The Wine Drinker

This is the Dead Letter Office of my wine writing. These stories ended up not fitting on our company's Facebook page (Piedmont Wine Imports) or website,, for reasons that I think are clear once you scroll through a few posts. Less professional musings, impressions that ultimately never got past the rough prototype stage. Um... enjoy!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Schloss Johannisberg/Summers Past

Reading things you wrote ages ago can be a winceable experience. Reading things I wrote last week generally makes me squirm, but becuase it's June and I'm daydreaming of summer holidays past, I decided to dust off this feeble attempt to describe a perfect summer's day with wine and family.

My Wine Holiday
Episode One, Germany

Our rented Mercedes had a precarious grip on the hillside. We descended into the Rheingau at a truly German pace, vines sticking out of the soil above us at impossible angles. Even at Formula One speed it took most of the afternoon to reach Schloss Johannisberg. We did take the scenic route. I approve of the German practice of putting vineyard names in huge white letters on the tops of hillsides. Less time is wasted squinting at maps, trying to decide which field is Berg Rottland.
We must have passed 200 castles. Soren, my four year old almost nephew and traveling companion, eventually lost interest in them (he did want to see the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang castle, though). He liked the German tractors. He’s a good kid, very enamored with my girlfriend Megan. He tolerates me as a necessary part of spending time with her.
The wines were worth the trip. Schloss Johannisberg was (as it sounds) the most grand winery I have visited. The previous day my girlfriend’s uncle, who was providing us with accommodation during our German holiday, said he’d take us to Closter Eberbach. I was exited. But my girlfriend’s sister had been to the Schloss and wanted a return visit, and in retrospect it was the right winery, if you only have time for one. Huge. Lots of running room for children with energy to burn, a large patio selling chilled bottles of Qba Riesling for $16 on a hot summer’s day, and a store/tasting room with enough esoteric stuff unavailable in America to keep the family wine tourist happy. I bought .375ml bottles of Riesling kabinett halbtrocken. Perfect for European picnics.
We didn’t stay long, I think we had to get back to Megan’s ancestral home town for the ritualistic eating of Spagetti-eis, you guessed it, vanilla ice cream in the shape of pasta with strawberry “sauce” & grated white chocolate “parmesan”. Europeans are so weird. This admittedly delicious dessert went a long way toward explaining the pasty German form we witnessed the day before at the town swimming pool. I’m no Adonnis in swim trunks but good lord Hans/Heidi have you no modesty? On the other hand, I admire people so comfortable in their own (abundant) skin. That evening we followed dessert with lots of grilled meat, liters of beer from the family brewery and a box of Cinsault rose from the Languedoc. Good times. If you’re planning a family reunion, might I suggest central Germany? In June, it is light until after 10 pm. More time to retell family tales and unwind. Next time I’ll spend a week on the Rhein, talk incessantly at my companion about types of slate, ride boats and get thrown out of bars (I’m self-mythologizing, but I know I have a problem and that is the first step in recovery). But it was time to leave. We’d heard of a town called Paris that we wanted to check out, so Germany only got 72 hours. Regrets, I’ve had a few.


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