Tuesday, April 15, 2014

2014 Apfelwein Weltweit - Apple Wine World Wide - in Frankfurt, Germany: Schiller’s Favorites

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller, Michael Stoeckl and Andreas Schneider at 2014 Apfelwein Weltweit

Frankfurt am Main is definitely the apple wine capital of Germany and some say of the whole world. Apple wine is a German variant of (hard) cider, which is made all over the world, in same regions sparkling, in others sweet. In Frankfurt, you are typically served a tart, dry apple wine with around 6 percent alcohol, in one of the many apple wine taverns.

Apfelwein Weltweit 2014

Apfelwein Weltweit, previously Apfelwein im Römer, is an annual event in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, that brings together cider producers from all over the world. Until last year, the event took place at the Römer - the historical mayor’s office in the center of Frankfurt – and was called Apfelwein im Roemer. This year, it moved to a new location, the Palmengarten (a botanic park in the Westend district of Frankfurt) and was renamed Apfelwein Weltweit.

Apfelwein Sommelier Michael Stoeckl and Apfelwein Producer Andreas Schneider are the founders and driving force behind Apfelwein Weltweit.

This year, more than 90 producers presented about 200 Apfelwein, (hard) cider, apple juice and other apple specialties, from Germany and abroad, in including from the Czech Republic, Denmark, Spain, France and Austria.

Special Guest

This year’s special guest was the Mostviertel in Austria.

Pictures: Mostviertel Guests

Making Apple Wine (Hard Cider)

Just as wine making begins in the vineyard, cider making begins in the orchard. Tree ripened fruit, picked at maximum flavor and sweetness is the best starting point for cider. But there is one big difference between cider and wine: Apples must be ground before pressing. The entire apple is ground to a pulp called pommace. The pulp is almost always pressed immediately. The next step is the fermentation. Generally, there is less sugar to ferment in apples than in grapes. Therefore, cider tends to have lower alcohol content than wine.

Pictures: 2014 Apfelwein Weltweit at the Palmengarten in Frankfurt am Main, Germany

In the cellar, cider makers have as many options for managing fermentation as winemakers — chaptalisation, wild yeast, temperature control, adding sterilized juice, malolactic fermentation, stopping fermentation before dryness to achieve a naturally sweetened cider, to name a few issues.

Like wine made from grapes, the flavor of cider can vary from dry to sweet. Like sparkling and still wine, both sparkling and still ciders are made. Sometimes the cider is cloudy with sediment and sometimes completely clear. The color can range from light yellow through orange to brown. The variations in clarity and color are mostly due to filtering between pressing and fermentation. In terms of alcohol content, cider can vary from 2% to 8.5%. Generally, apples grown for consumption are suitable for cider making, although there are also special cider apples.

Pictures: Tasting Apples and Apple Wine

For sparkling cider, basically the same methods are available as for sparkling wine. Higher quality ciders can be made the same way as Champagne is produced. A few producers in Quebec, inspired ice wine, have developed cidre de glace - ice cider. Calvados from Normandy is distilled from cider. Cider may also be used to make vinegar.

Cider in the World and Apple Wine in Frankfurt am Main

Apple wine is a German variant of cider, which is made all over the world. The French cidre is produced in Normandy and Brittany. It comes as cidre doux, cidre demi-sec and cidre brut, but most French cidre is sweet. Typically, French ciders are sparkling. Higher quality French cider is sold in champagne-style bottles (cidre bouché). German cider has a tart, sour taste. In the UK, cider is available in sweet, medium and dry varieties. In the US during colonial times, apple cider was the main beverage, but after prohibition the word cider came to mean unfiltered apple juice. Alcoholic cider is called hard cider in the US. German apple wine typically has an alcohol content of 4%–9% and a tart, sour taste. Traditionally, it is not bubbly.

Cider was already known to the ancient Greeks and Romans. In the 11th century it was introduced into Spain and was used there as a medicine for scurvy. It was introduced into England in 1066 when William the Great brought some from France into England.

Apple Wine in Frankfurt am Main, Germany and Cider in the World

Schiller’s Favorites

The Premium Apple Wines of Andreas Schneider

A few years ago, a number of apple wine producers ventured into the art of apple wine making by starting to produce vintage apple wines and special variety apple wines. While the choice of apple wine in an apple wine tavern is as basic as it can get (the house apple wine), the apple wine portfolios of the artisan apple wine producers resemble very much those of the Rheingau or Rheinhessen wine makers a few miles away: There is a variety of different apple wines, with the vintage, apple variety, alcohol level, and other information indicated. One of the leaders of this new generation of artisan apple wine producers is Andreas Schneider.

It all started in 1965, when his parents Albert and Waltraud Schneider founded the Obsthof am Steinberg in Nieder-Erlenbach at the outskirts of Frankfurt am Main. Andreas took over from his parents in 1993 and began to convert to organic farming. Since 1996, he has been certified by ABCERT AG, Esslingen. In 1999, he opened his apple wine tavern and garden. On Andreas’ 13 hectares of land, not only apples are planted, but 14 different fruits, mainly of course apples.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Andreas Schneider

Andreas Schneider currently sells several non-vintage, uncomplicated apple wines (Apfelweine ab Fass) directly from the barrel for Euro 2 per liter. He also offers a dozen or so still vintage apple wines (Jahrgangsapfelweine) in the Euro 4 to 12 per 0.75 liter range. In terms of remaining sweetness, they come as trocken, fast trocken and halbtrocken. Most of them are in the 7% to 8% alcohol range. The top wines are 2 sparkling apple wines (Apfelschaumweine), both made in the traditional champagne method and both brut.

See also:
The Premium Apple Wines of Andreas Schneider - Obsthof am Steinberg - in Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Apple Wine Sommelier Michael Stoeckl

Another icon in the apple wine world of Frankfurt am Main is Michael Stoeckl. He runs the country restaurant Landsteiner Muehle in the Taunus, about ¾ of an hour north of Frankfurt by car. Michael Stoeckl’s passion is apple wine. He calls himself “Apple Wine Sommelier” and his restaurant “Apple Wine Bistrorant”, suggesting that it is a combination of Apple Wine Tavern, Bistro and Restaurant, focusing on apple wine in terms of drinks and food. The selection of apple wines available at the Landsteiner Muehle is indeed impressive: Ranging from Michael Stoeckl’s own apple wine to the premium apple wines of Andreas Schneider in Frankfurt am Main and other German producers to ciders made in other parts of the world.

Last year, Michael Stoeckl published "Der Apfelweinschmecker", a a nice little guide to all about apple wine in the Frankfurt region.

Picture: Michael Stoeckl and Andreas Schneider

See also:
In an Apple Wine (Cider) Mecca: The Apple Wine Bistrorant Landsteiner Muehle of Apple Wine Sommelier Michael Stoeckl near Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Apple Wine Tavern Zur Buchscheer

In Frankfurt, much of the apple wine is consumed at the wooden, communal tables in the local apple wine taverns with hearty local food, like Green Sauce (made from 7 herbs and yogurt accompanied by boiled eggs and boiled potatoes), Rippchen mit Kraut und Brot (grilled pork, sauerkraut and bread). It is served in a Geripptes, a glass with a lozenge cut that refracts light. A filled Geripptes is called a Schoppen. If you drink more than a glass or are in a group, you typically order a Bembel (a specific Apfelwein jug). The different sizes of a Bembel are designated after their contents in glasses from 4-er to 10-er Bembel.

Picture: Buchscheer Owner Robert Theobald and his Wife

The apple wine tavern (Apfelweinwirtschaft) is as distinctive a Frankfurt institution as the Bierkeller is of Munich or the Weinstube of Mainz. Many of the best-known establishments are concentrated in Sachsenhausen, but others are dotted all over the city. They are strongly traditional. They offer hearty local cuisine, usually at moderate prices.

Overall, the various apple wine taverns do not differ that much one from another. However, while most of the apple wine taverns pour an apple wine bought from an apple wine producer, there are a few taverns that still make the apple wine they serve on the premise.

Zur Buchscheer in Frankfurt Sachsenhausen is one of the apple wine taverns in Frankfurt, where the apple wine you drink is also produced on the premise.

See also:
Apple Wine Tavern Zur Buchscheer in Frankfurt am Main, Germany – The Traditional Way: Apple Wine Made on the Premises 
Schiller's Favorite Apple Wine Taverns in Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Apple Wine Tavern Mainlust Desche Otto

Mainlust Desche Otto is a small and cosy apple wine tavern with a lovely garden, run by Claudia and Louie - in walking distance from where I live in Frankfurt am Main. Claudia and Louie's motto is "hard-core Hessian". They strive for the "not so usual", with delicious local fare with a modern touch, over 100 brandies (Louie's passion) and a concert series during the summer months. In addition to the regular "Haus Schoppen" they have a second, special "Haus Schoppen" that changes when the barrel is drunk up.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Claudia Olinski and Louie Hoelzinger

Zur Mainlust “Desche Otto” is a traditional apple wine tavern, with an innovative twist. For many years, it was run and owned by Otto Desch, hence the name. It opened in 1890.

Zur Mainlust “Desche Otto” is off the beaten track and thus belongs to the category of apple wine taverns in Frankfurt, where the share of tourists and foreigners is very low. Your rarely meet non-Frankfurters in this very charming apple wine tavern. In the “Schankstube” (Barroom) there are 7 tables for 8 to 10 people. On the wall, there is a picture of Chancellor Bismarck, which probably has been hanging there since the days when Bismarck was Chancellor. In addition, there is a nice and cosy garden restaurant, which is open during the summer months until 10 p.m. And then there is the “Tresen” (Bar) where people sit on barstools.

The food is typical apple wine tavern food, with the standards such as Rippchen mit Sauerkraut (grilled pork, sauerkraut and bread) and Handkäs mit Musik - a Frankfurt cheese specialty with “Musik” (oil, vinegar and onions).

There is no English version of the menu – only very few apple wine taverns have an English version of their menu. In fact, there is not even a menu in German! The menu is in “Hessisch” – the local dialect, suggesting to the guests what Louie and Claudia have in mind – back to the local roots.

A house specialty is the Deckelcher - Louie invented them. When you sit outside in the garden restaurant, people sometimes bring little wooden lids for the apple wine glasses to prevent leaves from falling into the glass.

From time to time, the place rocks and rolls. Claudia and Louie like music and have a concert series there. The program for the first months of 2013 was just put on the web.

See also:
Mainlust “Desche Otto” – an Ultra Traditional Apple Wine Tavern, with an Innovative Twist, off the Beaten Track in Schwanheim, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Kelterei Possmann

In terms of quantity, the most important apple wine producer in Frankfurt is Possmann. Heil from the Taunus region has gained considerable market shares in recent years. In addition, Rapps and Hoehl are two large apple wine producers in Hessen; their apple wine is very popular in Frankfurt.

Picture: Apple Wine Possmann and Frau Rauscher

Kelterei Noell

Kelterei Noell in Griesheim, Frankfurt, is a new-comer in the industry and still small in terms of volume, but has started to produce single variety apple wines and sparkling apple wines, like Andreas Schneider.

Pictures: Gerhard, Maria and Alexander Noell and their Sparkling Apple Wine

Originally, Noell was a cooperage (founded in 1976). In the 1960s, Karl Nöll and his son Gerhard (the current General Manager) converted the cooperage into an apple wine producer. Over the following years, the portfolio was gradually expanded. When Gerhard’s son Alexander came on board, he pushed the portfolio further into the premium range by including single variety and sparkling apple wines, along the lines of Andreas Schneider.

Today, in addition to the classicals, you find a range of single variety apple wines, the dessert apple wine Äppel - Dream (aged in wood) and a range of sparkling premium apple wines (dry and brut) in the portfolio of Kelterei Noell.

Mostly Wine, but also Apple Wine: Weingut von Racknitz

Weingut von Racknitz, an up and coming premium wine producer, is in Odernheim in the Nahe Valley. It is the former estate of the monastery Disibodenberg. For over 200 years, winery and monastery ruins have been owned by the von Racknitz family. Since 2003, Louise von Racknitz-Adams and Matthias Adams have been the owners of Weingut von Racknitz. The vineyard area totals 15 hectares in the Rotenfels (Traisen), Königsfels (Schloßböckelheim), Kloster Disibodenberg (almost exclusive possession)(Odernheim), Hermannshöhle, Kertz, Klamm, Kieselberg (Oberhausen) and Rosenheck (Niederhausen). They are planted with up to 60-year-old Riesling vines.

Picture: Matthias Adams

I did not know that Weingut von Racknitz also produces apple wine. But Matthias Adams explained to me that they have started to produce a non-vintage sparkling apple wine – Glasperlenspiel (Euro 9 at Weingut von Racknitz). The apples for the most come from the near-by Naturpark Soonwald-Nahe. The most was spontaneously fermented and then spent 2 years on the lees.

Cidre - France

2 French cidre producers came to Frankfurt to show their products. Le Paulmier from the Normandie and Kystin from the Bretagne.

Le Paulmier

Sowine Le Blog: En voilà une bonne nouvelle : après ses jus de pommes bio pétillants haut de gamme Pommillon et Pépinelle -pour la version rosé-, la Maison LE PAULMIER vient de lancer deux nouveaux produits : le Cidre et le Poiré du Bocage.

SOWINE_cidre_du_bocage Fidèle à l’esprit de Julien Le Paulmier, sieur de Grentemesnil en 1585 et fondateur de la pomologie, la Maison Le Paulmier travaille au renouveau du verger et à la préservation de son écosystème. A l’instar de ses contemporains, Julien Le Paulmier se plaisait à marier en secret la sauge ou l’absinthe pour créer ses cidres spéciaux. Avec son Cidre et son Poiré du Bocage, la Maison Le Paulmier invite à nouveau à la découverte de saveurs oubliées !

Pictures: Benoit Simotel and his Le Paulmier Ciders

De la poire aux baies d’aubépine pour le Poiré du Bocage, de la pomme aux baies d’églantier pour le Cidre du Bocage : la Maison Le Paulmier revisite la tradition perdue des alliances entre le verger et la haie.


K&U – Die Weinhalle: Die nordfranzösische Normandie gilt als die Heimat des Cidre, eines moussierenden Apfelweines, der aus verschiedenen Apfelsorten vergoren und durch Karbonisierung oder Fermentation in der Flasche mit Kohlensäure angereichert wird. Doch wer sich auskennt weiß, daß der beste Cidre Frankreichs aus der Bretagne kommt. Dort entdeckten wir einen Edel-Cidre, der uns vom ersten Schluck an so begeisterte, daß wir uns sofort auf die Suche machten...

Picture: Michael Stoeckl and Sacha Crommar

Sacha Crommar, Bretone aus dem Morbihan mit unverkennbar keltischen Wurzeln, arbeitete viele Jahre als Kellermeister in der Cidre-Herstellung in der Normandie. Dort erlernte er sein Handwerk. Eines Tages, so erzählt er uns, probiert er seine Produktion durch und ist nicht zufrieden. Fast beiläufig rührt er ein mitgebrachtes Kastanien-Mus in einen seiner trockenen Cidre und ist total erstaunt, welche Veränderung in dem Gebräu vor sich geht. Sieben Jahre lang experimentiert er daraufhin mit dem Zusatz frischer Eßkastanien (Maroni) zum Apfelschaumwein und macht sich schließlich 2011 zu Hause in der Bretagne mit der einer eigenen Cidre-Produktion selbständig. »Kystin« ist geboren.

Seine Obstschaumweine schlagen ein wie eine Bombe. Binnen kürzester Zeit ist seine winzige Produktion ausverkauft. Heute stehen sie bei den besten Küchenchefs Frankreich auf der Karte und gehen weg wie warme Semmeln.

Sacha Crommar ist ein quirliger, kreativer Typ. Ein Spinner im positiven Sinne und das aus Überzeugung, Seine Obstschaumweine jedenfalls haben es in sich. Sie sind kleine Meisterwerke, auf deren Entdeckung wir richtig stolz sind.

Sidra - Spain

The Spanish variant of cider was represented by 3 sidra producers from Asturias and Pais Vasco: Sidra Trabanco, Sidra Viuda de Angelon and Berenziartua.

Pictures: The Sidra Producers

Handkaes’ mit Musik

Finally, there were a number of booths, which served food. My favorite was the Kaesehaus im Hessenpark, which offered Handkäs’ mit Musik (literally: hand cheese with music).

Pictures: Manfred Seuss, Kaesehaus am Hessenpark, and his Handkaes' mit Musik

Handkaese is a German regional sour milk cheese. It is a culinary speciality of the Frankfurt am Main region. It gets its name from the traditional way of producing it: forming it with one's own hands. It is a small, translucent, yellow cheese with a pungent aroma that many people find unpleasant. It is sometimes square, but more often round in shape.

Handkaes’ mit Musik is served in a dressing of vinegar and oil, topped with chopped onions and caraway seeds, plus bread and butter. The “Musik” refers to the "gas" that raw onions usually generate.

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