Although I’ve made it back to Berlin physically and I’m writing this at my “home” desk surrounded by familiar stuff, my head is still full of a hotch-potch of New York things like this sign which says everything about my state of disorientation. I could really do with some help readjusting to what we all call “normality” most days, and hope that the German Rieslings (famous and non-famous names from Rheinhessen) that I’m about to taste are going to provide it. What made returning really strange was that my flight left JFK in a snowstorm and when I arrived in Berlin the weather conditions were almost identical. “Have I moved at all, or was I just shut in a series of metal cylinders (airplanes and trains) with flat screens instead of windows and subjected to varying g-forces? Am I the victim of a virtual reality experiment?” I asked myself. Of course, the answer was no as I discovered when I went for a run, did some shopping and took out the trash. Also the snow is melting fast. This definitely is East Berlin and not the East Village of Manhattan. This situation is not without advantages, for example roughly half the wines I’m about to taste aren’t imported into the US. Even the top sommeliers of America are still lagging behind developments here due to the limited number of professional and ambitious importers of German wines. I feel sure their ranks are about to swell though, as the exciting new producers offer too many good opportunities for smart young wine merchants. If these two groups hook up over the next couple of years as I expect them to do, then the perception of German Riesling in the US will undergo a serious shift and this, in turn, will alter the image of Riesling altogether. In the other direction things, sadly, look much less promising. Where are the German wine merchants interested in importing Riesling from the Finger Lakes in New York State or the exciting new wines from North Michigan? I just don’t see them.
Marcarthur Baralla, the young Brooklyn-based documentary filmmaker who filmed my farewell party in New York just sent me the link below to a time-lapse sequence he shot of the event which compresses one long evening into under a minute. I’m easy to spot because I’m wearing a long red jacket from Neodandi (about which a story will shortly follow): https://vimeo.com/58109940