Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

Picture: Impromptu Meeting with Caro Maurer, Master of Wine, in Dresden

The Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours took place from June 11 to June 20, 2015. It was the first tour of this kind, focusing on the lesser known regions east of the Rhine River as well as incorporating a strong art component. This posting provides a summary of the whole tour; further postings will cover individual events.

Annette Schiller in her announcement: “This tour allows wine lovers and aficionados of the arts to experience what the statement “wine is a form of art” entails. We will live the profound relationship between wine, music, dance, and visual arts by visiting Germany’s beautiful, lesser known wine regions, and the region which is the cradle of German culture, and intellectual thinking. We meet winemakers who embody the "wine and art" approach right at their wineries, and we will attend four world-class concert-opera-, and ballet performances in East-and Middle Germany. This tour will tickle all your senses and emotions.”

And indeed: this tour was a feast for all of our senses. My fellow travelers will certainly second my statement. All the wines we tasted were gorgeous, in particular spectacular Pinot-Blancs in Sachsen and Saale-Unstrut; the hospitality of the winemakers / owners was heart warming, the art, and the cultural heritage sights we saw were absolutely amazing, our intellectual capacity was teased to grasp the complexity of European and German history through the personal background family stories some of the wine estate owners shared with us, the concerts, opera, and ballet performances all were breathtakingly beautiful and very emotional.

5 Wine Regions

We visited a total of 19 wineries in 5 different wine regions:

Saale-Unstrut, the northernmost German wine region and former GDR territory. It is situated on the hillsides lining the Saale and Unstrut rivers and produces racy white wines from many white grape varieties;

Sachsen, also located in the former GDR, is the easternmost German wine region and extends some 35 miles north and south of Dresden along the Elbe river. This region tickles all your senses with its unique voluptuous baroque architecture, a rich history, its wealth of art, and love of all the good things in life;

Franken with its Bavarian charm and gorgeous, crisp, crystal clear wines from their signature grape Silvaner;

Württemberg, Germany’s premier red wine region with hearty, bold wines made from grapes like Lemberger (Blaufränkisch in Austria), and Trollinger. This is the region where wine is ingrained in daily life like nowhere else. The Württemberg region has the highest per capita consumption of wine in Germany;

Hessische Bergstrasse, the smallest wine region in Germany with quaint little towns and villages right at the doorsteps of Frankfurt.

Germany with its roughly 250,000 acres under vine belongs today to one of the smaller wine producing countries in the world. However, viticulture in Germany has a long tradition, going back to Roman times 2,000 years ago. In the 15th century, the area under vine was four times larger than it is today. Wars, subsequent loss of territory, diseases, overproduction, and competition from beer brewing resulted in land turned over to other agricultural uses. In the 19th century, concentration on terroir and technological progress fostered a tremendous improvement of quality and the prestige of German wines, in particular from the Mosel, Rheingau, and Pfalz regions, resulting in prices above those for first growth Bordeaux wines. Today, all thirteen wine regions in Germany produce outstanding wines. However, the two regions in the former GDR had a lot of catching up to do. During the communist times from 1945 until reunification in 1989, wine production was nationalized, and winemaking took place in huge VEB (volkseigener Betrieb / company owned by the people) wineries. The output, the bottle count was imposed on the VEB by the State, and therefore quality could not play a major role. The winemaking process was deprived of modern farming and cellar techniques. The majority of wine produced was for the consumption of the communist party members. After the iron curtain came down, family wineries were founded, and the winemakers pursued quality with a vengeance. Some of Germany’s finest Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris today come from the Saale-Unstrut and Sachsen regions.

The Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours 


DAY 1: Thursday, June 11

09:00 am Departure by coach from Frankfurt am Main.

12:00 pm Arrival at the Veste-Wachsenburg, Thuringia, and lunch

The Veste-Wachsenburg is one of the very few intact medieval fortresses in Germany. It sits on the highest elevation of the Thuringia countryside “three fortresses” with a breathtaking view of the surrounding landscape. The restaurant at Veste-Wachsenburg, led by an ambitious chef, serves specialties of Thuringia at the highest level.

Picture: Lunch at Veste-Wachsenburg

02:00 pm Departure at Veste-Wachsenburg.

We stopped in Arnstadt, home to the Bach family clan, to visit the church where Johann Sebastian Bach held his first post as cantor when he was 22 years old.

04:00 pm Arrival at the Winery Lützkendorf (VDP) in Bad Kösen.

Our first stop in the Saale-Unstrut wine region. The Saale-Unstrut wine region sits on 51st latitude and is Germany’s northernmost wine region, located in the valleys of the Saale and Unstrut rivers, an area of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR). The oldest record of viticulture dates back to the year 998 during the reign of Emperor Otto III.

The winery Lützkendorf was founded at the dawn of the 19th century and existed until 1959 when the GDR authorities integrated the estate into the government run Agricultural Cooperative. In 1991, after the reunification of the two German States the vineyards were returned to the family. Uwe Lützkendorf reestablished the winery and built new production facilities in Bad Kösen. The stony soils and the climate of this northern wine region decisively influences the character of the wines. Uwe Lützkendorf’s philosophy of wine making is as little intervention as possible to showcase the character of the wines.

In 1996 the winery Lützkendorf was the first estate in the Saale-Unstrut region to become member of the prestigious VDP, the Association of Germany’s Premium Winemakers.

Pictures: Tasting at Weingut Lützkendorf with Owner and Winemaker Uwe Lützkendorf

See also:
Weingut Lützkendorf in Saale Unstrut in Germany 

07:30 pm Dinner in Naumburg.

After dinner we took a walk through the quaint, little town and tasted some more Saale-Unstrut wines. We also took a look at the impressive late Romanesque and Gothic Cathedral built between the 13th and 15th centuries and at the house of the Nietzsche family, where the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche spent his childhood.

Pictures: Naumburg

DAY 2: Friday, June 12

09.30 am Cellar tour, and wine tasting at the Pawis Winery (VDP) in Freyburg, Saale-Unstrut.

Weingut Pawis – owned and run by Bernhard Pawis - is located in the historic Zscheiplitz Estate, established in the 12th century as a convent, close to Freyburg. It is a gorgeous set-up, but as Bernhard Pawis told us, under the communist regime that did not allow private entrepreneurship, the then nationalized estate was completely run down and renovation was a major undertaking. Bernhard Pawis is a trained winemaker, educated in the former German Democratic Republic in a VEB (volkseigener Betrieb / company owned by the people) winery. Shortly after the Iron Curtain came down in 1989, Bernhard’s parents bought 0.5 hectares of vineyard land and founded a small winery. Following the death of his father in 1998, Bernhard took over the reins, undertook major investments, bought more land and the Zscheiplitz Estate, and paid detailed attention to quality. In 2001 he received the highest reward for his efforts when he was invited to join the VDP, Germany’s association of elite winemakers with only about 200 members. To listen to him, and also to his fellow winemakers in this former GDR area, recount their stories of reviving an economic and agriculture waste land after German reunification, is living history and worthy of a spy thriller.

Pictures: At Weingut Pawis with Bernhard and Markus Pawis

See also:
Weingut Pawis (Saale Unstrut): Estate Tour and Wine Tasting with Kerstin Pawis – Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

11:30 am Departure and short drive to Gröst.

Picture: Vineyards in the Saale-Unstrut Wine Region

12:15 pm Wine pairing lunch, and cellar visit at winery Thürkind in Gröst, Saale-Unstrut

This winery was founded shortly after reunification when the government returned land to the Thürkind family which had been nationalized during the communist era. The land included 3 acres of vineyards. Rudolf Thürkind used to work as cellar master in the cooperative in Freyburg and winemaker colleagues of the wine regions in the western part of Germany encouraged the Thürkinds to start producing their own wine. Today, more than twenty years later, the Thürkind family owns 15 acres of vineyards in very favorable sites and developed the old farm into into a beautiful estate, making excellent wines, including gorgeous Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris. Son Mario Thürkind is now at the helm of the estate.

Pictures: At Weingut Thürkind with Mario and Antje Thürkind


04:30 pm Arrival in Leipzig and check-in at the Mercure Hotel Leipzig.

08:00 pm Gewandhaus Leipzig.

Concert with the full Gewandhaus orchestra as part of the Leipzig Bachfest.

It was the opening day of the Bachfestival in Leipzig. The entire city was filled with music, the market square was an open air concert hall, and the Gewandhaus was of course sold out. We listened to Verdi’s and Rossini’s Stabat Mater interpretations as well as to Verdi’s Te Deum. Besides a full orchestra these musical scores also require a large mixed choir. It is a rare occasion to have both a world-class orchestra and a world-class choir creating a musical unity. The four solo singers were also world-renowned artists and we were utterly blessed being able to experience such a phenomenal concert. I first was disappointed when I saw that the Gewandhaus conductor Ricardo Chailly was replaced by Michele Mariotti for this concert. But this young conductor was outstanding. He totally immersed in the music and created emotions that spilled over to the audience. Maybe this was very personal for him since he was born in the same town as Rossini.

Pictures: At the Gewandhaus in Leipzig

DAY 3: Saturday, June 13

10:00 am Guided walking tour through Leipzig.

This city is a gem for classical music lovers. There is no space to list all the world-famous composers, conductors, musicians, opera singers, and poets, who lived and worked in Leipzig. We paid a visit to the St. Thomas church, home of the world-renowned “Thomanerchor”, the Sankt Thomas Boys Choir, and a place of musical creativity. This church is also the final resting place of its most famous cantor, Johann Sebastian Bach.

We also visited the Nikolai church, where the collapse of the communist systems in Eastern Europe and eventually the reunification of Germany began. For months on end, every Monday evening people gathered inside the church praying and demonstrating for freedom, before the protests spilled out onto the streets leading to the fall of the Berlin Wall that changed the world order established after World War II.

We took a look at Auerbachs Keller. It is the second oldest restaurant in Leipzig dating back to the early 15th century. This was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s hangout when he was a student at the uni versity of Leipzig. He made this restaurant immortal by mentioning the vaulted barrel cellar in his epic “Faust”.

Pictures: In Leipzig

We stopped at the “Baumwollspinnerei”, a vast, old, former cotton-spinning mill converted to a mecca for the visual arts. More than 50 artists, among them internationally acclaimed Neo Rauch, flagship of the “Leipziger Schule”, live, work, and exhibit here. This has put Leipzig on the global art tourism map.

Pictures: At the Baumwollspinnerei in Leipzig

04:30 pm Arrival, cellar tour and tasting at winery Schloss Proschwitz, Prinz zur Lippe (VDP) in Zadel, Sachsen.

The Prinz zur Lippe family was first mentioned in the early 12th century and belonged to the reigning dynasties in Europe until 1918. For more than 300 years, the family branch of Georg Prinz zur Lippe, owner of winery Schloss Proschwitz, lived in Sachsen and produced wine. However there is a 45 year long interruption, when in 1945 the Russians occupied the eastern half of Germany, and disappropriated and expelled the family. Immediately after Germany’s reunification Georg Prinz zur Lippe started to buy back his family’s wine estate and ancestral residence, the Proschwitz castle. Since then he has restored the castle to its former glory, and invested heavily to build up the winery to become a state of the art wine producing estate. With 220 acres under vine the estate belongs to one of the larger wineries in Germany and is the largest privately owned one in Sachsen. Great care is given to sustainable techniques in the vineyard to enable future generations to continue to produce outstanding wines. Professor Dr. Prinz Georg zur Lippe was our host. He also joint us for dinner.

Pictures: At Winery Schloss Proschwitz, Prinz zur Lippe (VDP) in Zadel, with Prinz Georg zur Lippe

06:30 pm Wine pairing dinner at Lippe'sches Gutshaus, Schloss Proschwitz. The regional, fresh cuisine with a sophisticated twist – a perfect pairing with the Schloss Proschwitz wines - received the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs award in 2011.

Pictures: Wine Pairing Dinner at Lippe'sches Gutshaus, Schloss Proschwitz, with Prinz zur Lippe

08:45 pm Arrival and check-in at Welcome Hotel in Meissen.

We enjoyed the view across the Elbe river on the beautiful historic city of Meissen with the cathedral and the mighty Albrechtsburg castle.

Picture: Meissen (View from the Hotel)

DAY 4: Sunday, June 14

09:00 am Visit of the Albrechtsburg Castle in Meissen

The Albrechtsburg is a late Gothic castle built in the 15th century, and Germany’s oldest castle. It sits majestically on a rock above the Elbe river and presents together with the cathedral of Meissen a gorgeous panorama. Later the castle was superseded by the Dresden castle as the new seat of the Wettin dynasty who eventual produced the kings of Saxony and Poland. It was here where the King Augustus II the Strong of Saxony established the first European Porcelain manufacture in 1710 under the supervision of Johann Friedrich Böttger. The world-famous Meissen porcelain was produced at the Albrechtsburg until 1863, when the location became too small and the manufacture moved to its present location in Meissen.

Pictures: Visit of the Albrechtsburg Castle in Meissen

11:30 am Visit and tasting at winery Karl Friedrich Aust in Radebeul, Sachsen.

The origins of the “Meinholdsche Turmhaus” (tower building), the heart of the winery Aust, dates back to the year 1650. Wine was already made here in the 18th century. The Aust family was able to purchase the estate in 1975 and restored this historical gem on their own initiative. However, during the communist era they were only allowed to produce 100 liters of wine for their own consumption. The fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 opened unforeseen opportunities. The new situation allowed the Aust family to cultivate their own 13 acres of vineyards, and the winery Karl Friedrich Aust was born. Karl Friedrich trained at prominent estates in the western part of Germany to learn the art of making wine and has now become a top wine maker in his own right. Wine and art is closely intertwined in the Aust family. Cordelia Friederike Curling-Aust, the sister of winemaker Karl Friedrich Aust has her own art studio and art school in the historic buildings of the estate. Her husband Brian Curling's graphic art is on display at the winery and changing exhibits are organized throughout the year.

Pictures: Visit of Weingut Aust with Owner and Winemaker Karl Friedrich Aust

12:30 pm Wine pairing lunch at the winery. This tiny restaurant with its tiny kitchen produces outstanding food. Local, organic ingredients and a gifted, very talented chef make for stunning, tasty, creative dishes.

Pictures: Wine Pairing Lunch at Weingut Karl Friedrich Aust

03:30 pm Arrival in Dresden and check-in at INNSIDE hotel.

We took a stroll through the historic part of Dresden, before the opera evening.

Pictures: Dresden

07:00 pm Semperoper Dresden.

Opera: "The Magic Flute" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

I have seen many “Magic Flute” performances, the last one two years ago at Covent Garden in London. But this production was entirely different. When I read in the program that the production was by Achim Freyer I knew we would be in for a surprise. I remember Achim Freyer from a visit of the “Documenta” in Kassel many years ago. The Documenta is a happening of artistic creativity, an ultra modern, edgy, experimental art exhibit taking place every five years. Someone who exhibited there is certainly not mainstream. This “Magic Flute” performance definitely was modern and interpreted from a fresh new vantage point reflecting much more the idea of a fairy tale opera as amusement for the people. The orchestra and the singers were outstanding, as expected of a Semperoper production. I loved the costumes and the production but not everybody shared my enthusiasm for modern interpretations.

Pictures: "The Magic Flute" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at the Semperopera and After-opera Drinks at the "Italienisches Dörfchen" Restaurant

DAY 5: Monday, June 15

10:00 am Visit and tasting at winery Klaus Zimmerling (VDP) in Oberpoyritz, Sachsen.

In 1992, shortly after reunification, Klaus Zimmerling founded this winery. This is a very special place, hard to describe – you have to feel it - where art and wine is intimately intertwined. Two people, two passions, a heart warming experience: Klaus Zimmerling, the grape whisperer, who sees his vineyard, the perfectly shaped, southern facing Rysselkuppe as a gift and natural wonder, which imposes on him the duty to go the extra mile to produce extraordinary wine; Malgorzata Chodakoska, his wife, who sculptures graceful feminine figures in her studio, which sits in the middle of the vines. Every year one of her sculptures will serve as model for the bottle label of that particular vintage.

Pictures: With Winemaker Klaus Zimmerling and his Wife, Artist Malgorzata Chodakoska, at Weingut Zimmerling

01:30 pm Lunch at the Wintergarten Café at Schlosshotel Pillnitz.

The Pillnitz castle and surrounding park, built in 1720, is the most important and largest chinoise castle in Europe. Later it became the summer residence of the Saxon kings and many juicy stories surround the castle still today, because August the Strong bestowed the castle on his favorite mistress, the Countess Cosel.

After lunch had a bit of time to stroll through the park and to enjoy the view across the Elbe river on the city of Dresden in the distance. Then we took the ferry boat across the Elbe River to drive back to Dresden.

Pictures: Schlosshotel Pillnitz

04:30 pm Guided tour through the Royal Palace in Dresden and the museum complex.

Dresden has a long history as the capital of the kingdom of Saxony. For centuries the Saxon royals spared no money and effort to furnish the city with artistic, and cultural splendor. The baroque and rococo city center, and wealth of art, gave the city the nickname: “Florence of the north”. In modern times, until 1933, Dresden was Europe’s capital of modern art. The allied bombing at the end of World War II wiped out the city. During GDR times some of the most important historical monuments were restored. After reunification reconstruction intensified, and major reconstruction projects, including rebuilding the “Frauenkirche”, were completed. The restoration of the Royal Palace was only completed in 2013. We were able to visit the “Grünes Gewölbe” (Green Vault), and the “Türckische Cammer” (Turkish Chamber).


DAY 6: Tuesday, June 16

11:30 am Arrival in Bayreuth, Bavaria.

We stopped at the “Festspielhaus Bayreuth” (Bayreuth Festival Theater), the opera house dedicated solely to the performances of the operas of Richard Wagner. We will also stopped by “Wahnfried” the home of Richard and Cosima Wagner, which is now the Wagner museum and archives. I quote the former German secretary of State, Hans-Dietrich Genscher: “Richard Wagner’s Bayreuth home “Wahnfried” is an outstanding cultural place, but also a symbol of German history – in its contradictoriness and entanglements.”

Pictures: In Bayreutt at the Home of Richard and Cosima Wagner and at the Festspielhaus

12:30 pm Lunch at Ristorante Bürgerreuth, close to the Festspielhaus.

04:30 pm Visit and tasting at winery Wirsching (VDP) in Iphofen, Franken.

Making dry Silvaner, Rieslings, Scheurebe, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Gris has been a family tradition for over 375 years. The current generation at the helm of the estate, Dr. Heinrich Wirsching is convinced that good wines originate in the vineyard. Therefore a lot of attention is given to the work outside the cellar doors, and the Wirsching wines, in particular the Silvaner, are among the best in Germany, Wirsching is an advocate of the Bocksbeutel bottle, the odd, round shaped flacon like bottle. He feels that this is the perfect bottle for his wines, so deeply rooted in their traditional Franken soil and heritage.

Pictures: At Weingut Wirsching with General Manager Dr. Uwe Matheus

07:00 pm Arrival in Würzburg and check-in at Hotel Greifensteiner Hof.

We had dinner at the famous Bürgerspital and then went over for a glass of wine to the Alte Mainbrücke with stunning views of the Marienberg Fortress on the hill across the Main river.

Pictures: Dinner at Bürgerspital

Pictures: At Alte Main Brücke

DAY 7: Wednesday, June 17

09:45 am Arrival, cellar tour and tasting at winery Am Stein Ludwig Knoll (VDP) in Würzburg, Franken.

This winery is beautifully situated right in the middle of the world-renowned vineyard “Würzburger Stein”. Sandra and Ludwig Knoll, the fifth generation of the founding family, run the estate and pursue quality with a vengeance. They are convinced that great wines, expressive and rich in character, are the result of creative minds and the obligation to deal with nature and its resources responsibly in order to leave behind healthy soils for the generations to come.

Pictures: At Weingut am Stein with Christian Lau

01:00 pm Lunch at restaurant Gasthaus Stern in Dorfprozelten.

03:00 pm Arrival, cellar tour, vineyards tour, and tasting at winery Rudolf Fürst (VDP) in Bürgstadt, Franken.

The Miltenberg basin in the western tip of Franken between the forested hills of the Odenwald and the Spessart, where Bürgstadt is located, provides ideal climatic conditions for first-class viticulture. The weathered colored sandstone of the Centgrafenberg vineyard in Bürgstadt and the extremely steep slopes of the Schlossberg vineyard in Klingenberg are home to the most extraordinary Früh-and Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir précos and Pinot Noir) produced by Paul Fürst and his son Sebastian. The Fürst family has been producing wine in this area since 1638. In addition to the reds, brilliant white wines such as Riesling, Weissburgunder and Franken’s signature wine, Silvaner are also produced here.

Pictures: At Weingut Fürst with Paul and Sebastion Fürst

06:30 pm Back in Würzburg.

08:00 pm Imperial Hall in the Würzburg Residence

Concert as part of the Mozart Festival in Würzburg: Mozart and Magnard: Quintett for Piano and Wind Section; Poulenc: Sextett for Piano and Wind Section.

Walking up the grand staircase under the Tiepolo ceiling painting and sitting in the Imperial Hall of the Würzburg residence with its voluptuous baroque architecture and wall and ceiling paintings waiting for the concert to begin was already a treat. We heard three pieces for wind and piano, one quintet by Mozart, a sextet by Francis Poulence and another quintet by Albéric Magnard, an almost forgotten French composer. All six artists play with the top orchestras in France and share the passion of also playing chamber music. The concert was exquisite. During the half hour intermission the Residence garden was illuminated by torches and candles to allow for a leisurely promenade. It could not get more romantic.

Pictures: Concert in the Imperial Hall in the Würzburg Residence

DAY 8: Thursday, June 18

09:00 am Visit of the Würzburg Imperial Residence.

This imperial palace is one of the largest in Europe and one of the most homogeneous and most extraordinary Baroque castles. The palace was built in 1720 by the Prince Bishop, Johann Philip Franz von Schönborn who wanted to construct a residence worthy of his position as absolute monarch. In 1814 Würzburg became part of the Kingdom of Bavaria. The Bavarian king made Munich the capital and his residence. Thus Würzburg was no longer a center of power, but its splendor is still remarkable today.

Picture: Imperial Residence, Würzburg


12:30 pm Lunch at restaurant Zum Alten Rentamt in Schwaigern, Württemberg.

Pictures: Lunch at Restaurant Zum Alten Rentamt in Schwaigern, Württemberg

01:45 pm Visit and tasting at winery Graf Neipperg (VDP) in Schwaigern, Württemberg.

Proprietor Count Karl-Eugen zu Neipperg is a descendant of an Austrian / German noble line dating back to the Holy Roman Empire. Members of this dynasty always played important roles in European history and politics, and have been making wine since the 12th century. Today branches of the dynasty make wine in Germany, France, and Bulgaria. (During my tour to Bordeaux we will visit the estate of Karl-Eugen’s brother Stephan, the owner of Château Canon La Gaffelière in Saint-Emilion.) The Counts of Neipperg are said to have brought the Lemberger grape (in Austria: Blaufränkisch) to Germany in the 17th century. The Lemberger red wines in Württemberg can effortlessly achieve the caliber of its international counterparts as a deep-colored, full-bodied wine with powerful tannins. The estate’s focus is on the regions traditional grape varieties including the white specialities Muskateller and Traminer.

Pictures: At Weingut Graf Neipperg in Schwaigern, Württemberg, with Björn Schilling

04:15 pm Tasting at winery Dautel (VDP) in Bönnigheim, Württemberg.

Viticulture has been a tradition in the Dautel family since 1510. In 1995 Ernst Dautel was one of the first winemakers to age his red wines in barrique barrels, and to create red wine cuvées, a novelty in those days in Germany. The 27 acres of vineyards are planted with the traditional Württemberg grape varieties, Lemberger (Blaufränkisch in Austria), and Trollinger as well as with Pinot-Noir, Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot- Blanc. Today, son Christian, who is a graduate of the renowned Geisenheim oenological university, follows in his father’s footsteps farming the land organically and sharing his conviction that great wines can only be produced with meticulous work in the vineyard and a patient hands-off approach in the cellar.

Pictures: At Weingut Dautel with Christian Dautel

06:00 pm Arrival and check-in at Romantikhotel Friedrich von Schiller in Bietigheim-Bissingen.

This is a beautiful, upscale hotel which emphazises the essence of German "Gemütlichkeit". The owners, Regine and Burkhard Schork are good friends of ours and our group will be greeted with warm swabian hospitality.

Pictures: At Romantikhotel Friedrich von Schiller in Bietigheim-Bissingen, with owners Regine and Chef Burkhard Schork

07:00 pm Wine pairing dinner at restaurant Friedrich von Schiller in Bietigheim-Bissingen.

We wenjoyed a Swabian dinner with a modern twist by well-known Chef Burkhard Schork in this beautiful gourmet restaurant. The wines were all from up and coming winemakers in the region. Regine and Chef Burkhard Schork joined us after the dinner.

Pictures: Dinner at Romantikhotel Friedrich von Schiller in Bietigheim-Bissingen, with Owners Regine and Burkhard Schork

DAY 9: Friday, June 19

09:30 am Check-out at hotel and departure.

Pictures: Leaving after a very good Breakfast

10:00 am Visit and tasting at winery Herzog von Württemberg (VDP) at Schloss Monrepos in Ludwigsburg, Württemberg.

The art of winemaking at the House of Württemberg goes back to the 13th century. With 100 acres under vine it is the largest privately owned winery in Württemberg. Their vineyard sites are in the most prestigious parcels in Württemberg and tasting the Herzog von Württemberg portfolio is a high-class journey through the best of the best that the Württemberg wine region has to offer. Owner is H.R.H. Carl Herzog von Württemberg and he makes sure that old tradition and modern knowledge go hand in hand to produce outstanding wines. In 1981 a new, modern winery was constructed in the romantic park of the beautiful Castle Monrepos, the royal family of Württemberg’s lakeside weekend and hunting retreat.

Pictures: At Weingut Herzog von Württemberg with Owner H.R.H. Carl Herzog von Württemberg and Winemaker Moriz Just

12:00 pm Lunch at restaurant Gutsschänke at Schloss Monrepos.

02:00 pm Visit and tasting at winery Rainer Schnaitmann (VDP) in Fellbach, Württemberg.

For over 500 years the Schnaitmann family has been making wine in the Rems and Neckar valleys. The 1997 vintage was the first one that Rainer Schnaitmann produced under his own name. In 2000 the winery was certified as organic winegrowing estate according to the EEC regulation on ecological winemaking. With 60 acres of vineyards, this winery belongs to the larger estates in Württemberg. Schnaitmann definitely helped putting Württemberg back on the map for the serious wine aficionado. To make your palate watering, I quote tasting notes by Rudi Wiest: “In the glass this Lemberger is an elegant deep violet red. The nose is nice and open revealing ripe cherries, blackberries, licorice and vanilla. The fine minerality shows some flinty notes and spices of bay leaf, juniper and fresh ground black pepper round out this Lemberger’s complex flavor spectrum. Juicy on the palate, the fruit sweetness is delicate with a refreshing minerality and balanced acidity and tannin structure.”

Pictures: At Weingut Rainer Schnaitmann with Rainer Schnaitmann

05:45 pm Arrival and check-in at Hotel Royal in Stuttgart.

07:00 pm Theater Stuttgart, Stuttgart Ballet Company.

"A Streetcar named Desire", Ballet in two parts by John Neumeier based on the play by Tennessee Williams. Music by Sergej Prokofjew and Alfred Schnittke. World Premiere at the Stuttgart Ballet on December 3, 1983.

The Stuttgart Ballet, founded in 1609 as court ballet of the Dukes of Württemberg, was made world famous by South-African born dancer John Cranko after he was appointed director of the ballet in 1961. It is known for its exciting and visually arresting style and for creating full-length narrative ballets. We saw a fascinating, thrilling, suspense-laden performance of “A Streetcar named Desire”, a production by American dancer and choreographer John Neumeier. the leading global figure of the dance scene. His interpretation was cutting edge, very modern, athletic but at the same time very emotional, and the music by Prokofjew and Schnittke underscored beautifully the choreography. This evening reinforced my penchant for modern ballet.

Picture: At Stuttgart Ballet

Hessische Bergstrasse

DAY 10: Saturday, June 20

11:00 am Visit, tasting, and wine pairing lunch at winery Simon-Bürkle in Zwingenberg, Hessische Bergstrasse.

This is a very young winery by German standards. It was founded in 1991 by two friends who shared a common devotion to and philosophy of winemaking. The late Kurt Simon and the late Wilfried Bürkle met during their studies at the Weinsberg Viticultural School, and upon completion of their studies they decided to start a winery. Their obsession with quality brought the winery to the top of what the Bergstrasse has to offer. After the untimely death of Kurt Simon in 2003, his wife Dagmar continued his work together with Wilfried Bürkle. In 2013 Wilfried Bürkle passed away and many asked what will become of this winery without the two founding shakers and movers. Wilfried’s son Johannes studied winemaking and together with Dagmar Simon they continue the legacy. In the just released Gault & Millau 2015: "This year again no other winery at the Hessische Bergstrasse produced wines showing the pronounced characteristics of the different grape varieties and vineyards in this way."

Pictures: At Weingut Simon-Bürkle with Johannes Bürkle and Dagmar Simon

01:00 pm Lunch at restaurant Altes Brauhaus in Zwingenberg.

03:15 pm Arrival at Frankfurt International Airport.

Picture: Frankfurt Airport

schiller-wine: Related Postings

Bourgogne Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), France

4 Wine Tours by ombiasy coming up in 2015: Germany-East, Germany-South. Germany-Nord and Bordeaux 

Preview: Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014

Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014

Weingut Lützkendorf in Saale Unstrut in Germany

Weingut Pawis (Saale Unstrut): Estate Tour and Wine Tasting with Kerstin Pawis – Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

No comments:

Post a Comment