Video – Masterclass on the terroir of the Mosel, amongst the vines with Ernie Loosen

Aug 27, 12 Video – Masterclass on the terroir of the Mosel, amongst the vines with Ernie Loosen

Posted by in German wine, Travel, Videos

I had the pleasure of visiting Ernie Loosen earlier this summer in the Mosel Valley. We roamed around the Dr. Loosen grand cru vineyards on the slopes of the Mosel while Ernie proceeded to give a masterclass on the soils of the his and his neighbours vineyards. It was a fascinating and very informative morning. Afterwards we got to try his wines, from the entry level up to the Erdener Pralat. The previous evening we’d had some Pralat from the 80’s – fantastic whether young or old. So, without further ado, I will let Ernie do the talking about the amazing soils of the Mosel and the wines that are the result…. *warning, this video is for terroir geeks Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Johannes Leitz makes lunch at home in Rudesheim (oh, yeah and we get to try his 2011 rieslings)

Aug 08, 12 Johannes Leitz makes lunch at home in Rudesheim (oh, yeah and we get to try his 2011 rieslings)

Posted by in Food and Wine, German wine, Travel

Johannes Leitz ebulliently came out to greet us as we pulled up to the family home in the town of Rudesheim am Rhein, with lots of smiles and handshakes, he ushered us into the open kitchen/den where we were to have our winetasting. But first, lunch… I was a bit surprised when Johannes disappeared and then reappeared with salad ingredients and began to prepare our lunch. I’ve never had a winemaker make lunch right in front of my eyes but Johannes is a man of many talents. A bright, fresh and surprising white asparagus and strawberry salad with citrus dressing was an amazing combination of flavours – I was a bit dubious but it was an explosion of flavour. That was followed with a Thai coconut curry soup with prawn paired with the 2009 Rudesheimer Burg Rottland spatlese. The sweetness of the soup was countered by the acidity and balance of the wine, a great match. It’s commonly asserted that riesling goes well with Asian food and this was a prime example of the cuisine and wine working together. But wait, there was more! Johannes brought out a rack of lamb with potato dauphinoise. Johannes gave us 2 wines to pair with that –2011 Rudesheimer Berg Schlossberg and the 2010 Rudesheimer Drachenstein Auslese. Johannes believes his wines are all about the terroir and the land certainly comes through in these wines. You can almost taste the stones while you drink the wine, beautifully structured, deep and intense with excellent minerality. Johannes told us a bit of the vineyard history over lunch. The Leitz family has been making wine since at least 1744 but it wasn’t until after WW II that his grandfather rebuilt the winery. Johannes’ father took over the winery later but died suddenly in 1966, leaving the vineyard to his wife who had her hands full with a flowershop, family and vineyard to run. It wasn’t until 1985 that Johannes took over the winery and began to rebuild it. Since then, he...

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Seafood and wine workshops at the Andaz Hotel

Oct 10, 11 Seafood and wine workshops at the Andaz Hotel

Posted by in Food and Wine, Hotels and Spas

7am on a Saturday morning is not the usual start time for events I attend, 7pm is more like it, but since Billingsgate market is only open early mornings, I had no choice but to be up at the crack of dawn to get down to the market for the new series the “Andaz Liverpool Street Seafood Workshops” in conjunction with Head Chef Martin Scholz of Catch Restaurant (part of the Andaz Hotel) is launching during the London Restaurant Festival. Catch’s Head Chef, Martin Scholz met us at the Billingsgate market and gave us a tour round, meeting suppliers, showing us the different species of fish the market sells and showing us how to select seafood as well as shop sustainably. The market was winding down but the time we got there (8am) but Saturday the market is open to regular punters and there was still plenty of people around and fish to buy. I’d never been to such a big fish market and it was eye-opening to see fish as something other than fillets. Frankly, they are not the cuddliest animals around. After our tour we headed back to the Andaz Hotel for our seafood cookery class in the Andaz Studio, a private dining room/workspace where we would be helping out Chef Martin and his assistant chef, Gavin. The space is great as it has an open plan kitchen at one end where guests can either watch the chefs at work or roll up their sleeves and pitch in. We got to slicing and dicing the ingredients for our lunch. Chef Martin was great, funny and friendly but a consummate professional at the same time. Cooking with the chef was not only fun but also educational as Martin had lots of little hints and tips. It took a few hours to get lunch ready but it was well worth the wait. A light and delectable bouillabaise to start, arctic cod with chorizo risotto and olive tapenade stuffed squid for the main followed by...

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Wurttemberg – red wines of Southern Germany

When I think of German wines, I think of their delectable rieslings. Be they kabinnett or trockenbeerenauslese, whenever I think of German wines, my mind goes immediately to the striking white wines of the Mosel and the Pfalz. But did you know that Germany also does red wines? And have done for centuries? I have written a fair amount on German reds but mostly as anomalies that stood out from the white wine crowd. They were,to those outside of Germany, obscure wines from small producers who wanted to show what Germany could do with syrah or pinot noir. Well, I learned that riesling is not the only wine that Germany grows on my recent trip to Wurttemberg ( with the German Wine Institute), a wine growing region in the south of the country, where they have been growing and making red wines for centuries. If you’ve never heard of trollinger, lemberger, heroldreb, fruhburgunder or schwarzriesling, join the club. The most comprehensive tasting we had was of the wines of the Collegium Wirtemberg, a co-op of local growers just outside of Stuttgart, they are one of the biggest and after tramping up a rather large hill, we got a lovely view of the surrounding vine covered hills and a taste of their Cuvee blanc sparkling wine before heading to the main winery/tasting room downhill. Trollinger is probably the wine they are most proud of and it has been called the “national drink of Wurttemberg”. A light and fruity wine with a bite to it, it reminded me, when done right, of a Beaujolais cru. Other times, it was a rather rustic wine but Collegium Wirtemberg managed to produce a lovely little wine, perfect for a sunny afternoon amongst the vines. More substantial wines they produced came from the lemberger, St. Laurent and spatburgunder or pinot noir grapes. While I say they were more substantial, I would say that is in relation to the trollinger. All the wines were medium bodied and were more savoury in...

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German Grapeseed Spa treatments, The Wald & Schlosshotel Friedrichruhe

After a long hard day of wine touring, what better way to end the day then a relaxing rub down with crushed grape seeds. Crushed grape seeds? Well, these weren’t any old grape seeds and it wasn’t any old rub down. I was laying face down in a comfortably warm treatment room at the Wald & Schlosshotel Friedrichruhe Hotel and Spa, near the town of Verrenberg in southern Germany, getting a San Vino grape seed peeling rubdown. Let me backtrack a bit as to how I got here. I was on a trip with the German Wine Institute to discover the wines and cultural activities surrounding the southern city of Stuttgart. The visit and stay at the spa was all part of discovering all that this part of Germany has to offer. The Wald ( as I liked to call it, plus that’s really the only part of the name I could remember) is a luxury 5 star resort situated in a former castle. The main castle itself was built in the 18th century and throughout the centuries, it had servedĀ  as a family home as well as a royal residence. In the 1950’s the castle was converted into a hotel and in 2005, it was bought by the German company, the Wurth group because the chairman liked the place so much he decided he had to buy it. Beside the spa and indoor /outdoor swimming pool, the hotel also has a couple of restaurants, including a Michelin starred one, The Gourmet Restaurant, as well as a recently added Chef’s Table where you can watch the chefs in action. The hotel also boasts a cigar room where you’re free to smoke whatever you like (with in reason of course), private bungalows, and a golf course. The hotel has now expanded into 5 separate buildings and my room was in the spa wing. On walking in, the room was bigger then some of my old flats. On entering a huge bathroom greeted me off to...

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