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Wine Rambler Articles

While the Wine Rambler homepage displays all new content in chronological order, this section has just the blog posts (i.e. not the reviews of individual wines).

Posted by Torsten 31 Dec 2011

2011 has been a busy year. We fought evil, kissed wine queens, travelled the world (and Swabia), climbed skyscrapers, mastered high-speed drinking, survived dangerous self-experimentations, had English red and whites from the heart of Africa, met mad winemakers and -merchants, stole wine out of our neighbours rubbish bins - and drank a lot of good wine. It was a busy year for the Wine Ramblers (also outside of this hobby of ours), but as far as wine is concerned it certainly was a good year.

the Wine Rambler('s hand) busy at work in 2011the Wine Rambler('s hand) busy at work in 2011

And as it is the time of the year to look back I'd like to invite you on a journey across our wine year 2011.

Posted by Torsten 25 Dec 2011

This being a sort of Anglo-German blog, we live under constant Christmas confusion. Is the 24th the important day, as the Germans believe, or the 25th, as the British and several other nations assert? We don't claim to have the superior wisdom here, especially not after a Christmas meal that came with a stunning grand cru Riesling from the Pfalz (actually, when would one have more wisdom than after enjoying first class Riesling?), so we aim for balance. Last year it was the 24th, this year the 25th is the day when we send our seasonal greetings and best wishes to all our friends in wine.

Posted by Julian 23 Dec 2011

If you follow this blog regularly (and if not: why not?), you will know that the VDP, Germany's trade association of elite wine estates, hosts an annual tasting in Munich every November that has special significance for the Wine Rambler. We have reported on it last year and the year before that. And we will do so again in a minute. Just a few words to introduce the photographic theme of this posting: Since that chandeliered, psychedelically carpeted lounge has become an extension of our living rooms, as it were, we also take a keen interest in the other tasters gathered there. There are always some sociological observations to make, of course, and to discuss afterwards, about age structure and gender of the sample group, and in fact I think we can report some tentative progress in those two categories, wink wink. But this time, it was something rather different that caught our attention: Shoes.

Hip shoes, boring shoes, sexy shoes, sensible shoes. Endless variety with a few common themes, which makes shoes a bit like wine. That's the kind of thought that looking at mind-altering carpeting in state of growing tipsiness will bring up in the course of an afternoon. In pursuing it, however, we could profit from Wine Rambler Torsten's keen photographic eye, as well as some underhanded camera moves he learned by prowling London as a street photographer.

Posted by Torsten 19 Dec 2011

Despite many nice aspects, such as being allowed to drink wine, growing up comes with its disappointments. Many of your childhood heroes suddenly look rather ridiculous, whereas others pass into the realm of memory and myth. Like the Easter Bunny, *the* Stork and Father Christmas. Or the Expert. After years of watching TV - or perhaps just a fortnight during the Eurozone debt crisis - the TV Expert no longer looks as authoritative as he was during my childhood, and the same goes for pretty much every other type of expert. So in a way I am quite happy that I haven't been labelled as "international wine expert" as last year's contributors to Every Wine Tells a Story were.

This year it is about the much more important love for wine. So I proudly declare that as of last weekend I have it in writing that I am an "international wine lover".

Posted by Torsten 06 Dec 2011

There is not much I have in common with Cato the Elder. I am not a politician, I never gave a banquet in honour of Jupiter, my Latin is mediocre and I never supported a ban on women riding in carriages. I don't even drink much Italian wine. And yet at moments I have sympathy for the old grump, and that is when I end statements on German wine with: ceterum censeo you have to try Silvaner! In the UK, where knowledge on German wine beyond sweet Riesling is rather limited, this sometimes makes me feel like a lonely preacher, repeating the same mantra like a bumbling (rambling?) fool. Now imagine my joy when I finally met a man who showed me what real Silvaner obsession is.

Michael TeschkeMichael Teschke

Or Sylvaner obsession, as wine grower and maker Michael Teschke prefers to spell it. Michael's dedication to Sylvaner has turned him into a figurehead for the grape variety, so much so that some call him the "Sylvaner God". Interestingly, others refer to Micheal as "Arse Teschke" - and if you want to know how that actually relates to Sylvaner quality you will just have to read on.

Posted by Torsten 22 Nov 2011

London, wine metropolis. You may not think of it in those terms, but I have learned to appreciate the dynamic wine scene and the exciting range of wine events and venues here. You can explore wine in cellars built into Thames or railway bridges, at fantastic food markets, in world class restaurants, you can drink it on bridges spanning the river, at the Tower of London, in post-modern temples of glass, and you can engage with wine merchants with centuries of history, with entrepreneurs with new approaches or with a vibrant scene of wine writers and communicators. It is an exciting place and I love every minute of being here - especially when a unique place and wine meet.

London through a wine glassLondon through a wine glass

I would like to invite you to share one of those moments with me.

Posted by Torsten 07 Nov 2011

Wine, you would think, is the common theme for a wine trip. At least that's what I thought when a few weeks ago I set out on a press trip to the German wine region west of Mainz. Yet while there was wine, and plenty of it, I soon realised that there was another theme to this trip. It was about family, about death, destiny and the dreams of winemakers - and there was a bit about rock 'n' roll and obsession too.

dreams, destiny and obsession - the winery dog has seen it alldreams, destiny and obsession - the winery dog has seen it all

German winemaking is very much about family. Not only have many wineries been in the same family for generations, they also tend to be small enough so that a family can run them without a lot of staff. Whatever happens in the family has real impact on the whole business. A serious argument, the only child turning their back on winemaking or a father dying unexpectedly - such events can be make or brake for an estate. This means that German winemaking is also a story about family. A story about love and death, a story about children following tradition or breaking with it, a story about getting old and growing up. In the end, winemaking is a story about life.

Posted by Torsten 28 Oct 2011

Wine travel writing has to feature passionate winemakers, gorgeous vineyards and fabulous wine. I will get to these in future posts on my recent visit to the German wine country around Mainz, but today is about looking at wine writing from the other side. It is about wine writers and communicators, about introducing the press trip and - most importantly to me personally - it is about a man holding up a piece of cardboard. Or rather: his absence.

travelling towards German winetravelling towards German wine

Ever since I stepped off my first airplane as a child, this man held the key for my ascendancy to a higher level of human existence. Looking at this man, waiting with his piece of cardboard at arrivals, the young Torsten concluded that there are two types of travellers: those who just pass through, and those who, as a person or through their mission, have been deemed worthy enough to by picked up by that man. I travel a lot for work, but the highest appreciation I have been shown so far is being walked from Coventry train station to the university. Walked. And there was no sign with my name on it. Now imagine my joy when the invitation from the German Wine Institute to participate in an "international press trip for bloggers" contained the magic words: "arrivals", "driver" and "sign". On 6th October I would finally meet that man at Frankfurt Airport, and his name would be Mr Würzburger.

Posted by Julian 18 Oct 2011

After Patrick Leigh Fermor died in June of this year, he was remembered with gratitude for something he did when he was 18 years old: In December of 1933, he set off from London to walk the length of Europe from the Hook of Holland to what he - a british schoolboy fond of ancient literature - called Constantinople. When Leigh Fermor organised his youthful notebooks into a more coherent narrative many years later, he decided to call it "A Time of Gifts" because of the generosity with which he was received as a traveller along the way: By bargemen on the Rhine, by Austrian noblemen in wayside castles or by monasteries all over these lands.

His departure on the wintry Thames as the sole passenger of a Dutch channel boat, the enchanted hike across the frozen canals of the wintry Netherlands, or even an evening in a notorious Munich beer hall are marvels of evocative travel writing: He turns the memory of youthful adventure into geographically and historically enriched, yet curiously dreamlike and daring prose.

Posted by Torsten 04 Oct 2011

Wine is just too complicated. People want an enjoyable experience, a wine to complement a nice evening, perhaps a story to tell friends. Instead they are confused by a confusing selection of wine in supermarkets and find not much help from the wine press and wine trade either. On top of that the language of wine is pretentious and mostly meaningless. So I hear it said very often, and while it is perhaps an overly gloomy picture there is some truth in it.

the other, less gloomy picturethe other, less gloomy picture

Instead of adding another piece of snobbish wine rambling, today's report from the latest Wine Rambler tasting is a little different. Instead of ourselves it will be the people who speak and tell you what they made of a range of wines selected by yours truly.