Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Germany Version 4.0 - coming soon

So the annual Rudi Wiest corporate trip has been booked for January 2011, a mere 2 months away. 10 days in Germany, plus two days of flying, during which I will unfortunately miss my husband's birthday, but we'll celebrate early, in style.

I've named it Version 4.0 as it will be my fourth Germany trip, my 4th Rudi Wiest trip, and my 4th trip to these estates nestled in the valleys of the Rhein, Mosel, Nahe, and Main rivers. These estates that I've come to know so very well, better than I thought I would imagine knowing. I remember my first trip back in the fall of 2007, when I was so elated to put names of vineyards I learned on bottles to actual hillsides, and met the people behind the wines. Now, more than 3 years later, the winemakers, while still on pedestals, are more like friends than strangers. Such is the environment created by my importer boss that makes this business so intimate. No longer are names and people a mystery, but are instead the meat and potatoes of the business. And so it becomes less like a wine business than a people business. And in the end, that is what really counts.

This year, we'll be flying out in January instead of February, so expect more cold, more snow than last year, more yeast in still unfiltered wine, more untamed acidity, more wild flavors of fermentation. We're adding a new Rheingau estate, so I look forward to visiting a new property. And I look forward to seeing familar faces, those friendly rosy faces of those families that pass their craft on from generation to generation.

In particular, I look forward to tasting the Pinot Noirs of Friedrich Becker Estate and Rudolf Furst Estate. Both estates make hauntingly delicious Pinot Noirs that remind me of what I love in red Burgundy (though they are not exactly like red Burgundy, but just as complex and compelling). I also look forward to the Mosel Rieslings from Dr. F. Weins-Prum, Rheinhold Haart, Fritz Haag, and Monchhof. And it is always a treat to taste in the Pfalz estates of Von Buhl and Rebholz, estates known for their terrific dry wines.

I'm already beginning to get excited about going to Germany again. On the negative side, it will be cold and it will be work. But on the plus side, it will be a good time to hunker down with the team, exchange ideas, taste the new 2010 vintage, and see our favorite winemakers again. Oh, and eat some delicious German food - always a treat.