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August 30, 2010

Biking day Deutsche Weinstrasse

this photo: www.pfalz.de
Yesterday, Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., this event took place for the 25th time. The 80 kms of Deutsche Weinstrasse (German Wine Route) are closed for all cars, trucks, and motorbikes. Allowed are only bikes, rollerblades & co. (Fantasy sets the limits... there are big vehicles, driven by 8 or ten bikers, and other curiosities to be seen.)


Every small village along the road celebrates this day with .... yes! wine of course. And to avoid dehydration while biking between the villages, there are some stands to be found here and there along the road, too. From small children to the grandparents: everyone participates. Some ride many kilometers, others don't get too far. It all depends...
Word has it, that some 300.000 people were out and about. But who should know exactly? However, the weather was not as good as in most years. Clouds and rain showers, rather heavy winds at times. We had to bike 12 kms, just to get to the Weinstrasse, and were all exhausted by the time we arrived, fighting against the winds... Good they had some Riesling-Schorle there! (If you still don't know what Schorle means, please send me a note.)


Here we are still on our way to reach the Weinstrasse, with view to
Weinbiet (weather station) and the villages Gimmeldingen/Königsbach

getting closer...

... and made it to Deidesheim.

Next year we will be living AT the Weinstrasse and thus hope to be
starting earlier and getting farther...
Cheers!

August 27, 2010

MUNDUSvini Great International Wine Award

This morning at 8.oo a.m., the annually award (for the 10th year) was officially started. And I was there. (Nope, not tasting.) Very nicely welcomed and shown around. A press info map was handed over, so I am glad to be sharing this with you:

5883 wines from 42 countries will be tasted by a jury of 285 wine experts from 49 countries.

6 days, in the mornings from 8-12.00, professionals are evaluating the precious drops from around the world. Experts range from Master of Wine Ned Goodwin, Japan, via journalists, buyers, oenologists, sommeliers to the Professor of Sensory Studies at the University of Davis, Hildegard Heymann, USA.

Strict rules are set by the OIV (International Organisation of Vine and Wine) and the International Association of Oenologists.

While most wines come from the traditional wine countries of Europe with Germany 25%, Italy 19%, Spain 15%, France 10%, many wines come from overseas (i.e. South Africa: 215, Australia 183, USA 69). Taiwan (1), Russia (3), Jordan (!) (12) have sent in their wines for the first time. Note: no Swedish wine yet.

3082 bottles are red wine, 2093 white. Other wines are sparkling, rose, aerated, sherry, port and liqueur.

The aim is to promote the quality of wines and boost the marketing. It provides a possibility for producers to get international attention and for consumers it is a tool for orientation when buying wines of high quality. Best wines achieve Grand Gold, Gold, or Silver, number of awards is restricted to max 30% of the total wines tasted. Special awards are giving, like Importer of the Year and Producer of the Year.


So, if you see a wine with one of these awards on, you will understand a bit better what it stands for. I hope. And even if not: Cheers!

If you want to send in your wine for next year's awards and for further information, please check here

August 26, 2010

Vines and Peace

Thursday, 26/8/2010, 8:30 a.m. A moment of total harmony and inner peace for me.

Having dropped of the children at their school, I drove along one of my favorite roads which connects the small villages of Gimmeldingen and Königsbach, north of Neustadt. I just had to stop the car, jump out and take this photo. Wrong light to take a picture, as the sun was already too strong, this result here is far from what the moment was. However, if I can only give you a fraction of the beauty I am experiencing, I'm happy for you. 22 degr. C, a little breeze, total quietness and - vines. Full of grapes ready to be harvested soon. At the horizon, pointing south-east, the Schwarzwald (Black Forest) region is visible.


View Larger Map (I am not standing at 'A', but further south on the same road, Neubergstrasse, Königsbach is the village to the north and south of it lies Gimmeldingen.)

August 24, 2010

Swimming in the Wine Fields

Last weekend we had up to 32° celcius, here in the Pfalz. Too warm to go walking in the wine fields or forest, so we had to be good parents and take the children to some public pool. (Well, that's what we have traded the Baltic Sea for, I guess.....) This time we decided to test the one in Deidesheim, the village where some of the most prestigeous wineries of the Pfalz are located.

Given the village's limited population of 3.600, the pool itself is naturally not as prestigeous but rather small, filling up quickly (with people, I mean). However! Really wonderful about it is, that it is surrounded by vines! You virtually lie in between the vineyards, with the hills of the Haardt mountain as a frame in the back. Truly cute! Too bad, we decided to leave our phones at home and thus the cameras... So all I can offer for now is the pictures from the official website.



August 21, 2010

First Harvest / August in the Pfalz

Harvest has begun: August 18, the first grapes were picked here in Neustadt!
Solaris - a grape variety that I know from Sweden - has been taken in at 72 Grad Oechsle.

The early grapes will be used for the 'new wine' (neuer Wein, Federweißer) which is commonly served and enjoyed during the fall festivities. This is wine where fermentation is just beginning. It looks like unfiltered applejuice, sometimes almost whitish looking and far from being clear. Yeast is in the air, in the glass and then in one's belly... The trick is to drink rather little and not get carried away. That is why there will always be wines from previous years served as well.

However, the main harvest won't start until some weeks later, in September and October. 2010 is expected to be of good quality, even if the volumes will be below average. Hailstorms in spring had some 4000 ha of vines destroyed, also cold weather during blooming caused damage. In October, the main wine festival takes place in Neustadt an der Weinstraße, where also the German Wine Queen is elected to represent the country's wines for a year. This fest is typically the one, where the new wine is served.

But also now - since April - the winefests are ongoing. There is not a weekend without some festivity in one (or even several) of the villages along the 80 km Deutsche Weinstrasse. This weekend, for example, Gimmeldingen, one of the wine-villages around Neustadt, is celebrating. Some of the wineries open their doors, like i.e. Weingut Mugler, one of our favorites since many years. A member of the VdP (Germany's leading wineries), it is owned by the Mugler family since 17th century. It is currently managed by Susanne and Harald Mugler, who have become friends of ours. They were visiting Sweden several times and serving their wines for Swedish wine enthusiasts in Ahus, where I lived the past 7 years. The estate is beautifully located in the middle of the tiny village, two very nice rooms can be booked here, 4 more rooms are being added within the next months. Living at the winery - here you can do this at very good comfort. We have done it ourselves and can really recommend it. For more info:
http://www.weingut-mugler.de/. We spent a nice evening there, yesterday, with good wines, food and a guitar player who underlined the beautiful atmosphere.

The last two weekends the famous village of Deidesheim was opening doors for the winefest that was elected 'nicest winefest of the Pfalz' in 2009. It is a extremly nice festival, very popular and well visited. Sorry, I was there, enjoying it, but too busy to write about it...

Within the next two weeks only, there will be 32 winefests in the area,
please read more here.
One never has to stay at home here in the Pfalz!

August 01, 2010

Winefest in Forst, Weinstrasse

For one week we have now been living here in the Pfalz. Our house in Sweden is sold and all furniture is on storage until our new house in one of the small villages here is built. After all the packing and organizing we finally took a well deserved break. Today we visited the winefest in Forst. 29° C, with a little breeze. Perfect weather! Nice to be home.
We totally enjoyed strolling through the old street, lined with wineries. Most of them open during the entire weekend, selling wine and food and entertaining guests with music and bands. A wonderful relaxed atmosphere! Lots of figtrees, oleander bushes, wisterias and of course vines adding to the special flair.

Oyster bar

Bratwurst, Steaks (grilled over wood from vines)
people lining up for Crepes....

The little but famous village of Forst is situated between Deidesheim to the south and Bad Dürkheim to the north. The early beginnings date back to 1100 and still today only about 850 people live in this picturesque place. The center of the village is one street of ca 1200 m length. Around the village some of the most famous vineyardsof the Pfalz are found, like i.e. Kirchenstück, Freundstück, Ungeheuer, Pechstein und Jesuitengarten. A total of ca 175 hectares are under vines, of which ca 90% is Riesling. This and more info: http://www.forst-pfalz.de/

At VDP Weingut Acham-Magin we enjoyed some food and a (dry) Riesling-Schorle. Schorle= wine mixed with mineralwater. So good, light and refreshing!