONS: Villa Golsen’s Dornfelder is a good quality red (3 of 5). Dornfelder’s whole goal is to be a robust red that can survive Germany’s horrid, cold climates.  Today, Dornfelder is Germany’s second-most planted red grape. It may not be Australian Shiraz, but it tastes and feels round and fruity enough to give Germany a red worth drinking.

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Hello Berlin: Communists, Trollinger Red Wine, and Sparkling Riesling in Germany: Day 155

Finally! Wayward Wine’s mad dash across Europe’s wineries, distilleries, and breweries has landed in Berlin for Christmas (even though I write this in May…erm Happy Memorial Day?).  Our sanity, our marriage, and our livers have been tested.  11 countries have flashed by in 155 days.

EU map New York to Berlin Day 154With Christstollen packed, we leave Dresden on a slow train full of travelers to Berlin for the holiday. My wife booked our hostel a month prior: where better to celebrate the birth of Christ and Santa-based capitalism rather than in the former Communist East German DDR?

East Berlin DDRSo of course, first thing, we go shopping for beer and wine.

The grape Trollinger (luckily not made with trolls) makes up that of: Graf Adelmann, trollinger, G, Trocken in Holfass Gereift, “Brüssele” Schlossabfüllung, Württemberg, Germany 2009. €9.90

Graf Adelmann Trollinger Wine GermanyAppearance: looks a clear, pale ruby. Aromas: smell developing and moderately of raspberry, grapefruit, mint, fresh tobacco, and cream. Palate: feels dry, with pronounced prickly acid, medium minus tannin, medium alc 12%, and a medium body. Flavors: taste notable with red apple, grapefruit, clove spice, and a medium length, mineral, leafy finish.

Graf Adelmann’s Trollinger “G” ain’t no troll.  It is zippy, mineral, and lean, more athletic and jovial like a Hobbit than a curmudgeon under a bridge.  It is a good (3 of 5) and inexpensive daily red that tastes like the varietal: nothing more nor less.

Our day out visits the DDR Museum: a hodge-podge nostalgia capsule of Communist Berlin. The highlight is getting to luxuriate in the (in)famous Trabbant:

Trabant Berlin DDRDDR’s people’s car, this magic two stroke machine was made for nearly a half century. That fabulous shell consists of recycled cotton and resin: futuristic.  Exhibits include a typical ’80s living room with extravagant, aspirational color television:

DDR Living RoomAfter a few hours learning about communal bathrooms, obsessive Stasi spies, and rationing, we head out into the snow and tour Berlin.

Tracy and DDR love East BerlinFood at the Christmas markets keep us going and we visit Checkpoint Charlie, where tensions heightened as East Berlin limited most border crossings:

Checkpoint Charlie BerlinAlready tired, we make the mistake of visiting a Topography of Terror exhibit. It documents, entirely via over a hundred verbose placards, Nazi Germany’s slow build toward genocide.

We need a drink.

Before we dive into beer, allow me to banging the drum for German sparkling wine one last time.

Vaux Brut Germany€10.00 can buy you the vintage Brut from Schloss Vaux, Cuvée Vaux Brut, Eltville, Germany, 2009. How awesome is that???

Appearance: looks a clear, mild lemon color with medium sized, rapid fizz. Aromas: smell youthful and moderately of of peach, lime, honey, and flint.  Palate: feels off dry, with brittle, medium plus acidity, mild 12% alcohol, that create a medium body. Flavors: taste pretty intensely of lime juice, peach, flint, and salt that mellow into a medium length, honeyed finish.

Vaux Brut is good (3 of 5), bright and refreshing bubbly. If that other cold climate, Champagne, can make vervy fizz, Germany is a fantastic alternative.

We pop over to Potsdam and try beer next EU Austerity Drinking Tour Monday. Check it!

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Meissen, Wackerbarth Wine, and the Terraced Vineyards in Saxony, Germany

This Monday’s EU Austerity Drinking Tour day-trips from Dresden to Meissen.

Our train winds along the Elbe river.  We pass vineyards, which cling desperately to steep terraces fanning South-facing hills.

Meissen VineyardsThis is the rarely heard of Saxony (Saxe) wine region: one of the EU’s smallest, Germany’s driest, and packed with 3,000 growers that hardly export their goldriesling, a rare clone of riesling.

Wine Regions GermanyBut since it is still early, a long walk takes us into the town of Meissen.  We run right into Albrechtsburg; Meissen Castle

Narrow cobbled streets pull us up hills and we even find an urban, historic vineyard:

We tumble into a lower, slightly less picturesque, more industrial part of town and find the Meissen factory.  An audio guide tours us through the extremely tidy facility.

Tracy Meissen PotterHowever, hunger stops us. We eat our bread and cheese pack lunch on the curb outside. Fueled we return to the collection and then nearly buy the whole gift shop. But instead of burdening our bags with breakable finery, I suggest we dine at their cafe.  Drinking latte from a $270 coffee cup just tastes better.

Tracy Meissen LunchThe sun fades outside and we end up in town square at the hilltop, Christmas market swinging, church bells ringing, and children performing Christmas skits on stage.

Meissen Christmas PagentMeissen feels cozy, tight knit, almost pastoral in its small town charm. Christmas markets feel more like a community event than in all the big cities we visited previously.

Meissen ArcadeBut before we leave Meissen and Dresden, we need to try a wine from here.

Schloss Wackerbarth was one of those south-facing wineries our train passed, northwest of Dresden.  It is one of the oldest continuously run wineries in Europe dating back to 1622.  This is their entry riesling, named after the heavily restored Frauenkirche in Dresden.

Schloss Wackerbarth, Riesling QbA, Sachsen, Radebeul, Germany 2011. €15

Schloss Wackerbarth Riesling QbA Sachsen Radebeul Germany 2011Appearance: Wackerbarth looks a clear, pale lemon.

Aromas: smell clean, youthful and powerfully of lime, white flowers, and wet slate.

Palate: feels off dry, with medium plus acidity, mild alcohol 11.5%, a medium body, and prickly texture that yet features a soft core.

Flavors: taste strongly of kiwi, white peach, and pear, all tightened by the slate mineral finish that lasts a medium plus length.

Conclusions: Wackerbarth Riesling is very good (4 of 5). I probably won’t get to try many wines from Saxony ever again. However, this example is stellar and astoundingly refreshing.  Thank you, Meissen.

Meissen Castle Tracy AaronNext Monday: Christmas in Berlin.


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Kerouac and Carmenere

Kerouac Carmenere lapostolle Dharma Bums sit and slide into silent reverie on a Saturday night.

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Just Another Glass


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