Monday, June 4, 2012

Report from ... Germany Day 5: Last Day in Franken - June 2, 2012

It's our last day in Germany and we spend it in the Franken region visiting a real array of wineries: a small family producer, a large family winery and a co-op; along the way there's lunch and dinner and a "wine shop and tourist info center" all wrapped in one. Here is the pictorial evidence ...

Breakfast room at the hotel Meintzinger where the internet is spotty - we confer in this room that the promised internet is a nightmare to get, if you get it at all
Meintzinger ia also a Weingut, winery, where they make some Big wine - though we never any of their wines.
I told you yesterday we were staying in Frickenhausen and here's the proof - we English speakers on the trip (read: North Americans) got a big kick out of this town's name.
Arriving at Weingut Bickel Stumpf - right next door to the hotel
A family run winery by the brother sister team of Melanie (in pink) and brother Mattias (in black) Stumpf - you can see the arm of their father in the right hand corner in the beige shirt.
And who can forget Willy, who stole the show our whole visit - as you will see.
They have 12.5 hectares on 2 sites that are 40km apart ... we walk through town to the closest one.

Through the city gates ...
And up this cobble stoned hill (street)
When we got to the vineyard Willy did a little digging (stay tuned for more).
View from the vineyard of the Fricken' village (Frickenhausen) and surrounding area beyond.
Mattias in the vineyard
The vineyard itself
And Willy puts on a show: seems every time a cork is opened in his presence
He goes ...
Nuts ... you can't see it here, but he was jumping as high as the "old man's" shoulder (this is dad whose arm you saw earlier - he changed shirts)

Which is why they are moving to screw-caps ... These are two 2011 Silvaners from two different pickings: Muschelkalk is the bocksbeutel (forward) and Kapellenberg (2nd harvest - Premier Cru) in the Burgundy bottle.
2011 Kapellenberg is richer, creamier and fuller with lemon peel, meringue and green apple notes (*** 1/2).
Meanwhile Willy finds a stick to run around and play with
2011 Gemischer Satz (field blend) up to 10 grapes: Silvaner, Riesling, Yellow and Red Muscatella, Traminer and Elping - this is one interesting wine grown on 0.2 hectares of land in one vineyard all harvested at the same time (planted in 2007) - tropical notes with lime and quince - decent acidity brought on by some under-ripe grapes in the blend (*** 1/2+)
Mattias shows us the slope of the vineyard
Meanwhile (again) Willy, not to be outdone, meets another dog on the road.
Which kinda gets him into the proverbial dog-house with Melanie.
Back at the winery we try this 2005 'vom rot Hugl' Rotwein, a blend of 4 red grapes: Pinot Noir, Lemberger, Cabernet Dorsa and Portuguesa: dark fruit, anise, white pepper and sour cherry (*** 1/2+).
"We are making stone wines", says Melanie, meaning terroir driven wines, which contain lots of mineral notes.
Leaving the Stumpfs we travel to Hans Wirsching winery
The first impression when you walk in the door at Wirsching, renovations were completed a few years ago.

Andrea Wirsching takes us on a tour of the barrel rooms
The Old ...
and the new.
Our walk around wines was a slightly sweet 2011 Iphofer julius-Echter-Berg Scheurebe: hint of mineral with peach sweetness; very pretty on the palate with grapefruit cocktail thru the mouth that lingers nicely (*** 1/2).
The "Schatz Kammer" or treasure room ... we would call it a back vintage cellar.
Inside the Treasure Room
Our tastings were a set of comparative tastings showing current and back vintage wines - here the 2011 ruled with opulent fruit, hint of minerlity and balancing citrus.
These Rieslings from 2008 and 2011 each had merit in their own right.  Made from their older vines planted between 1968-1969.
Grosses Gewachs Silvaners from 2010 and 2004 ... the 2004 showed what this wine can do with time in bottle - it's elegant, pretty and mouth-filling with a long finish.
2006 Iphofer Kronsberg Silvaner Trockenbeernauslese: honeyed and succulent with spice, apricot, per, hint of lime on the finish ... clings to the cheeks with delectable sweetness ... also has a beautiful golden colour (****+).
Lunch is served
Wonderful Silvaner soup
Pork and Potatoes
After lunch a stop at Vinothek Iphofan where tourist info is available on surrounding area wineris
They represent 21 wineries - wines for sale as well as some local products

As well as education on wines - including barrel sizes
600 square feet on 4 floors located in an old remodeled (on the inside) heritage building from 1724
It's also the place where the infamous "internet bait and switch" event of 2012 occurred ... when you see me ask me about it.
Leaving the Vinothek we see the best license plate we've seen out whole trip ... what would make this even better is if the number was raised by one.
Look closely ... this is the little known patron saint of nose-pickers: Fritz Flickenpick.

Arrival at the co-op winery Winzer Sommerach
Our group meets on the outside patio ...
For some frizzant made from Pinot Noir, Domina and Schwarz Riesling (Black Riesling, better known as Pinot Meunier)
This is a real educational facility, down to the floor, where they have glassed in the soil types of the Franken region, from the soily
To the rocky.
Then it was off to the classroom
Where Daniela instructs us on the oldest co-op in Franken, started in 1901 with 15 families, today they have 90 families, 190 hectares, making 1.4 million bottles under 66 different labels -they also do custom crush.
2011 E1Ns Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc): banana ship, pear, creamy vanilla, with sweet fruit on the palate and some spiced notes with a long finish of sweet banana and vanilla caramel. (*** 1/2+)

2009 E1NS Experiment W - the workers wine (the staff had a hand in making it): a wild ferment Kerner oaked aged for 9 months - sweet oak, caramel and poached pear with a whooping 15% alcohol (****) - Kerner is a Riesling / Trollinger cross.
A trip to the cellar includes the big barrels
And the little barriques
In the cellar we tried the 2009 Cuvee Cabernet: 3 Cabernet blend - Mitos, Dorsa and Cubin - dark spiced fruit, anise, hickory and cedar, very toasty (*** 1/2).
Dinner at the White Lamb was rather disappointing for a last meal - not as bad as yesterday's lunch, but close
more white asparagus
a simple salad
Pork shoulder with "potato lump", better known in our circle as "the glue ball"
Puff pastry with strawberry cream and kiwi-vanilla ice cream.
Saying goodbye to the Lamm and to Germany.
Well that about does it - the next day I was on a plane back home ... lots to know about Germany and her wines and her wine laws, which are some of the most complicated in the world - feel I have just scratched the surface here but it was a great immersion and introduction.

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