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.
With 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?
So 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
Appearance: 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:
DDR’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:
After a few hours learning about communal bathrooms, obsessive Stasi spies, and rationing, we head out into the snow and tour Berlin.
Food at the Christmas markets keep us going and we visit Checkpoint Charlie, where tensions heightened as East Berlin limited most border crossings:
Already 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.
€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!