Category Archives: Wine Telegram

My Wine Telegram 116

So much happened since my last telegram, but honestly if I’d tweeted it all to you I would have only driven you crazy, so be thankful for my NO TWITTER, NO FACEBOOK, NO BULLSHIT policy +++ One thing I’ve chewed over intensely since last reporting is the 2010 Riesling Auslese from Weingut Deutschherrn-Hof in Trier/Mosel (see www.weingut-deutschherrenhof.de) which I tasted with Jungwinzer Sebastian Oberbillig +++ The wine was still unfiltered, but had finished fermenting and been given enough sulphur to make it stable +++ In fact, it was astonishingly clear and easy to taste: extremely juicy, with a pronounced natural sweetness, but also wonderfuly refreshing acidity +++ that is convincing evidence 2010 in Germany is not a complete disaster the way many of my colleagues have portrayed it in the media +++ but it was only one wine, which is hardly conclusive proof, even if many other leading Riesling producers and Jungwinzer reported harvesting similar wines +++ that evening I also met the amazing Paul Grieco of Hearth Restaurant and the Terroir Wine Bars in Manhattan (see www.wineisterroir.com) +++ it was an extremely productive discussion and maybe we will do an event together in New York next summer +++ Watch this space for further details! +++ The reason I only got around to writing about all this today is that it was only a couple of hours ago I finished the final corrections to the book which goes with the Bavarian Broadcasting TV series WEINWUNDER DEUTSCHLAND +++ It will be out in Tre Torri Verlag (www.tretorri.de) before Christmas +++ Though there are a few things in the book I would have liked to do differently (it was that way with every book I ever wrote), I have to admit that as the nerve-wracking correction process (it was that way with every book I ever wrote) progressed the book really did get better and better +++ Some people will hate it because it is so relaxed, but that’s is what makes it different from other wine books +++ It is also as close to 100% true and correct as Tre Torri and I could possibly get it +++ The other thing which is still going around in my head is the Film THE SOCIAL NETWORK which I saw with my wife the other day +++ Apart from the fact that it is a great movie it gave me some great ideas for this website and confirmed my strong belief in NO TWITTER, NO FACEBOOK, NO BULLSHIT ! +++ Some of you are no doubt now thinking, „yes, but Stuart Pigott has a page on Facebook !“ +++ That’s true, but somebody else put it there without consulting or informing me and I only found out it existed after seeing the film +++ Of course, I will be asking them to take it down and asking for all the personal information to be removed from their records +++ Unfortunately, the problem is that you can’t tell if they’ve really removed that information from their records and that is exactly what worries me most about Facebook +++ Compared to them, the CIA or FSB are nothing to worry about for most of us +++ On top of that there is the small detail that Facebook has 500 million subscribers, or one in thirteen people on the planet are in their computers.

Welcome to the future!

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My Wine Telegram 115

It’s good to be creative and to feel creative, better still when the two inersect as they did this morning, which means that I must be getting better after going into a nosedive two weeks back +++ I also started thinking about the future, by which I mean beyond the next meal +++ in just seven weeks at 4:30 pm on 25.12 the first episode of my TV series WEINWUNDER DEUTSCHLAND, or wine wonder Germany, will go out on BR 3 (also on www.br-online.de), and in just over a week one of the most exciting tastings I ever took part in happens in Berlin +++ I’m thinking of WEIN LAB 8 at 5 pm on 15.11 at Hammers Weinkostbar in the Körthestrasse 20/Kreuzberg (Buchung unter Tel.: 030 / 69 81 86 77 oder info@hammer-wein.de), and the subject is sparkling wines +++ we’ll taste everything from Prosecco to Prestige Cuvée Champagne, from 6 Euros to 180 Euros, blind ! +++ instead of scoring the wines with points we’ll each decide how many Euros the taste of each sparkling wine is worth, calculate average percieved prices for the group, then compare these with the actual prices +++ why aren’t all blind tastings organized like this ? +++ if so there would be far more active discussion about how much money which wine is really worth +++ the highest production costs for wine I’ve have ever seen were over 30 Euros per bottle, but they were only that high because the purchase of the land, the cost of clearing and planting it, building the winery, offices etc were all included +++ in the case of established wine estates most or all of these costs aren’t relevent any more +++ then even with very low yields, doing all the vineyard cultivation by hand, then cutting no corners in the cellar or with the packaging the total cost per bottle rarely tops 20 Euros +++ of course, winegrowers and wine merchants have to make a living too, but obviously there are some juicy profits being made by wine producers (and sometimes also merchants) on those bottles with three figure price tags, be they Champagne or whatever +++ in a world where marketing, media and the stock market distort the prices of almost everything, this is something which ought to be seriously discussed +++ as Oscar Wilde said, the cynic is a man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing +++ I’d add to those words that (also with wine) you have to decide which side of the fence you’re on: the cynic’s side or the other side +++ but what was I being and feeling so creative about this morning ? +++ new material for this website currently in the development stage which will hit your computer screen before those seven weeks are up and WEINWUNDER DEUTSCHLAND rolls +++ now I have to lie down again, because I’m still only feeling about 60% of normal strength, but perhaps I’ll see you at Hammers on the 15th ?

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My Wine Telegram 114

An enormous thank you to all members of the WEINWUNDER DEUTSCHLAND Team for your untiring efforts, your perfectionism and for your patience with me !

From left to right: Sound: Peter Wuchterl, Camera Assistant: Florian Bschorr, Cameraman: Sorin Dragoi, Director: Alexander Saran

I just realized that it’s almost a week since I got back from the last trip shooting WEINWUNDER DEUTSCHLAND, or Wine Wonder Germany, the TV series I’ve been filming for Bavarian Broadcasting (BR) +++ Director Alexander Saran now has every shot he needs in the can and all the cut material he’s so far shown me was A-quality, so why didn’t I immediately let out a primal scream of joy into cyberspace ? +++ A week ago at the bleak railway station of Alzey in Rheinhessen it suddenly felt like being hit by lightning, but icy instead of firey +++ I’d just spent an hour sitting on the platform in a wind with a bite like that of the great white shark, whilst the WEINWUNDER DEUTSCHLAND team filmed me taste a sweet Riesling wine from several different angles +++ after half an hour lying semi-conscious under the shower in my hotel room I could finally feel my feet again and turned the hot water on my head, but when I touched it it felt like a block of ice +++ Shit ! +++ For the previous week I’d been sick with a really ugly cold, but kept on working, because Saran, the team and I had to shoot with Thomas Hensel of Weingut Hensel in Bad Dürkheim/Pfalz, Gert and Matthias Aldinger of Weingut Aldinger in Fellbach/Württemberg, Katharina and Manfred Prüm of Weingut Joh. Jos. Prüm, Egon Müller of Weingut Egon Müller-Scharzhof in Wiltingen/Saar and Alex Gysler of Weingut Gysler in Alzey/Rheinhessen (thanks everybody !) in order to finish our „Meisterwerk“ +++ The problem at Alzey railway station was that my batteries suddenly went dead and the exhaustion I’d been ignoring for months sent me crashing down +++ For the first days after my return to Berlin I struggled with simple everyday stuff, and even now I still feel seriously burnt-out +++ I already came to two important conclusions though: 1) The result is worth all the stress and suffering, 2) When we film the second series in 2011 we have to reduce the stress and suffering +++ Thankfully cancelling my planned trip to Chile (sorry everybody, particularly Eduardo Chadwick !) has given me some time not only to recover, but also to reflect +++ A year ago I decided to ride the TV-torpedo wherever it took me (see Telegram 112) +++ My current reflection was stimulated by the fact that, after a silence, so long I wondered if it meant complete failure, I finally got some interesting reactions to the „Pigott Wine“ +++ Kai Schubert from Schubert Wines in Martinborough/New Zealand was in Berlin and shocked me by telling me that he immediately recognized the style of my dry Müller-Thurgau, because, „if you reduce the yield of Müller-Thurgau in New Zealand, as we do, then it turns out tasting rather like your wine does“ +++ Chandra Kurt (www.chandrakurt.com) wrote me that it was the best Müller-Thurgau she’d ever tasted; „really something“ +++ Saturday I went to see David Fincher’s great new film „The Social Network“ and since then I’ve had some boss ideas for developing this website +++ the ice has been broken, watch this piece of cyberspace !!!

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My Wine Telegram 113

Just a few quick lines before I leave for the final shooting of the TV series WEINWUNDER DEUTSCHLAND, or Wine Wonder Germany +++Thank God I feel somewhat better today, because health-wise the last two weeks were really hard +++ By the time I return to Berlin in 10 days time we will have shot in the Mosel, Saar, Rheinhessen, Württemberg and in Munich (Schumanns Bar, the Blaue Donau restaurant and in tram number 27) and I will surely be completely finished again +++ I had no choice but to cancel my planned trip to Chile in late October/early November because my exhaustion and the diverse health problems this has caused became too aggrivated +++ That’s very frustrating, but has the positive side-effect that I will write more material for this website +++ For the next telegram I promise photos which show what our shooting was really like +++ Now I must run and try to leave my Klaus Kinski side at home as I go

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My Wine Telegram 112

Some of you are no doubt wondering if I’m taking this funky new website seriously, or if the paucity of new texts is the result of an intensification of my anti-blogging instinct: NO TWITTER, NO FACEBOOK, NO BULLSHIT ! +++ The fact is I’ve been incredibly busy with a major project that I’ve been keeping under wraps, but now now word has spread in the wine scene and so many employees of German Railways (DB) know there’s no point in waitting until all the contracts are signed before revealing everything +++ Since late last year I’ve been planning a TV series for Bavarian Broadcasting (BR) called WEINWUNDER DEUTSCHLAND, or Wine Wonder Germany +++ The idea came from Prof. Dr. Thomas Gruber, Director General of the Station, who seems to have been inspired by a text on wine and the media I put on this site in spring 2009 +++ My argument was so unconventional I didn’t expect anybody to follow me, but Prof. Gruber immediately grasped my observation that the German tendency to absolutism has condemned wine on TV to either being the exposure of a scandal or rosy-glow-Tuscany +++ He put me in touch with producer Ernst Geyer with whom I hit it off with straight away, though we’re totally different personalities with widely diverging backgrounds, and our discussions established the basis for a completely different approach to wine in German TV +++ Then Geyer introduced me to director Alexander Saran with whom I wrote the first scripts in Late March and shot the first material on the 13. April here in Berlin +++ That was at the „Secret Gig“ of Nahe Riesling-Rocker Dr. Martin Tesch and Hanan Rubinstein (whose CD „The Year I Lived“ is just out, for more info see www.hananonline.com) at Gibson Guitars’ German HQ +++ We were moving at warp-speed, but on our first full day of shooting in Geisenheim/Rheingau we almost crash landed +++ After less than an hour our sound man was rushed to hosiptal with catastrophic backpain and a replacement called for +++ Then one man short we had to shoot some of the most complex shots of the entire series, but somehow it all worked out +++ Since sound man Peter Wuchterl arrived from Berlin the next morning he, cameraman Sorin Dragoi, assistant „Flo“ Bschorr, Saran and I have been a pretty solid team +++ Except during our last shooting tour when a strudel of problems made me feel I was turning into Klaus Kinski and Saran began looking like Werner Herzog to me, but we pulled ourselves together and got our ship back on course +++ Flo recently put his finger on the other problem I’ve had on the road: the persistent feeling that we’re only filming the B-version of what would be possible +++ then the other day we sat down in a room of Hotel Mitte in Rheinbach near Bonn and saw rough-cut versions of three shows and all agreed they were A-versions +++ A book to the series from Tre Torri Verlag will appear in the stores several weeks before the first show goes out at 16:30 on Saturday, 25. December in BR3 +++ Merry winey Christmas!

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My Wine Telegram 111

Even if some people dislike or even reject my wine, my experiment is a success +++ Two weeks after the presentation of the first wine I made myself there are enough reactions to draw some initial conclusions +++ Many of you will remember that my winegrowing project in the remote Franconian section of the Tauber Valley sought to answer the question if it is possible to produce a wine of Großes Gewächs / Grand Cru format from the humble Müller-Thurgau grape +++ So far only one person who tasted the result was so indifferent to the wine that he said it was „nice“, whereas everbody else seemed to have a strong reaction +++ For some people it was clearly too powerful, too tannic or alcoholic, but it often seemed that they were comparing it with dry Rieslings or other wines which are completely different in type +++ That was the reason I offered a white Châteauneuf du Pape (the 2008 „Vieilles Vignes“ from Château Beaucastel), a white Burgundy (the 2008 Bourgogne Blanc from Comte de Vogüé) and an Austrian Grüner Veltliner (the 2008 „M“ from F.X. Pichler) to compare with it at the official presentation on the 5th September in the Muesuem for Film & TV in Sony Center/Berlin +++ Like my wine they are all full-bodied dry whites with a moderate natural acidity content and plenty of character from extended ageing on the lees +++ None of the professional tasters suggested this comparison was illogical, pretentious or absurd, which is itself a sign of success for my wine +++ I say „for my wine“, because the 16,5 points Jancis Robinson gave in her report (see the „Purple Pages“ of www.jancisrobinson.com) were for the wine, not for me +++ You too could learn from Professor Schultz of the Geisenheim wine school how the vine grows if you attended his lectures, because it really isn’t that complicated (though it is rather surprising) +++ Though we wine journalists like to present it as something noble, winemaking is more a matter of paying attention to details and doing things at exactly the right moiment, than it is of genius +++ During my frequent visits to Winzerhof Stahl in Auernhofen/Franken, where I made my wine, this was confirmed to me again and again +++ The biggest challenge was going the full course even, if this meant 9 hours of hoeing on a 68% slope in the hot sun +++ If you could have done that too, then you could have made the wine which I did ! +++ Being a winegrower is hard work, but becoming a winegrower was both fullfilling and mind-expanding for me +++ That’s whay I went to Potsdam with Clemens Busch of the eponymous wine estate in Pünderich/Mosel on Friday to look at the Winzerberg, a terraced vineyard constructed for Frederick the Great in 1763 +++ A citizens initiative is restoring it in order to replant it with the aim of producing high quality wine (see www.winzerberg-potsdam.de) +++ After what Monika Lange from the citizens initiative told us and showed us I believe this will be possible +++ However, it is a completely different challenge to produce a great wine here to in the Tauber Valley, due to the different soil, climatic situation, and the unique feature of this site: vines under glass ! +++ We will have to adapt to all of this, both in the choice of grape varieties and in the method of cultivation in order to succeed +++ I can’t wait to start !

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Großes Gewächs: Too Minerally?

nach 17 Drehtage in Folge für die Bayerische Rundfunk TV-Serie WEINWUNDER DEUTSCHALND trudelte ich am Montag wie ein abkratzender Flieger bei der VDP „Großes Gewächs“ (GG) Präsentation in Berlin ein +++ eine Riesen-Terroir-Story wird um diese Weinen gesponnen, von der ein guter Teil stimmt und ein Teil nur Märchen ist, aber das ändert nichts an dem Umstand, dass es sich um die neue Luxusklasse des trockenen deutschen Weins handelt +++ fast alle Weine, die ich gerne kaufen würde, kosten mindestens 30 Euro ab Hof und manche liegen knapp unter 50 Euro +++ weil die weißen GGs erst ab dem 1. September auf den Markt kommen, war es meine erste Chance, diese Weine intensiv zu kosten +++ leider habe ich aber immer noch keinen umfassenden Überblick, weil es 414 weiße GGs aus 2009 gibt und ich wegen zahlreicher Unterbrechungen am Montag nur 76 davon geschafft habe+++

after 17 consecutive days filming a TV series called WINE WONDER GERMANY for Bavarian Broadcasting I felt like I crash landed into the presentation of the „Große Gewächse“ (GGs) by the VDP producers association on Monday in Berlin +++ a huge Terroir Story is spun around many of these wines, much, but not all of it, true, but the fact is the GGs are also the new luxury class of dry German wines +++ almost all the wines I’d be interested to buy cost over 30 Euros per bottle direct from the producer, and some are close to 50 Euros +++ the fact that the whites come on to the market from the 1st September the year after harvest meant this was my first chance to seriously taste the 2009 white GGs +++ don’t think I have a complete overview though, because there are 414 white GGs from 2009 and in four hours I managed to taste just 76, due to many interruptions +++

in meiner letzten Kolumne in der FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE SONNTAGSZEITUNG (12. September) habe ich analysiert, wie es eine Schule selbstbewusster Monster GGs gibt und eine zweite Schule, bei der die Weine bewusst elegant gehalten werden +++ aber es gibt noch eine andere wichtige Frage, auf der ich die ganze Woche herum gekaut habe: sind manche GGs einfach zu mineralisch, um richtig harmonisch zu sein ? +++ Hanno Zilliken von Weingut Zilliken in Saarburg/Saar hat mich auf vor einem Jahrzehnt darauf hingewiesen +++ er sagte von seinen eigenen trockenen Rieslingen, „die Säure ist nicht das Problem, weil die heute gar nicht mehr so hoch ist. Nein, die Weine sind einfach zu mineralisch !“ +++ er meinte, bei seinen trockenen Rieslingen würde dieser Geschmack „nackt“ und etwas unharmonisch wirken, während er bei den süßen Weinen durch die natürliche Traubensüße balanciert wird +++

in my last column for the FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE SONNTAGS ZEITUNG (12. September) I analysed how there is a school of self-confident Monster „GGs“ and another of self-consciously elegant ones, and to my taste the latter are more enticing +++ however there’s another important question I’ve been chewing over since then: are some GGs too minerally to taste harmonious ? +++ Hanno Zilliken of Weingut Zilliken in Saarburg/Saar awakened me to this question a decade ago +++ refering to his own dry wines he said, „it’s not the acidity which is the problem, because it’s no longer too high, instead they are too minerally“ +++ what he meant was that in his wines with natural grape sweetness this balanced the mineral character, whilst in his dry wines it was „naked“ and therefore dominant +++

das ging mir durch den Kopf, als ich die Weine von Tim Fröhlich von Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich verkostete +++ ich habe ziemlich gestaunt, weil sie hyper-mineralisch sind, der Felseneck vielleicht der mineralischste Wein, den ich je erlebte +++ betonte Säure und salzig-mineralische Komponenten verbinden sich zu einem dominanten und extrem fordernden Geschmack; eine Kommando-Übung für den Gaumen ! +++ gegen gewagte Weine und mineralische Weine bin ich keinesfalls, aber es stellt sich durchaus die Frage, ob Tim Fröhlich das GG Terroir-Ideal vom mineralischen Wein nicht einfach zu weit und auf Kosten der Harmonie getrieben hat +++ oder sind die Weine nur viel zu jung und ich zu engstirnig ? +++ ich kenne das Problem überzogener Inhaltskonzentration von meiner eigenen Arbeit: möglicherweise war das das „Problem“ mit meinen letzten Büchern, WILDER WEIN und WEIN WEIT WEG +++

all this went through my mind as I tasted the 2009 GGs from Tim Fröhlich of Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich in Bockenau/Nahe +++ they’re all hyper-minerally, the Felseneck perhaps the most minerally wine I ever tasted, therefore unquestionably extraordinary +++ at least in the here and now that makes them dominating and demanding; a commando exercise for the palate ! +++ I’m certainly not against daring wines or minerally wines, but the question is whether Tim Fröhlich hasn’t pushed the GG Terroir Ideal of minerally wine too far at the cost of these wines’ harmony +++ or are they wines simply far too young and I far too narrow-minded ? +++ I’m familiar with the problem of excessive concentration of content from my own work: this might have been the „problem“ with my books WILD WINE WORLD and WINE FAR AWAY (sadly only available in German) +++

am Montag habe ich die Frühlingsplätzchen und Halenberg Ggs von Weingut Emrich-Schönleber in Monzingen und der Hermannshöhle GG von Weingut Dönnhoff in Oberhausen bestellt, auch über der Kauf von GGs von weitere Nahe-Weingüter ernsthaft nachgedacht +++ diese Weine sind auch sehr mineralisch, konzentriert und eigenständig aber sie bieten (trotz ihre Jugendlichkeit) ein Genuss an

on Monday I bought the Frühlingsplätzchen and Halenberg GGs from Weingut Emrich-Schönleber in Monzingen and the Hermannshöhle GG from Weingut Dönnhoff in Oberhausen, and seriously considered purchasing GGs from other Nahe producers +++ these wines are also very minerally, concentrated and original, but (in spite of their youth) they give pleasure

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Wine Telegram from America 2

“I didn’t know what the hell those brakes were for, I was just trying to find my song” and though it was a woman’s voice (at once gentle and strong) I immediately recognized the words of Jackson Browne’s song ’The Barricades of Heaven’ and raced across Main Street, Rapid City in South Daktoa to the Firehouse Brewing Company from whose outdoor stage the sound emanated / obwohl sie von einer (zugleich starken und sanften) weiblichen Stimme gesungen wurden, erkannte ich sofort die Worte von Jackson Brownes Lied “The Barricades of Heaven” und rannte über die Main Street, Rapid City/Süd-Dakota in die Firehouse Brewing Company, aus der der Sound kam +++ Roy Metzdorf, the boss of Berlin’s “Weinstein” Restaurant, my wife Ursula Heinzelmann and I had just eaten sensational buffalo filets at “The Corn Exchange” Restaurant just down the road, which seemed the perfect conclusion to our visit to Custer State Park that afternoon where we’d seen herds of buffalo in their natural habitat / Roy Metzdorf, Chef des Berliner Restaurants “Weinstein”, meine Frau und ich hatten gerade sensationelle Bisonfilets im Restaurant “The Corn Exchange” in der gleichen Straße gegessen, was der perfekte Abschluß unserer nachmittäglichen Tour durch den Custer State Park erschien, wo wir Bisonherden in ihrem natürlichen Lebensraum erlebt hatten+++ the only thing we missed at dinner was a bottle of “Wild Grape”, the red wine which Eldon Nygaard of Valiant Vineyards in Vermillion/South Dakota makes from wild grapes collected by the Sicangu Lakota (Sioux) Indians on the Rosebud Reservation / das einzige was beim Abendessen fehlte, war eine Flasche “Wild Grape”, der Rotwein aus wildwachsenen Trauben von der Rosebud Reservation der Sicangu Lakota (Sioux) Indianer +++ we stayed at the Firehouse until Marnie Cooke finished her set of cover versions and I bought one of her CDs of her own songs, but it wasn’t until a couple of days later in Traverse City/Michigan that I read the sleeve notes and discovered she is also Lakota; “Native American” is a much more complex category than we Europeans imagine / wir blieben im Firehouse, bis Marnie Cooke ihre letzte Cover Version gesungen hatte, dann kaufte ich eine CD mit ihren eigenen Liedern, las aber erst ein paar Tage später in Traverse City/Michigan den Text auf der CD-Hülle und stellte fest, dass sie Lakota ist; “Uramerikaner” ist eine weitaus komplexere Kategorie, als wir Europäer denken +++ we were in Traverse City in order to taste the new Rieslings from the Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsulas and the wines from Blackstar Farms, Chateau Grand Traverse, Left Foot Charley, Two Lads and Bowers Harbor Vineyard proved that this little-known corner can produce racy and minerally Rieslings / wir waren in Traverse City, um die neuen Rieslinge von den Old Mission- und Leelanau-Halbinseln zu kosten, und die Weine von Blackstar Farms, Chateau Grand Traverse, Left Foot Charley, Two Lads und Bowers Harbor Vineyard bewiesen, dass diese ziemlich unbekannte Ecke Amerikas beeindruckende rassig-mineralische Rieslinge erzeugen kann +++ I’m not sure that you can call them “Native American” yet, but to quote Wes Jackson they are certainly well on the path to becoming native to the place they grow / ich weiss nicht, ob man sie schon als “uramerikanisch” bezeichnen kann, aber um Wes Jackson zu zitieren, sind sie sicher auf dem richtigen Weg, um an ihrem Standort wahrhaft heimisch zu werden +++ with its fresh crop of pompous mansions that sprouted before the global financial crisis Traverse City was a stark contrast to the Rosebud Reservation where the sufferings of a defeated and cheated people were visible everywhere / mit seiner frischen “Ernte” pompöser Villen stellte Traverse Ciity einen gewaltigen Kontrast zur Rosebud Reservation dar, wo das Leid eines geschlagenen und abgezockten Volkes überall sichtbar war +++ I’m still chewing on those tough impressions from the empty heart of America whilst I work out what to tell you about our days in Boston and New York / während ich überlege, was ich über unsere Tage in New York und Boston erzählen soll, kaue ich noch auf diesen schwerverdaulichen Eindrücken aus dem leeren Herzen Amerikas +++ „better bring your own redemption when you come, to the barricades of heaven where I’m from“

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Wine Telegram 109

Mein Weintelegramm 109

26. Mai 2010

Today the worst blogger in Germany turns 50 years of age / Heute wird der schlechteste Blogger Deutschlands 50 Jahre alt. +++ It´s really nothing special compared with my grandmother turning 100 a few weeks ago though. / Es ist aber wirklich keine große Sache im Vergleich zu dem 100. Geburtstag meiner Oma vor wenigen Wochen. +++ Things have a way of sorting themselves out, she said to me about her long life. / Die Dinge neigen dazu, sich von selber zu sortieren, sagte sie mir in Bezug auf ihr langes Leben. +++ When I think back over the turbulent past year und a half, then I have to say that she´s right. / Wenn ich über den turbulenten Lauf der Dinge während der letzten anderthalb Jahre nachdenke, muss ich ihr recht geben. +++ The financial crisis unleashed by the collapse of Lehmann Brothers bank in September 2008 (there was a spooky feeling on the streets of London that day as if thousands of people might be about to commit mass suicide!) quickly lead to a media crisis. / Die Finanzkrise, die mit dem Kollaps von Lehmann Brothers Bank im September 2008 (an diesem Tag herrschte eine unheimliche Stimmung im Stadtzentrum London, als ob Tausende von Leuten gleich Massenselbstmord begehen könnten) losging führte schnell zu einer Medienkrise. +++ Many magazines in Germany, including several I worked for, closing virtually overnight / Viele Zeitschriften in Deutschland, inklusive mehrere für die ich schrieb, wurden quasi über Nacht eingestellt. +++ By this time a year ago I was seriously wondering if my career as a writer was finished and I might have to sell shoes. / Vor etwa einem Jahr habe ich mich ernsthaft gefragt, ob meine Karriere als Schriftsteller vorbei sei und ich Schuhverkäufer werden müsste. +++ Then after harvesting the grapes (Müller-Thurgau from the Hasennest site in the Tauber Valley) from the vines I borrowed from Winzerhof Stahl in Auernhofen/Franken on the 30th September the wind changed direction / Doch nach der Lese meiner Trauben (Müller-Thurgau aus der Lage Hasennest im Taubertal), von den Reben, die ich von Winzerhof Stahl in Auernhofen/Franken gemietet hatte, wechselte der Wind die Richtung. +++ One by one new employers knocked on my door and now I write for great new German magazines like EFFILEE and FINE. / Nach und nach meldeten sich neue Arbeitgeber bei mir, und jetzt schreibe ich für geniale neue deutsche Zeitschriften wie EFFILEE und FINE. +++ I´ve also started work on daring new projects, sometimes without much on paper, but as my grandmother also told me the other day, you´ve always got to look forward. / An gewagten neuen Projekte arbeite ich auch schon, zum Teil ohne richtig etwas auf dem Papier zu haben, aber wie meine Oma mir vor wenigen Tagen auch sagte, man muss immer nach vorn schauen. +++ Unfortunately when I look at our deeply troubled world I feel much less confident about the future. / Leider fühle ich mich wesentlich unsicherer, was die Zukunft unserer aufgewühlten Welt betrifft. +++ From the MOSEL BRIDGE to the TRIDENT nuclear weapons system of my country there is far too little willingness to confront the mistakes of the past and reject them. / Vom HOCHMOSELÜBERGANG bis hin zum TRIDENT Nuclearwaffensystem meines Geburtslandes gibt es viel zu wenig Bereitschaft, sich den Fehlern der Vergangenheit zu stellen und mit ihnen zu brechen. +++ Ignorance, greed and fear are still the prime motivations of the majority of people, who all too frequently also lack positive feelings like compassion and openness. / Ignoranz, Gier und Furcht sind immer noch die Hauptbeweggründe der Mehrheit der Menschen, denen es allzu oft an positiven Kräften wie Mitgefühl und Offenheit fehlt. +++ It´s of these things that I think when people ask me what I want for my birthday. / Daran denke ich, wenn ich gefragt werde, was ich mir zum Geburtstag wünsche. +++ My answer is always: Please make a donation to WEIN HILFT (wine helps) under which Motto my wonderful friend Pauline Schneider and I collect money for HIV/AIDS Projekts in Cape Town. / Meine Antwort lautet immer: bitte spenden Sie etwas an WEIN HILFT; worunter meine wunderbare Freundin Pauline Schneider und ich und Spenden für HIV/AIDS-Projekte in Kapstadt sammeln. +++ The account details are as follows: / Die Kontonverbindung ist folgnde: Account Nr. / Kontonummer: 32 00 40 04 – branch and branch code / Bank und BLZ Sparkasse Köln-Bonn: 370 501 98 – IBAN: DE49 3705 0198 0032 0040 04 – SWIFT-BIC: COLSDE33 +++ Further information can be found: / Weitere Information unter: www.weinhilft.de

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Wine Telegram from America

no surprise that the world’s worst blogger is only reporting on his travels down the West Coast of America after flying out / kein Wunder, dass der weltschlechteste Blogger von seiner Reise entlang der Westküste Amerikas erst nachdem er abgeflogen ist berichtet +++ here in the emptiness of South Dakota I can breathe more easily than in the ten millon ego hot house of LA where consume-more-faster is the dominant mode of thought / hier in die Leere von Süd-Dakota kann ich freier atmen als im Zehn-Millionen-Ego-Treibhaus von LA, wo schneller-mehr-konsummieren das Denken vollkommen dominiert +++ of course, we were there looking for something else there and Magrueritte Kenner helped us visit some islands of otherness in La-La-Land / selbstverständlich suchten wir da was Anderes und Margueritte Kenner half uns einige Inseln des Anders-seins in La-La-Land zu finden +++ Randy Clement of Silver Lake Wine at 2395 Glendale Boulevard has created one of the most original stores anywhere on Planet Wine offering everything from Caduceus Syrah-dominated red wine from the dessert of Arizona to Dr. Randolf Kauer’s dry Gutsriesling from Germany’s Mittelrhein region / Randy Clement von Silver Lake Wine, 2395 Glendale Boulevard führt einer der originellste Läden auf Planet Wein, wo man Alles von Caduceus Rotwein (überwiegend Syrah) aus der Wüste Arizonas bis zum trockenen Gutsriesling von Dr. Randolf Kauer im Mittelrhein findet +++ sadly we only heard about the food truck serving tacos that’s run by a group of Koreans, but the pastrami sandwich at Langers at 704 S. Alvarado Avenue was as amazingly succulent as promised / leider konnten wir nicht die Tacos von einem multi-kulti-koreanischen Food Truck kosten, aber der Pastrami Sandwich bei Langers, 704 S. Alvarado Avenue war so grandios saftig wie versprochen +++ after Robert Kenner, director of the dcoumentary film FOOD INC., told us one of his colleagues currently describes himself as “the film director looking for work with the most successful previous film” I felt disinclined to see more of the Dreamfactory than the famous sign up in the beautiful Hollywood Hills / nach dem Robert Kenner, Regiseur vom Dokumentarfilm FOOD INC. mir von einer Kollege der jetzt sich selbst als “der unbeschäftigte Film Regiseur mit dem erfolgreichsten letzten Film” beschreibt, hatte ich keine Lust mehr von der Traumfabrik zu sehen als dem berühmten Schild in den herrlichen Hollywood Hills +++ the movie that is our strange trip across this continent teetering wavering between genius and collapse is more extraordinary than anything Hollywood currently has to offer / unsere verrückte Reise durch diesen Kontinent, der hin und her zwischen Genie und Kollaps wackelt ist aufregender als alle Filme die Hollywood gegenwärtig zu bieten hat +++ a week ago in the distressed shed that is Scherrer Winery in Graton, Sonoma County we tasted a bunch of wines as uncompromisingly individual as the best Europe has to offer / eine Woche her haben wir in der abgenutzte Lagerhalle wo Scherrer Winery sitzt eine Reihe Weine verkostet die so kompromisslos individuell wie das Beste was Europa zu bieten hat waren +++ the Californian sun and well tended vines had given them a lot of power, but in spite of this Fred Scherrers Pinot Noirs, Zinfandels and Cabernets were subtle and earthy-spicy, rather than loud or lifted / die kalifornische Sonne und gute Weinbergspflege haben sie viel Kraft gegeben, aber Fred Scherrers Pinot Noirs, Zinfandels und Cabernets sind alles andere als laut oder geliftet +++ for my commentary on the Rieslings we tasted at Chateau Ste Michelle ad Weingut Dr. Loosen’s Riesling Rendezvous event in Seattle earlier in our trip please consult my column in the FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE SONNTAGSZEITUNG of July 25th / für meinen Kommentar zu den Weinen die wir am Anfang der Reise auf der Riesling Rendezvous von Chateau Ste Michelle und Weingut Dr. Loosen in Seattle gekostete haben siehe meine Kolumne in der FAS von 25. July +++ in another week I will report on our experiences here in the Wild West of Wine / in eine Woche berichte ich über unsere Erlebnise hier im Wilden Westen des Weins

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