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December 31, 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.  ~Oprah Winfrey


A busy year is coming to an end. We built a house, moved (again) from temporary living to the new home, unpacked hundreds of boxes that had been on storage for a complete year.  We visited the garbage station a gazillion times (which we, by the way, had already done in Sweden too), as we still had way too many things that no-one wanted, needed or liked anymore. Carpets, pictures, furniture pieces that do not fit into the new place. Frustrating on the other hand to discover that other things are lacking. Being so exhausted from the entire process, our minds have kind of locked now and we cannot even decide about where to put up a curtain and where not. So we decided to take a break from decorating, until inspiration kicks in again. Then came Christmas and all that stuff had to be unpacked again - I was trying to keep it minimalistic, but the kids insisted on stockings, etc. etc.... And now I am looking forward to take it all down again! However, some more decisions will have to be taken in 2012. But not today.


Today, we just enjoy the day and night with some lovely people. That was one of the great things of 2011 - we met so many nice people and made so many new friends. I am very thankful for that. We get lots of happy moments out of this and inspiration too. Fantastic! Life is good.


Lars asked the kids today if they had any resolutions, but none of us really has. A good sign. We are happy with the things the way they are. So no need for stress with resolutions that won't be kept up in the end anyway. :) Ok, a few more sit- and push-ups, and some more running through the wine fields...


I will continue to discover wines in general and to write about the Pfalz and its wines.
And I am looking forward to do more work in 2012. I truly enjoy the vinegar tours at Doktorenhof; English speaking, some Scandinavian and of course German groups. It makes me happy that the family Wiedemann trusts me and lets me take care of guests in their name. And to keep in touch with my vinegars that have grown so important to me during my years in Sweden. Further, I will increase writing for the Invinitum blog, the Danish/Swedish online wine shop. I wish them all luck and success, not only because I am happy for every little marketshare that the monopolist Systembolaget loses... And another opportunity seems close, where I will be working with wine directly. But more about that later. In 2012. 


Have a wonderful New Year!














December 18, 2011

Swedish Glögg, or: When the Postman rings Twice

... you better go and open the door. Could be, he delivers to you a box loaded with Swedish Glögg!




The Glögg party was saved and the guests (all none Swedes) liked this sweet, full-bodied, strong(er than German Glühwein) (15 % abv) drink from the North. We got it via the internet, from www.hagengrote.de. Price in Sweden 72 kr (we paid more 12 €).


This Blossa Starkvinsglögg is the absolute classic version, made of red wine and then fortified with 3 different Sherry-type of wines from Spain, made exclusively for this brand. 
It has aromas of dried fruit, cardamom, the classical christmas-spices. It is served warm with some raisins and almonds in the glass. The recipe has remained unchanged since 1917 and originates from wine merchant J.D. Grönstedt out of Stockholm's gamla stan. Other variations are the same glögg, but made purely from wine, without any additional alcohol and a light version. The supermarkets in Sweden even sell an alcohol-free version which people then mix with alcohol at home, or drink it as it is. (Very sweet.)
Then there is a yearly version, which is a nice marketing idea, I wrote about it before...


See my previous posts on glögg: vinumdiligo.blogspot.com/2009/12/swedish-glogg.html
vinumdiligo.blogspot.com/2009/12/blossa-glogg-09.html

December 16, 2011

2007 Ghost Pines & Irony Chardonnay, USA

Lucky as we are, we met many wonderful people and made good new friends since our arrival to the area (now almost 1.5 years ago(?!)). 

Among them are 3 families from the U.S. (ok, one of the husbands is German), which we were allowed to celebrate Thanksgiving with this year. The 3 ladies have touched my heart in several ways and we 'clicked' right away, sharing with each other the experiences (fun as well as not-so-fun) of living in the Pfalz. A source of support for certain issues, but really for lots of laughter and giggles, I so much appreciate their friendship. And - lucky again - even the guys get along well and so really, it always is a very pleasant atmosphere during our get-togethers. To protect their privacy, I will not mention their names - I would hate for people not daring to be with us anymore, because it all ends up in my blog... ;)

Thanksgiving was now sort of crowning it all. While we hosted the dinner, everyone was helping and preparing their part of the menu and bringing to the table for 16 people: two huge birds (called 'Viech' by the Pfälzisch salesclerk), stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, veggies, salad, mashed potatoes, cornbread, appetizers and pumpkin pies plus ice cream for the dessert. It was so good! All of it! 

We all share the love for a good local Riesling, which we enjoy together every now and then and at many different places. But this time, I wanted to surprise them with wine from their 'home' - from the US. So glad, I could get these two via Belvini.de, it turned out a fun moment for everyone! A blind tasting had to be done before I did tell them what it was in their glass. But, they understood quickly that it was not a local Riesling this time...   

 
Ghost Pines 2007 became the common favorite that night. Very much American oaked chardonnay, as we commonly associate it: rather bold, lots of yellow fruit, citrus, fried butter, honey, vanilla and oak.  Creamy, rather full bodied, but with a good acidity and a long finish. Ideal to the meal we had. The grapes are from the three areas: Sonoma, Napa and Monterey. Another nice coincidence was to then hear that one of the couples had lived in Monterey and are actually planing to retire there. 14% abv., price 13 €.


Irony, the 2nd wine, was even more full bodied and had even more of ripen yellow fruit. Had we served just one wine, this one would have had a better chance than it really got, being our 2nd wine. As I see it, it is way easier to drink several glasses of Riesling - over hours of socializing - than it is with oaked Chardonnay. With its powerful oaky style, it 'fills' you up quick. But, I still have one bottle left and will give it a fair chance at another time.

However, we all liked the story behind 'Irony': the two brothers that went out to explore working world America, before they returned home to the vineyards where they as boys had already helped out their grandpa every season. They gave up their other professions and took over the winery instead. Unplanned as it happened, they found it ironic...


One of our giant birds being carved from he who has done it before...


Thank you, dear friends.

December 15, 2011

Ölberg


Rainbow over the Ölberg, as seen 10 minutes ago. While discussing how to put up a certain shelf in the living room, my dear husband and I suddenly get distracted by this beautiful image... (Sorry, my iPhone doesn't allow for better quality)


The vineyard Ölberg is situated between Neustadt-Königsbach and Deidesheim and sloping south-east, thus spoiled by sunshine from early morning to the later afternoon. Soils are a mixture of clay, sandstone and chalky substances. The name goes back to a small chapel that once was built here and which showed Jesus at the Mount of Olives (as the Ölberg is referred to in English).

Riesling and Spätburgunder (German Pinot Noir) are grown here. We will be starting with tastings of wines from the Ölberg, soon. Some of the wineries that own sections of it are Bassermann-Jordan,  A. Christmann, Ohler, Weinland Königsbach.


The other important vineyard of Königsbach is the Idig. 

December 14, 2011

In Situ Gran Reserva 2008, Chile


With 14,5 % abv., this wine is definitely at the higher end of the alcoholic spectrum - normally, not really 'my thing'.  However, it also has a beautiful richness of aromas of ripen dark and red berries, spices, woody accents and vanilla. The acidity is there and so are the tannins, which by the way are very soft and almost velvety. All in all, a lot of all. Well balanced, full bodied, with quite a finish too.  


A wine with power for about 10 €, bought at the supermarket. 

90% Carmenère, Chile's signature grape, and some Cabernet plus Syrah add up to a real nice wine in the glass! Will go back and get a few more bottles...

December 13, 2011

2000 Came for a Last Drink

In Munich, last Saturday over 2000 people came to drink their last alcoholic beverage on one of the city's S-trains. To say (drink) Goodbye, so to speak, before the new no-alcohol policy would be implemented on Sunday, the day after. 


The party-goers organized themselves via FB and the intention was for this to be a peaceful event, just like it had happened in Hamburg before. However, while apparently turning into a great party, the peaceful bit didn't quite work out. In the end, some 50 trains were damaged and  some disturbance was caused for none-celebrating travelers. 


The ban came in the first place because of travelers feeling disturbed or even partly unsafe, with violence increasing around train stations. It is valid for inner city and close distance trips. Long distance traveling is not affected.


Do bans really achieve their goal? Will it be the conducters' job to control all the passengers? Ticket please. No alcohol please. Put that bottle away. And then? Isn't the average train-user just getting herself from A to B anyway and will those who wish to cause trouble cause it anyway?   


Cheers.
Heike



December 12, 2011

Last night the Glühwein saved my life

In the 80's it was the DJ saving my life... Now it is the Glühwein. Boy! Did I catch an ugly cold this time! I am totally off everything. I mean, entirely off. We had 3 wonderful invitations for Saturday, which we all wanted to attend to, but really, we had to decide for one of them and had been looking forward so much. Instead, the night (and day) was spent on the couch, with me coughing like a horse. My dear husband made things a little easier to take by getting Glühwein for us.





I am not describing this one for you, because all my senses can detect is the warm feeling it spreads all over my body. If I now said it tasted good, it would probably be an insult to it, because with this cold of mine not one single molecule would ever make it through my nose... But, since the spices are there anyway, they did help me feel better for a while, at least. 


And, by the way, the plain fact, that we can just rush away and get some (in this case warm) wine still feels special and luxurious to us. Most of you won't really understand, but others will, without me going further into details...


And if you don't remember the song I was referring to: 


Cheers!
Heike

December 09, 2011

Phew...

I have to admit that I was way too optimistic. The work load that comes with moving into a new house, unpacking two containers, and getting a whole family settled (with 25% of us being constantly gone somewhere else) was enormous. It is first now that I am getting the chance to even think blog again... 


I missed tons of wine events in our region, Stuart P who came to introduce his new book and God knows what more. To make matters worse, I have been suffering from a bad throat since July, which did not really help me tasting wine. But, there is hope (always).


If I manage to find the photos I took with my phone, I'll be able to at least share a few more wines that I came across recently, with you.


Cheers!
Heike