The leaves change color, the climate becomes harsh and the days get shorter. For lovers of heat, perhaps this is not the best part of the year, but for wine lovers, autumn is one of the most beautiful and joyful times of the year, when the earth yields its fruits and the scent of the must. pervades the streets. In the same period, producers from all over the world flock to German lands to present their new wine productions in the full festive spirit of wine fairs.
But 2020 everything is different. This year everything is silent.
Covid-19 has hit every sector heavily and canceled a multitude of events around the world. Wine tastings are reduced, at best, to solitary events with one or two bottles.
I was therefore extremely intrigued when I received an advertisement in the mail stating that the annual November “Wein Tour” Munich event would be held online. In its virtual form, the organizers have proposed more than 20 wine events online, each focusing on a different type of wine, theme or region of German production. For each event, 4 different wines were selected. Virtual visitors were able to choose the wine bag associated with the event and receive the 4 bottles of wine at home. Curiosity led me to choose one of the proposed offers and participate in this online event.
The box not only contained the 4 bottles mentioned but also some information about the event and the wine producers. Job well done I must admit.
Never drank in front of a computer and I must say that it intrigues me a lot so with some snacks and my ready bottles I sit in front of the computer waiting for the first streaming session to begin.
Let’s start with the German Riesling. Toni Askitis together with Christoph Friedrich delight us with a fun presentation that ranges from the wines that have been tasted, some personal experiences and general information about German wines and winemaking, all with some quizzes to entertain and engage the approximately 100 people connected in streaming . Everything worked perfectly, perfect connection and seamless streaming. But let’s talk about the wines tasted. The first wine was Weingut Dr. Nägler: Rheingau, 2018 Riesling, vom Schiefer, Rüdesheimer, trocken. The wine had earthy initial notes followed by fruity notes. An aromatic wine with a fresh acidity. The second wine was a Weingut Schenk-Siebert, Pfalz: 2018 Riesling, Grünstadter, trocken, a full wine with vegetal notes. The wine had a marked acidity but filled the mouth with the pleasant notes typical of German riesling. Then it was the turn of Weingut Mathern, Nahe: 2019 Riesling, Terroirwein, “vom Fels”, feinherb, a decidedly sweeter wine with notes of flowers, apricots and fennel. A beautiful balance between acidity and sweetness. The tasting ends with a Weingut Heise am Kranzberg, Rheinhessen: 2019 Riesling, Spätlese, Oelberg, feinherb. A sweet wine with notes of yellow fruits. A wine that can perfectly be aged.
Second day, second tasting with four Moselle Rieslings always under the great guidance of Toni Askitis and Christoph Friedrich.
It always starts with the driest wine, Weingut Albert Gessinger, Mosel: Riesling 2019, Spätlese, Zeltinger Sonnenuhr, ‚Rothlay ‘- 125 Jahre Alte Reben, Steillagenwein, trocken with apricot notes. The nose has the typical smell of riesling, but on the palate it has a marked acidity and a bitter note on the finish.
The second wine was a Weingut Günter Gindorf, Mosel: Riesling 2019, Spätlese, Schweicher Annaberg, feinherb, sweeter than the previous one, with notes of pineapple and apricot. A structured wine with little acidity and which would be perfect with a schnitzel. The presenters indicated it as a typical wine due to the minerality acquired by the red clay of the soil.
The third wine was Weingut Dr. Leimbrock, Mosel: 2018 Riesling, Spätlese, Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr, halbtrocken which was well balanced in sweetness and aroma. Spicy and salty, more complex than the previous wines with its fine notes.
The last wine tasted was Weingut Boendgen, Mosel: 2018 Riesling, Zeller Schwarze Katz, feinherb, a sweeter naturally fermented Riesling with notes of mango and other exotic fruits.
Third tasting evening 4 other wines.
Speakers Anna-Maria Löffler and Manuel Andrack were supposed to offer us a virtual tour of the wine-growing hills of Baden, Franken, Mittelrhein and Nahe but unfortunately that evening the network connection was not as perfect as on the other evenings.
The first wine was a Weingut Ernst, Baden: Weißburgunder 2019, Wittlinger Steingäßle, trocken with apple notes and the right acidity.
The second glass was a Weingut Hiller, Franken: 2018 Silvaner, Randersackerer Sonnenstuhl, trocken. I really like the Spätburgunder from this producer (the 2016 vintage was in my opinion the best pinot noir at the Wein Tour in Munich in 2018). The silvaner had well-balanced citrus notes followed by a complexity of ripe fruit, but I have to admit that I was expecting something more from this white wine which was awarded the gold medal at the Fränkische Weinprämierung.
A tasting of Weingut Philipps-Mühle, Mittelrhein follows: 2018 Riesling, STEILHANG, trocken which was more acidic than the other wines and had a classic riesling taste with a hint of sweetness. Even though the wine was listed as dry on the label in my opinion it was on the verge of semi-sweet.
We end the tasting with a Weingut Gattung, Nahe: 2019 Riesling, 89/95, trocken with herbaceous notes and a notable acidity. A bitter note on the finish.
Thus, we arrive at the last tasting evening in which we will taste Spätburgunder, the name of the pinot noir grape in Germany. Christoph Friedrich with Konstantin Brown did a great job of entertaining people again with their one hour tasting session. Grapes are difficult to grow and require a cold climate and, in my opinion, only a few countries can make decent wine from this grape. Germany is certainly one of them.
The first tasting was a glass of Winzergenossenschaft Mayschoß-Altenahr, Ahr: 2018 Spätburgunder, “Gründerwein”, trocken. The wine is produced by a cooperative of producers founded in 1868 by a small group of 18 people who today have more than 450 members. The wine, aged in large barrels, had very marked notes of cherry and black cherry and the wood did not disturb its fruitiness.
Tasting number two was a Weingut St. Remigius, Baden: 2017 Spätburgunder, Merdinger Bühl, trocken Bioland which tasted more like pinot noir, with its usual light red color and notes of cherry and blackberry and a hint of sweetness.
The third wine was Weingut Neuspergerhof, Pfalz: 2017 Spätburgunder, Alte Reben Ortswein, trocken, much darker and more intense in color. Opulent and aromatic thanks to the use of old barrels. A little too full in taste to be a pinot noir but a wine that in my opinion deserves.
We end the tasting with a Weingut Monika Bähr, Baden: 2016 Spätburgunder, Spätlese, Oberkircher Schloßberg, trocken, with a fairly light color and some brown nuances due to its oxidative character. The cherry has sprung up again, along with some berries. This is also a very round wine to be counted among the classic and fresh French Pinot Neri, but still a good wine.
To sum up the whole event, this virtual tour was truly a great and well-planned alternative to Wine Messe in these difficult times of social distancing. Reinventing oneself and creating a whole new way of doing an event while not doing it physically was a quick response to this global closure. Well done!!!