Monday, June 24, 2013

The Wines Chancelor Merkel Served President Obama and Michelle Obama in Berlin (and the Wines she did not Serve), Germany

Picture: The First Lady Sipping German Wine (Source: Getty Images)

President Obama spent a day in Berlin, Germany, last week - his first visit in Germany as President of the USA. The day ended with a formal dinner at Schloss Charlottenburg, where Barack and Michelle Obama got the chance to taste the excellent cuisine of 2 star Michelin Chef Tim Raue and the 5 German wines he had selected, all from Weingut Markus Schneider in the Pfalz and Weingut Dreissigacker in Rheinhessen. Tim Raue: “The 2 winemakers and I represent very well the modern Germany: Globally thinking and at home in the region.”

Picture: Berlin Brandenburger Tor

Tim Raue’s selection was a big surprise for the fans of German wine in the USA, who were closely watching what wines their President and his wife would be served: No Kabinett, no Spaetlese, no Auslese, no Mosel wine among the selected wines – the wines that are so popular in the US! So, what wines did Chancelor Merkel serve President Obama and what wines did she not serve President Obama?

Picture: Markus Schneider, Tim Raue and Wife, Joachim Dreissigacker in Front of Schloss Charlottenburg (Source: Belvini.de Weinversand)

See also:
State Dinner at the White House: Chancellor Merkel Dined and Wined with President Obama - The Wines they Drank and the Wines they did not Drink

The Wines

Five wines were served - 3 wines from Weingut Dreissigacker and 2 wines from Weingut Markus Schneider. Tim Raue: “The wines of Jochen Dreissigacker and Markus Schneider have been served for years in my restaurant. They are modern German wines, aromatic and juicy, yet elegant; they go very well with my food and were very appropriate for the occasion.”

Picture: The Wines (Source: Belvini.de Weinversand)

2011 Dreissigacker Riesling Sekttrocken (Euro 12.50, Belvini.de)

2012 Markus Schneider Weissburgunder trocken (Euro 8.40)

2012 Markus Schneider Katui Sauvignon Blanc trocken (Euro 9.90)

2009 Dreissigacker WUNDERWERK Spätburgunder trocken (Euro 21.50)

2011 Dreissigacker Bechtheimer Heiligkreuz Rieslaner Beerenauslese (Euro 23.50)

Jochen Dreissigacker and Markus Schneider were very proud that their wines were selected: “Our wines are being poured all over the world – in Dubai, Norway, South Africa and of course in the United States. Our wines have not yet been served in the White House. But with the dinner at Schloss Charlottenburg we hopefully got a bit closer to that. We hope that President Obama liked our wines. German wines can compete with the best wines in the world.”

The Guests

President Obama’s sister and the Dallas Mavericks’s Captain Dirk Nowitzky were among the 250 guests.

Pictures: Dirk Nowitzky Chatting with President Obama (Source: Reuters)

The Food

Tim Raue: “In putting together the menu, I let myself inspire by my home town Berlin. Therefore I served “Kabeljau (cod) mit Schmorgurken, Königsberger Klopse (meatballs) und Bienenstich (a cake).”

Weißer Spargel (White Asparagus) und Zitronenschaum mit Saiblingskaviar und Sauerampfer,

Kabeljau (Cod) mit Schmorgurken, Creme von Staudensellerie und Estragon,

Königsberger Klopse (Meetballs) vom Kalb, Muskatblütenbrösel, Rote Bete-Apfel-Salat und Stampfkartoffeln sowie

Bienenstich mit Aprikosensorbet (Cake with Sorbet)

Pictures: The Menu (Source: Die Welt - Armin Akhtar)

Tim Raue

One of Germany’s top chef’s, Tim Raue, was long associated with the cooking of Hotel Adlon in Berlin; in 2010, the Chef de Cuisine left the prestigious hotel and together with his wife opened up their own restaurant. The Asian inspired Restaurant Tim Raue, which is located in the district of Kreuzberg just around the corner from Checkpoint Charlie, quickly earned its first and recently its second Michelin star and became the talk of the town. Besides the avant-garde take on Asian cuisine, it’s the Chef himself who draws people into the restaurant. Tim Raue is both passionate and easy-going but is his personal story has been everything but easy; before finding his calling in cooking, Tim Raue had a rough childhood and was a member in a street gang in Berlin Kreuzberg.

Weingut Dreissigacker

Joachim Dreissigacker: “A few years ago, when the time came for me to take over the family vineyard and realize my own ideas and vision, I made a decision. I wanted to take something good and make it truly excellent, to transform good flavour into an exciting experience, and elevate pleasant wines to an inspiring experience. In all that I did, I worked with the unique mineral composition of our vineyards, the local climate and microclimate and harnessed my deep passion for winemaking. Ecology, sustainability and the respectful use of the existing resources has gradually changed the face of our vineyards. Imagination and pragmatism were my daily helpers in my search for the perfect vine. Since I started cultivating the vineyards, several of my wines have attracted a certain interest. This is a source of great pleasure to me, as it keeps me inspired, keen and courageous in my mission to create exciting, multi-facetted wines of exceptional quality that will fascinate wine enthusiasts.”

Weingut Markus Schneider

Weingut Markus Schneider is a new winery, founded only a few years ago. Wine maker Markus Schneider is one of Germany’s shooting stars, who has made himself a name within a short period with innovative, non-traditional wines, in particular new-world-style red wines.

Weingut Markus Schneider is in Ellerstadt in the Pfalz. Markus Schneider learned how to make wine at Weingut Dr. Buerklin-Wolf in the Pfalz from 1991 to 1994. His father - Klaus Schneider – had grown grapes for many years as a member of the local wine cooperative, before leaving the wine co-operative and founding his own winery in 1990, with the view of setting up a winery for his son Markus. Four years later, Markus took over and 1994 was the first vintage made by and bottled under the name of Markus Schneider. In the following years, Markus Schneider increasingly shifted to making blends, based on international grape varieties, such as Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah and Merlot, that were a novelty for Germany.

Picture: Wilhelm Weil, Weingut Robert Weil, Kai Buhrfeindt, Grand Cru Weinrestaurant, Christian G.E. Schiller, Markus Schneider, Weingut Markus Schneider in Frankfurt am Main

At the same time, the wines were marketed with non-traditional, modern labels and wine names; these wines became increasingly appealing for young and hip wine consumers. Markus Schneider markets all his wines as QbA, without any reference to the predicate level (that have been dominating the German wine classification for decades) and without any reference to the vineyard(s) were the grapes come from (moving away from the terroir principle that has become increasingly important for tradional German wine producers). Here are some of Markus Schneider’s wines: Blackprint, Rotwein Alte Reben, M Spaetburgunder, Tohuwabohu, Chardonnay, Riesling and Kaitui.

In 2003, Markus Schneider was voted Newcomer of the Year by the Feinschmecker and in 2006, Discovery of the Year. Within only a few years, Markus Schneider had shot to the top echelons of the German wine industry and established a solid position. Since 2007, Weingut Markus Schneider is in the 3 (out of 5) grapes category of Gault Millau.

See also:
German Riesling and International Grape Varieties – Top Wine Makers Wilhelm Weil and Markus Schneider at Kai Buhrfeindt’s Grand Cru in Frankfurt am Main, Germany

What Angela Merkel Served

A German Sekt: 2011 Dreissigacker Riesling Sekt brut

Not well known outside of Germany, sparkling wine has a long, rich tradition in Germany, where it has been called “Sekt” since the late 1800s. Germany is one of the largest sparkling wine markets in the world. One out of four bottles of sparkling wine is consumed in Germany.

Sekt is made in all German wine regions, both in the méthode traditionnelle and charmat method. There are three groups of Sekt makers: (i) large and (ii) smaller Sekt houses, who only make Sekt and (iii) winemakers, who make predominantly wine, but complement their wine selection by a few Sekts. The Sekts produced by large Sekt estates tend to be in the demy-sweet and sweet range, while the Sekts of smaller estates and the wine makers are mostly in the brut and extra brut range.

Picture: The Table of President Obama and Chancellor Merkel (Source: Getty Imgages)

Increasingly, there is a number of top quality winemakers, who, in addition, to their still wines, have started to include Sekts in their portfolio. These Sekts are typically vintage Sekts, from a specified vineyard, made of specific grapes, often Riesling, in the méthode champenoise and with little or not dosage (brut or extra but).

See also:
German Wine Basics: Sekt
French Champagne Houses and German Roots
German Wine Makers in the World: Anton Mueller Invented the Remuage Technique Revolutionizing Sparkling Wine Drinking, 1800s, France
German Wine Makers in the World: Eduard Werle --- Owner of the Veuve Cliquot Champagne house (France)

A German Pinot Noir: 2009 Dreissigacker WUNDERWERK Spätburgunder trocken

There is a red wine revolution going on in Germany and the world increasingly starts to take note of it. Of course, given its location, the red wines of Germany tend to be not like the fruity red wines we know from warmer countries, but lean and more elegant, with a lot of finesse. 30 years ago, the share of red wine in total German wine output was not more than 10 percent; in the international wine scene, people would not talk about German red wine. But this is changing. Germany now produces red wines that can compete with the best of the world; the share of red wines in terms of production has increased to about 35 percent now in Germany and increasingly the international market takes note of what is happening in Germany.

Today, Germany is the third biggest producer of Pinot Noir (called Spaetburgunder in Germany), after France and the US, with more planted than Australia and New Zealand combined. However, despite being the world’s third largest producer of Pinot Noir, the country exports just over 1% of its production.

See also:
One of the Fathers of the German Red Wine Revolution: Weingut Huber in Baden
German Pinot Noirs are increasingly coming to the US Market
The Tim Atkin Pinot Noir Taste-Off of October 2011: Germany Versus the Rest of the World - German Red Wines Show Strong Performance

Except for the Dessert Wine, only Dry/Trocken Wines

Except for the dessert wines, all wines were dry. No wonder: Today, wine loving Germans drink dry. The large majority of the premium wines produced in Germany is dry. And the German (dry) grand cru Rieslings can compete with the best wines in the world. The word is getting around - slowly but surely - and more and more dry German Rieslings appear on the international market.

Picture: Angela Merkel and Michelle Obama Sipping German Wine (Source: Reuters)

See also:
When Americans Drink German Wine - What They Choose

The Wines Angela Merkel Did not Serve

No Kabinett, Spaetlese or Auslese

Tim Raue did not select any Kabinett, Spaetlese or Auslese wines. These are fruity-sweet wines, typically with a low alcohol content. These are the wines the large majority of German wine lovers in the USA associate with Germany and would have expected to be served at the dinner with American President. When you go to the trendy restaurant Spruce in San Francisco, which has won many awards for its exceptional German wine portfolio, these are the wines you find there.

No Mosel Wines

There were no wines from the Mosel Valley, many American wine lovers equate with German wine. No Dr. Loosen, JJ Pruem, Egon Mueller, Fritz Haag, to name a few of the icons from the Mosel Valley. I guess, Tim Raue wanted to make the point that there is much more than the wines from the Mosel Valley in Germany.

No VDP Producers

I think none of my many American wine friends has ever heard of Markus Schneider or Dreissigacker. No wonder, they are not members of the VDP, the German elite winemaker association with 200 or so members. German exports of premium wines are clearly in the hands of the VDP; they account for a large share of German wine exports. Again, I guess, Tim Raue wanted to make the point that there is much more out there than the 200 names of the VDP.

Overall, there are about 30.000 winemakers in Germany and many of them produce excellent wines. Markus Schneider will never become a member of the VDP, given his approach to wine making and marketing. He is not mainstream enough to be able to fit into the VDP framework. Dressigacker, on the other hand, is already in line to be accepted by the VDP. It is just a matter of time.

See also:
Approaches to Classifying German Wine: The Standard Approach (the Law of 1971), the VDP Approach and the Zero Classification Approach
The VDP - the Powerful Group of German Elite Winemakers - Refines its Classification System, Germany
Stepping up: From 3 … to 4 Quality Levels - The New Classification of the VDP, Germany

No Wines from the Region

Finally, Chancellor Merkel, who was born in former West-Germany but grew up in the former GDR, could have served wines from the two wine regions that are in the vicinity of Berlin and that used to belong to the GDR: Sachsen and Saale-Unstrut. These are emerging wine regions as the production of premium wines had come to a halt under socialism. There are a number of talented winemakers, but almost nothing is exported. These are small wine growing areas, the demand in the cities of Dresden, Leipzig, Berlin, Weimar, Erfurt for these wines by the visiting tourists as well as by the locals is high. Thus, prices of the wines from these areas tend to be not competitive, both in the rest of Germany and the international market.

See:
Weingut Pawis in Saale Unstrut, Germany
Weingut Lützkendorf in Saale Unstrut in Germany
Visiting Andre Gussek and his Weingut Winzerhof Gussek in Saale Unstrut, Germany

schiller-wine: Related Postings

1.International Riesling Symposium

Impressions from the Riesling and Co World Tour 2010 in New York

In the Glass: 2009 Kiedricher Turmberg Riesling Trocken and 2009 Riesling Kiedricher Graefenberg Spaetlese, both Weingut R. Weil, Kiedrich, Rheingau

Visiting Wilhelm Weil at his Weingut Robert Weil in Kiedrich, Germany

Visiting Weingut Josef Leitz in Ruedesheim – Johannes Leitz is Germany’s Winemaker of the Year, Gault Millau WeinGuide 2011

When Americans Drink German Wine - What They Choose

German Wine Basics: Sugar in the Grape - Alcohol and Sweetness in the Wine

JJ Pruem Goes Supermarket: Meeting Katharina Pruem and Tasting the Incredible JJ Pruem Wines at Wegmans

German Wine Basics: Sekt

French Champagne Houses and German Roots

German Wine Makers in the World: Anton Mueller Invented the Remuage Technique Revolutionizing Sparkling Wine Drinking, 1800s, France

German Wine Makers in the World: Eduard Werle --- Owner of the Veuve Cliquot Champagne house (France)

German Spaetlese Wines Can Come in Different Versions. I Have Counted Five.

Approaches to Classifying German Wine: The Standard Approach (the Law of 1971), the VDP Approach and the Zero Classification Approach

The VDP - the Powerful Group of German Elite Winemakers - Refines its Classification System, Germany

Stepping up: From 3 … to 4 Quality Levels - The New Classification of the VDP, Germany

Weingut Pawis in Saale Unstrut, Germany

Weingut Lützkendorf in Saale Unstrut in Germany

Visiting Andre Gussek and his Weingut Winzerhof Gussek in Saale Unstrut, Germany 

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