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Just the wine list please and Daisy came too.

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Oct 14th, 2017, 09:57 AM
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Just the wine list please and Daisy came too.

Most years we travel to continental Europe to stock up on hard-to-get wines in the UK. I normally do a full write up but this year I've covered a lot of the travel stuff in short sections elsewhere. This time I thought I'd focus just on the group wine tour element.

I run a small wine group in Yorkshire (going on 30 years now) and this year 10 of us agreed to spend 4 nights on the Mosel together buying stuff. Of the ten, two spend lots of time in Vienna, one couple is German/British and two couple have never been to Germany. Oh, and Daisy the dog came too, never a problem with the odd run-around opportunities and always with a friendly wag.

In this regard we started on the Saar (just Mrs B and I) to visit Saarschleife which is a photo-opportunity to see a 190 degree river bend between steep river cliffs, it is also on some prime hiking trails, it is just south of Ayler Kupp the most prestigious of wine hills and the beautiful village of Saarburg (half timbered houses in tiny valley with tumbling waterfalls etc). This time we were not buying but the walks and views are lovely.

We then moved onto our base for 4 nights, Guesthouse Durkhem http://www.weingut-derkum.de/ in Urzig. This is not the most prestigious hotel in town, but it is very central, gives a good breakfast and the 84 year old boss is very very good as a host. Other hotels, B&Bs and appartments are available, over the years we have stayed in 5 places and they all have been attractive in their own way. Many of our friends had arrived the day before and taken a river cruise to Bernkastel just up river (half timbered houses etc).
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Oct 14th, 2017, 10:12 AM
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Signing on.
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Oct 14th, 2017, 10:25 AM
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Getting thirsty.
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Oct 14th, 2017, 11:03 AM
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Bilboburgler,

I'm looking forward to reading this wine TR. I visited the Mosel and Rhine in May for the first time. Tourism was my main focus, but I did have some wine along the way. Many nice whites, and one truly awful red that was undrinkable.

Very interested to hear what you like in the area!
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Oct 14th, 2017, 11:08 AM
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Looks like a good trip
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Oct 15th, 2017, 01:38 AM
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Urzig is unusual as the soil is heat affected slate and they do not need to use American root-stock unlike most of the rest of the world. The famous Doctor Loosen is based here though we did not taste with him on this trip. The grapes are basically Riesling though a little Pinot noir and Pinot blanc is creeping in. The vines grow on very steep cliffs and a few workers die each year on the Mosel from falling off. The curve of the river forms a bowl or sun trap behind the village and this helps bring the grapes on very well.

We checked in, washed up and dropped into the bar next door for a pre-dinner wine while we txted our friends, finally meeting up at the Terraza aterrazza-ristorante.de an Italian restaurant on the hillside.

I opened the evening's meal by reliving the "Dad's army" programme where Captain Mainwaring invited the troop to his home. "while we are in my home I'd like you to call me Arthur". Still the sky was pink with sunset, the river glinted below us and the half built motorway was the only blot of the landscape.

"Can we see the wine list" two bottles of Riesling fizz, two of local Riesling and two of local Pinot Blanc went well with the Italian/German fusion.

Everyone seems to have settled in well, one managed to break her big toe a few days back which means walking will be an issue, Daisy (on the other paw) seems happy enough with the walks along the top of the cliff (this couple decided to book rooms in what looks like the centre of town based on google maps, unfortunatly, as the town is half on the top of the cliff and half at the bottom of the cliff they are at the top, while all the facilities are at the bottom), still more walks for Daisy.
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Oct 15th, 2017, 03:20 AM
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As this is a part of Germany which I have so far managed to miss [don't know how that happened but it means I've got another excuse to go back] I'm looking forward to joining reading more.

I'll just go and open a bottle of Dr Loosen while I wait for the next instalment.
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Oct 15th, 2017, 07:12 AM
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First full day; rain, we drove off to visit Bremm, Reinhold Franzen https://www.weingut-franzen.de/ (not the Franzen wine shop). Nice little tasting lots of information on soil types and the difficulties of growing vines on the world's steepest vinyards.

The new generation are doing well with nice wines, the new owners are relatively young and took over when the father was crushed by a tractor on these very steep hills.

Lunch in the village, flammkuchen,like Pizza only much lighter and with a crème fraîche bacon topping and federweisser (half fermented grape juice). Walk with dog along river front.

Afternoon tasting, Mrs B and I snuck off to CH Berres http://www.berres.de/en/ for a private tasting after drinking it at the Terraza restaurant, very impressed with what we found and took loads away with us. Herr Berres (30 ish) has about 4 hectaires of vines which is about enough to run a business and is also offering nice flats above the business/with river views. Spoke excellent English and struggles with German wine laws which basically prohibit him from telling his customers what the wine is like.

Late afternoon tasting, one of our two paid for tastings (this one including supper) at Rebenhof http://www.rebenhof.de/ some 28 wines, half of us German speakers and half English and Herr Schmidt managed to split his time pretty well, his wines are good but not cheap, certainly he has set up a good marketing winery, designed to bring the punters in and it is hard not to buy.

He spent time explaining the issues of the new motorway (halted above the town), the problems of too much rain and the affect of wine glass shapes. I think he is very worried by the rain. Once Riesling has finished its first 100 days there is little more growth except the berries suck up any excess water which dilutes the juice, so 2017 is going to be a duff year.
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Oct 15th, 2017, 08:10 AM
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Ten for wine tasting, sounds like great fun!
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Oct 15th, 2017, 09:15 AM
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Thanks for posting this report. I am very envious and find the idea of a wine tasing (ad buying) tour in inforned company very appealing. Your repiort is a nice contrast to the accounts of travel to the major European sites.

I imagine that pickpockets and passport security were the last things on your mind!
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Oct 15th, 2017, 12:07 PM
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Bilbo - how dry do you like your [German] wines? When I started to drink them, [having been introduced to them by my German pen friend's father] I liked them to be "herb" and that has stayed with me. However I see that many are "trocken" [too dry for me, and not well suited to the Riesling grape, IMHO] some are "feinherb", and others "Fruchtig". Where do the latter lie in the dry to sweet continuum?
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Oct 15th, 2017, 10:12 PM
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Ann, we find that the younger Germans like them dry, while the older ones still like them halbtroken (I guess off dry for us Brits).

The trouble is that words like feinherb do not mean anything, they were invented to try and deal with the labeling problem but (with amazing lack of skill, the Germans introduced something that just added to the confusion)

The real system in terms of quality goes something like Kabinett, QMP, spatlese, auslese, beerennauslese, trokenbeerenauslese, icevine. But while they introduce a few other things (acceptable levels of benficial mould for instance) but mainly measure the original sugar levels in the grape juice.

There really is nothing to tell you what the "mouth feel" is.

Since I like older wines (with the diesel nose) this is what I look for for general drinking (ie not the top three types) in restaurants; Spatlese or Auslese, with alchol levels in the 11.5% range and at least 3 years old. Not sure that helps but is what I do. Of course you can just ask the wine waiter ;-)

But feinherb basically tells you it is not trocken while Fruchtig tells you the same, interestingly this was a major part of our discussion with CH Berres, he was so frustrated with the agency that controls this as he is not allowed to label a wine. I've had the same discussion in other vinyards, one, had even taken a Spatlese and sold it as a Kabinett where the labeling rules are much lighter for a special contract he won.
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Oct 15th, 2017, 10:15 PM
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Chartley, there is a lot of pleasure in travelling in the countryside, you still have to be sensible and of course there is driving, last year Mrs B managed to run into a car in Urzig containing a bride and mother going for their hairdressing appointment in the morning. Girl was in tears and Mum was panicing, we sent them on their way happy, probably both our fault but stuff happens.
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Oct 16th, 2017, 12:21 PM
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Thanks, Bilbo. Generally I find Auslese too sweet but it depends what you are drinking them with, I suppose.

Anyway, I had a little look at the internet, and found this informative little article:

https://suesse-weine.de/spaetlese-un...tlese-auslese/

I need to read it again to understand it better, but if you want some technical jargon to impress the Winzer you are talking to, it might help!
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Oct 16th, 2017, 09:57 PM
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Ann, if I could speak German it would help I'm an engineer and we were always taught to never use "jargon".

Auslese is not always sweet, you just need to look for higher alchol ones then they can be dry. It's the old CxHx -> CxHy-OH reaction.
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Oct 16th, 2017, 11:13 PM
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oops, sorry, Bilbo - I don't know where I got the idea that you speak German.

what it's talking about is the large number of "sweet" [Spaetlese, Auslese and Beerenauslese] wines and the levels of must and alcohol they require as well as foods to drink with them. If you can be bothered, you might get enough out of it with google translate for it to be interesting.
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Oct 17th, 2017, 12:29 AM
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Being in a small wine group for 30 years sounds like a fabulous situation.
Enjoying your trip report, though I have no idea what you're talking about (ie. wine)
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Oct 17th, 2017, 11:17 PM
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Second full day; rain, off to Trier. This is a small city with a bunch of fantastic Roman remains and a very small wine making hill. This is where we went to see Peter Terges. Peter is getting on now but his wines are wonderful and he seldom puts up his prices. A lovely 12 bottle tasting (free) though we bought one of his ice-wines to taste with him, at which point he brought out the very good stuff and we brought out our wallets. It is seldom you can pick up such wonderful wines from 2003 for E15. He introduced us to a new phrasing "angels [email protected]@sing on your tongue" to describe a very wonderful sweet wine.

We drove into central Trier and picked up a light lunch in one of the many bars and then onto “Oechsle Wein- und Fischhaus “ yes a fish restaurant that is trying to grow a wine tasting business. This was our second paid for tasting and while he had opinions and some so-so wines I was not impressed, in fact the only wine I bought was from across the river from Urzig. This restaurant is the official Trier wine tasting centre and must be influencing what tourists think of the area. Disappointed.

That night we ate at Hotel Zehnthof http://www.weinhaus-zehnthof.de/ , a sort of middle level restaurant with 4 wines to get us through the meal. Once again the trick of looking for the oldest Auslese or Spatlese works, good nose and only just off-dry.
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Oct 18th, 2017, 12:23 AM
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I like the look of the Hotel Zehntof, and also the menu. I am getting more and more jealous. Did you bring back the wine yourself, or was it delivered to the U.K.?
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Oct 18th, 2017, 02:53 AM
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chartley, our rule is always bring back 60 at least and the record was 90. The economics of buying wine in Europe from the UK is ruined by the overnight cost of the Hull ferry so I have to seperate them in my mind, ferry=holiday, wine=fun.

If you like zehnthof you'll really love the next hotel
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