Monday, August 01, 2005

In Vino

On Saturday we went to our first wine tasting. Sure while Germany may be better known for its beers, it also has a very healthy wine industry, and I happen to live right on the fringes of the German wine producing area. So it makes sense that I should finally dive in and see what all the fuss is about this fancy grape juice.

Marcela and I joined a USO tour of Bernkastel-Kues that also included a trip to a vineyard, Weingut am Rosenberg, along with a dinner and wine tasting. The dinner was great, but what everyone was waiting on were the thirteen wines to be sampled. The dinner was important, though, because if you're going to be drinking thirteen glasses of wine, you need something to soak up all that alcohol.

In between the dinner and the tasting, the owner of the vineyard gave us a thorough explanation of how the grapes are grown and how his family has been producing wine in that area since 1530. In fact, he said his vineyard can produce between 100,000 and 120,000 bottles each year. Facinating stuff, especially if you've ever wondered what it takes to get grapes into those fancy bottles.

Then we went back inside, were presented with the wine list, and the drinks began. Marcela took copious notes on each sample so that we could remember later which ones we liked best, while I remained focused on trying to get through the thirteen glasses without passing out. After awhile I had to use a pitcher that was provided at our table for dumping any wine we just didn't like or couldn't finish. Our tour guide told us that if we drank everything offered that day, it would be over a liter of wine. Way too much for a lightweight like me.

The wines started off with the dry (non-sweet) ones and worked their way up to the more fruity, sweet-tasting varieties. For the most part I leaned toward the sweet wines, with the best (and priciest) being the Eiswein we tried at the end, made with frozen grapes during the winter. Was just about the sweetest liquor I'd ever had in my life, but at around $30 a bottle, not something I'd pick up everytime at the grocery store.

After the thirteen wines, the owner tooks us into the wine cellars to see the casks. Semi-spooky, but very interesting. Then we got to sample a peach schnapps, a cream liquor, and the German version of moonshine. The schnapps was damn tasty, the creamy stuff not to my liking, and the moonshine could strip varnish off an old chair.

In the end we ended up taking home three bottles (while others on the tour took home case loads), and who knows -- we may end up going back for more some day.

Now if we can only find a beer tasting...


At 11:58 PM, Blogger Lindalu said...

helllloooo *echo* anyone home???


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