Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Prost

During our trip to Europe last May we toured Schloss Vollrads, a castle and vineyard in the Rheingau region of Germany, that has been making wine since the 1400's.


It was fascinating. We were entreated to the history of the castle and vineyard and had the opportunity to tour a few rooms in the grand, old manor, as we tasted some of the wines they produced. 


As I recall, the vineyards and buildings had fallen into disrepair.  The last member of the family that went back centuries in time was somewhat of a recluse, and wouldn't entertain any ideas to market the wines. When the count died, the estate was taken over by a German foundation. Since that time, renovation has begun, the buildings have been put on tour, wine tastings are conducted (with a final stop at a gift shop where wines may be purchased), and people can rent areas for large celebrations. 



This is a dining room in the manor house. We enjoyed a different wine in each of three rooms we toured. One of the rooms still has the original, gold-leaf leather wall covering.

The Rheingau region of Germany is known for producing fine Riesling wines. The tour guide explained that we Americans think of Rieslings as a sweet white wine, yet most of the wines they produce are fruity, but dry. We had the opportunity to taste three different wines, and none were very sweet. The tour guide/sommelier, with a bit of a sneer, indicated that most of the Riesling's that are exported are overly sweet to appeal to the American palate.

Another fascinating tidbit of information we learned is that this particular region chose to use a unique bottle design to make their wines more recognizable. All of the bottles of wine from this region are sold in green bottles with a fluted top.  Schloss Vollards investigated cork options, and chose to move to a glass stopper. The stopper, which can easily be opened with a flick of the thumb, can also, just as easily be put back on the bottle to seal it. 



Last week Mr. Dreamy ran up to Publix to pick up a few grocery items. Imagine his surprise in seeing a fluted bottle on the wine shelf. It was from Schloss Vollrads! The wine was good - although a bit sweeter than what we had enjoyed in Europe. 



What fun to find a little bit of Germany in a local grocery store. Even more fun to remember our trip and enjoy a glass of wine! Cheers!

3 comments:

  1. vollrads is very pretty - we'd never heard of rheingau but i see it's down south of us a couple hours. i'd never seen that wine but i will definitely be looking now. i think it's strange he said they export the sweet stuff, probably they do, but at any store here in germany there is almost as much sweet as dry in both red and white, just like back home in the states. i used to like gewurstraminer but now that i'm living in germany it's impossible to find, ironically. now i drink mostly an austrian wine called blauer zweigelt - which i could not find in america this year anywhere. when visiting home last year we had some blind wine taste tests in the family and decided we prefer 14 Hands.

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    1. Perhaps the sweetness is relative. One of the wines we tasted was quite a bit sweeter than the others, but it wasn't as sweet as some of the American rieslings I've had. Since I am a horse person, I love 14 Hands! I always give it to my horsey friends! I've never tired a taste test - it sounds like fun and I am glad it came out on top!

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  2. Interesting! A bit of Europe for you..where is the cheese:)

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