German Wines: More than a short romance


In the fifth interview in the series "The German Wine Questionnaire", we speak to one of Poland's most well-known wine journalists. Tomasz Prange-Barczyński confesses to a brief romance with Liebfraumilch in his youth, which proved to be the gateway to an unbridled passion for the great German wines he loves today.


The chief editor of "Ferment. Pismo o winie" and columnist for top-selling Polish chef magazine "Kuchnia" and lifestyle and cooking magazine "Usta", repeatedly emphasises the quality of German wines in his regular appearances on Polish TV and radio as well as in countless articles for print and online media. His commitment to German wines has contributed significantly to the fact that Poland is now one of the most important export markets for German wine producers. In 2019, he was named a Riesling Fellow.

1. What was the first German wine you ever tasted and when?

Honestly, I have no idea. Even though I started to travel frequently to Germany in the middle of the 1980s, it was a beer country for me. So, I’m afraid, my very first German wine had to be a Liebfraumilch in the very early 1990s. A very short romance from my early youth ????

2. What was your most memorable moment with German wine?

Well, I had hundreds… from tasting Rheingau Riesling from the 1920s to receiving the Riesling Fellow title two years ago in Bundestag. But, for me the most important moment has always been to meet people standing behind the bottle. All my meetings with Masters of German wine, like Helmut Dönnhoff, Johannes Selbach, Clemens Busch, Ernst Loosen, Armin Diel, Roman Niewodniczański, last but not least, Teresa Breuer and many others were extremely important and memorable.

3. What is your favourite place in Germany’s wine regions and why?

If I really have to choose only one (which is hard) it would be a stony terrace at Berg Schlossberg vineyard in Rheingau –a place where you are, on one hand, in an extraordinary place, one of the best cru for Riesling in the whole world, and on the other hand, you can see another three very important and beloved wine regions on the other side of the Rhine river: Nahe, Mittelrhein and Rheinhessen.

4. What would be your desert island bottle of German wine and why?

H. Dönnhoff Hermannshöhle GG Riesling from Nahe: pure elegance, unbeatable structure, longevity, extreme potential and, simply, amazing. My style of Riesling.

5. Do you have a favourite German dish, and the ideal wine to pair with it?

I believe today Germany is a melting pot of different cultures, including culinary culture, and I have been happy to have the possibility to try dishes from all over the world there. And if you consider that Riesling (and in a certain way Spätburgunder too) is such a versatile wine, easy to pair with traditional German (and also Polish) dishes as well as fusion, Indian and Japanese cuisine; we have hundreds of possibilities. But there’s one special wine pairing for me and it’s not Riesling: dry Franken Silvaner with fresh white asparagus covered by an ocean of melted butter, certainly, in the peak of Spargelzeit (asparagus season), somewhere on the bank of the Main river.

6. Who would you like to share a glass of German wine with and why?

Letting my imagination run wild I would love to share a glass or rather a bottle of great German Riesling with some historical personality. As I love classical music as much as wine, I would consider some great German composer. Unfortunately, according to sources Ludwig Van Beethoven was a genius but not necessary a nice companion (even if he was a hard wine drinker). So, I would say: Johann Sebastian Bach!

7. Which German wine would you love to taste because you have not had the chance yet?

Mosel TBA Riesling from one of the top vintages of 20th century: 1971, 1959 or, in a perfect world – 1949 or 1921.

The German Wine Questionnaire

This is where the international wine scene gives away private details: The German Wine Institute asks leading lights of the international wine scene seven key questions on German wine.

Already published:

Interview Jancis Robinson MW

Interview Lars Daniel MV

Interview Takahiro Yamano

Interview with Peter Kuhn


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