This week’s letter is ‘R‘ for
~ Riesling wine in Rhineland-Palatinate ~
First of all let me apologize for being so very late for my regular Thursday contribution. But for the past (almost) two weeks I was overseas in my home country of Germany. Though I returned Thursday night I did not get around to writing my article until now. However, this trip triggered the subject for this week.
Before I came to the US I lived in Mannheim for five years. While Mannheim is in Baden Wurttemberg, its neighboring city of Ludwigshafen is already in Rhineland-Palatinate. The border between these two is the river Rhine, which originates in the Alps, flowing north through Switzerland, dividing France and Germany before hitting the North Sea in The Netherlands. In middle and southern Germany the federal state west of the Rhine is Rhineland-Palatinate. With beautiful countryside and hills along the Rhine and the Palatinate Forest, which is a low mountain range, perfect for hiking and (mountain) bicycling. While living in Mannheim we used to do that a lot.
And, of course, visit many of the local wineries. Walking or driving through the many small towns along the ‘wine route’ you cannot help the feeling that every single house belongs to a vintner. Two of the towns we frequented pretty often are Bad Durkheim and Deidesheim. Right from the top of my head I can name these famous wineries – Geheimer Rat Dr. von Bassermann-Jordan, Dr. Deinhard, Winzerverein Deidesheimer, Reichsrat von Buhl – all in one small town, Deidesheim, with only 3700 inhabitants. During harvesting season i.e. now there are a lot of smaller and bigger wine festivals, most towns have their own and the biggest one of the region is the Bad Durkheim Wurstmarkt. Which coincidentally happened last weekend when David and I visited the region.
Our winery of choice has always been Bassermann-Jordan, but there are so many more. We have visited their very old cellars and attended several wine tasting evenings, as well as sampled their wines when we had visitors. Our favorite wines in this region are Dornfelder (red) and, of course, (white) Riesling. And, this may come as a surprise to my American readers, I am talking about dry (!) Riesling.
When we moved to the US we had quite a bit of wine in our cellar, which we could not bring with us due to import regulations. The good part about this was that we had a big going-away-party with lots of good wines. However, the bad part was that we could not get dry Riesling wine here in the US. o.k. that is not entirely true, because once we got here, naturally, I started looking for it, did find some and tried them. But truth be said, they were not as good. I have tried and found wonderful American wines and would not want to miss them. However, the best dry Riesling in my opinion is from the Palatinate in Germany. Most Riesling here in the US is matured semi-sweet or sweet, and I cannot help but wonder, why dry Riesling still has not taken over. On the other hand, while being in Germany I heard some say that they are pretty happy about it, because it simply means that they can keep and drink the majority of their dry Riesling themselves 🙂
For us it means that every visitor we get from Germany is ‘ordered’ to bring their allowed quantity of Riesling preferably from Bassermann-Jordan into the US for us to savor. And it also means that during my recent trip to Germany my preferred drink, after lunch, was dry Riesling. By the way, if you have any recommendations for good American wines, please share them with me, I am always on the look-out for more.
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