In love with wine in Wachenheim
The German Wine Institute has been talking to outstanding personalities in the international wine scene and asking them seven key questions about German wine. Our wine experts have dug deep into their memories, remembered impressive wines, moments and people and weighed up which of their many German wine moments should be THE answer to our questions - their answers were exciting and inspiring.
Find out what happened when we spoke to Šárka Dušková, the Czech candidate for the demanding and prestigious title 'Master of Wine'. She has her roots in wine journalism and was the editor and editor-in-chief of Víno Revue Magazine. In 2007, she launched the Prague Wine Trophy competition, which is now the largest international wine competition in the Czech Republic. Shortly after, she set herself the goal of making wine knowledge accessible to as many people as possible and in 2009 she founded the Prague Wine Academy, which is a partner of the Austrian Wine Academy in the Czech Republic. She herself completed the WSET Diploma in Wines and Spirits at the Austrian Wine Academy in 2014. However, we learnt that it was one night in Wachenheim that kindled her love for German wine."
1. Do you remember what the first German wine you tasted was and when that was?
My first real experience with German wine was 16 years ago. On the way from Prague to Vinexpo Bordeaux in June 2005, I spent a night at Weingut Dr. Bürklin-Wolf in Wachenheim, Pfalz. I travelled with the Czech importer of this winery and we were lucky enough to walk around their splendid vineyards - Pechstein, Kirchenstück, Jesuitengarten - and taste some of their wines. The wines were full-bodied and mineral with intense aromas and flavours, which clearly reflected the different terroirs of the sites and the volcanic, basalt soils. I was impressed by their diversity and remarkable individuality.
2. What was your most memorable moment with German wine?
I have so many memorable moments with German wine. One of them was definitely my first visit to the VDP auction in Trier. Auction wines have to fulfil very particular criteria, meaning they really are the best of the best. In the morning, the winemakers personally presented each of the wines, which are released in very limited quantities. I was honoured to talk to the winemakers and taste these wonderful wines. In the afternoon, the wines were served by sommeliers during the bidding, and I had the chance to taste them all again. Watching the auction was an exhilarating experience which I would recommend to any lover of German wines. The entry fee is very reasonable for the wines you taste, especially considering the prices that the wines reach at auction.
3. What is your favourite place in Germany's wine regions and why?
Every wine region in Germany is beautiful so it is hard to select just one. I would really love to go back to the Piesporter Goldtröpfchen vineyard in the Mosel region. This unique, steep site has south-facing slopes which are surrounded by forest, meaning it is protected from drought. In the late summer and autumn, the site experiences morning fogs followed by plenty of sunshine, resulting in the ideal conditions for botrytis. I would rather have a picnic in this vineyard than go to any gala dinner! All Rieslings from this site, whether they are dry or sweet, are balanced, mineral and concentrated, with citrus and apricot aromas and a touch of honey. They can age forever and change unbelievably.
4. What would be your desert island bottle of German wine and why?
If I could only take one bottle, it would be the Piesporter Goldtropfchen Riesling Spätlese Grans Fassian 2010. This wine is characterised by exceptional levels of acidity and is a great example of the optimal balance between residual sugar and crisp, vibrant acidity. Having tasted it recently, I found this eleven-year-old Riesling to have a great combination of freshness and beautiful aged notes. With aromas of apricots, citrus and honey, it has only 7.5% alcohol yet is still full of life and energy. Ideally, I’d take a magnum bottle of course!
5. Do you have a favourite German dish, and the ideal wine to pair with it?
German and Czech cuisine have common roots, so I love to cook many German dishes at home. My ideal Sunday lunch with my family would be crispy pork schnitzel and German potato salad, paired with a dry Riesling, maybe from the Pfalz. This would be followed by apple strudel for dessert, accompanied by an Auslese or Beerenauslese Riesling from the Mosel.
6. Who would you like to share a glass of German wine with and why?
I always love to share a glass of wine with the winemaker who made the wine and gave it his or her personal touch. I like to learn about his/her philosophy, story and experience. German winemakers are no exception and I call many German winemakers my good friends - they are very communicative, open-minded people and I would always be happy to share a glass with any one of them. If I had to choose one, it would be Stefan Doktor from Schloss Johannisberg in the Rheingau. Nobody else is able to talk about wine like Stefan. In addition, I know he has a Riesling from the year I was born in the cellar at Bibliotheca Subterranea.
7. Which German wine would you love to taste but you have not had the chance to do so yet?
As a lover of sweet Rieslings, I would like to taste the Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese Fritz Haag 2006 from the Mosel. It was awarded 100 points by the Gault Millau WeinGuide 2008, the second-best rating that Gault Millau has ever given. The best rating in this guide was awarded to Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese 1994 which was produced by the same winery 15 years earlier. Drinking this wine would make me recall great moments I spent with Wilhelm Haag, an iconic German winemaker, who sadly passed away last year.
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