Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller and Dagmar Ehrlich with the "Rebsorten ABC"
My fellow Weinfreundeskreis Hochheim wine brother Juergen always has a little book at hand, when he tours vineyards or tastes wine. “It is my bible” he says. What he is referring to is “Das Rebsorten ABC – Reben und ihre Weine” (The Grape Varieties ABC – the Grapes and their Wines) by Dagmar Ehrlich. A new, expanded version of the book was just released by Hallwag.
Full disclosure: I am related to Dagmar Ehrlich through family ties: Dagmar is my cousin.
Das Rebsorten ABC – The Grape Varities ABC
The book was published as a paperback that is even smaller than a regular paperback, i.e. the book is very handy and compact, and fits well in a pocket of a jacket or jeans.
The book opens with an introduction to the basics of wine making: On the first 12 pages, the reader is provided with an overview of what wine is all about.
Then follows the main part of the book: A description of grape varieties from Agiorgitiko to Zweigelt - the grape varieties that German wine drinkers have most the time in their glass. There are about 8000 different grape varieties in the world and 50 of them grown in Germany. Dagmar has developed a useful template, which is used for each grape variety: Synonyms, Distribution, Style, Color, Wines, Body, Acidity, Flavor, Food and Specialty. From Style (Weinstil) to Food (Essenspartner), the text is just words, no complete sentences; as mentioned earlier, the book is very compact.
The book concludes with 20 pages about blends and their grape varieties (Cuvees und Ihre Rebsorten), like Chianti, with a slightly different template, but very similar in style.
The 2011 edition is an expanded version of the first edition of the book that was published in 2005.
Last time, when we were visiting with my fellow Weinfreundeskreis Hocheim wine brother Juergen various vineyards in Hochheim and were trying to identify the different grape varieties, he referred to one area that could be improved in a future issue of the book: “I would love to also have the pictures of the leaves of the different grape varieties in the book, so when I walk through a vineyard the book could help me to distinguish the grape varieties by the shape of the leaves.” But with or without pictures of leaves, the Rebsorten ABC remains an extremely well made and useful book.
I have not seen such a book anywhere in the English speaking world and I would hope that the publishers were considering to translate Dagmar's book. But a mere translation would not do it. It would need to be reworked a bit with a view of focusing on grape varieties prevalent in the English speaking world. As an example, the classical American grape “Norton” would have to be added.
The author Dagmar Ehrlich is a freelance German wine journalist, who lives and works in Hamburg. After school, she did several internships at wineries in Germany and abroad. From 1980 to 1984, she studied Viticulture and Enology at the University of Applied Sciences Wiesbaden (Geisenheim). So, she really knows what she is talking about. She also worked for various prestigious companies in the wine trade, most notably for HAWESKO.
Since 1991, she has been on the route of wine journalism. Notably, for 10 years she was leading the tastings of the German gourmet journal “Der Feinschmecker” and became a household name during that time (of households interested in wine). She also has written a number of wine books (see below).
Picture: Dagmar Ehrlich and Winemaker Reinhard Löwenstein, Weingut Heymann-Loewenstein, Mosel, in Berlin.
Tasting wine with Dagmar is always a very entertaining event. She knows so much about wine and has an extraordinary ability to express what she sees with her eyes, smells in the nose and tastes on the palate in what Americans call "plain English". In my view, she is one of Germany’s best, when it comes to tasting and describing wines. But she is also an extremely independent woman and fighter for her views and causes. One of her causes is “green” wine. In this context, she is one of the lead authors of “In Bio Veritas”, a brochure, which tries to make the case for drinking organic instead of conventionally made wine.
Wine Books by Dagmar Ehrlich
I am not sure, this is complete, but here is a list of wine books by Dagmar.
Das Rebsorten ABC, Reben und ihre Weine; Hallwag (Gräfe und Unzer), München, 2005, ISBN 3-7742-6960-2
Das Wein ABC, 400 glasklare Antworten auf die wichtigsten Fragen; Hallwag (Gräfe & Unzer), München, 2004, ISBN 3-7742-6960-2
Wein. Eine Entdeckungsreise für Genießer; von Hubrecht Duijker und Dagmar Ehrlich, Hallwag (Gräfe & Unzer), München, 1999, ISBN 3-7742-6960-2
Weine 1999, Wegweiser für den Einkauf; von Dagmar Ehrlich, Andree Köthe und Michael Girschek, Verlag: Girschek Gümlingen ISBN 3-906263-01-0
Die Weine von Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Verlag: Girschek Gümlingen 1999
schiller-wine - Related Postings
Visiting Weingut Josef Leitz in Ruedesheim – Johannes Leitz is Germany’s Winemaker of the Year, Gault Millau WeinGuide 2011
1.International Riesling Symposium
Impressions from the Riesling & Co World Tour 2010 in New York
When Americans Drink German Wine - What They Choose
Aging Potential of Riesling – A Wine Tasting at the 1st International Riesling Symposium in Germany Led by Jancis Robinson
Visiting Armin and Caroline Diel and their Schlossgut Diel in Burg Layen in Germany
Phil Bernstein’s Third Annual German Riesling Tasting with the German Wine Society, Washington DC Chapter - Rieslings With a Touch of Sweetness
2011: Terry Theise’s Top German Wines of the 2010 Vintage
A Pinot Noir Star: Visiting August Kesseler and his Weingut August Kesseler in Assmannshausen, Germany
JJ Pruem Goes Supermarket: Meeting Katharina Pruem and Tasting the Incredible JJ Pruem Wines at Wegmans
The Tim Atkin Pinot Noir Taste-Off of October 2011: Germany Versus the Rest of the World - German Red Wines Show Stong Performance
Germany's Top 16 Winemakers - Feinschmecker WeinGuide 2011
Visiting Wilhelm Weil at his Weingut Robert Weil in Kiedrich, Germany
Tasting with Wilhelm Weil the 2010 Weingut Weil Wines in Kiedrich, Germany