The Travelling Gourmet hard at work as a Wine Judge in Italy…Oh, mein Gott! Italian ladies are as beautiful as their wines…
N 51° 16.096
E 6° 43.630
The intrepid Travelling GourmetTM covers Prowein 2013, the largest trade-only Wine Exhibition & Wine Fair in Germany where…
MANY very important wine makers, inporters and exporters attend. A French winemaker told me recently, “If you have to attend just one Wine Exhibition a year, forget Vinexpo and Vinitaly…go to Prowein, It’s the best one!”
The figures of PROWEIN 2012:
- 3,980 exhibitors from 47 countries presented their products in 2012. This means approximately 8 percent more producers, service providers and suppliers than in the previous year.
- 40,670 visitors from 49 countries
- 880 journalists from 36 countries
I arrived in Duesseldorf early in the morning. Lufthansa were on strike, a lightning Warnstreik, but I escaped the ill effects by the skin of my teeth due to the grace of God & the Buddha…
The Deutsch-Bahn Inter-City Express train or ICE was good, very good. With speeds up to 268 kph, I got where I wanted to go fast. Time is of the essence, always.
So much Wine …and so little time!
What the hell, just go for it!
I have been to Vinitaly many times and Vinexpo too. Comparatively, Prowein is HUGE and about the same size as Vinitaly. I am going to state something that is politically incorrect: Vinexpo is not so well organised, and in the super hot summer of 2003, the Wine people were super angry that there were not enough chillers so their wines got ‘cooked’, literally. Prowein is, however, very well organised, although in some areas the direction signage is poor, for eg to the Press Center. It wasted 18 minutes of my time to find it after asking 2 people and consulting the map.
Here in Germany, on 24 March which is a Sunday, it is so COLD at 2C that no wines will get cooked. There is snow in Berlin! Germans are very hardworking as Prowein’s Opening Day is on a Sunday!
On a side note, in a German house in the present day even with central heating, the room temperature is 18C. THIS IS THE ORIGIN OF THE COMMON MISCONCEPTION THAT RED WINES MUST BE SERVED AT ROOM TEMPERATURE! It is room temperature in EUROPE! In hot Asian couuntries like Singapore and Thailand, the room temperature with air conditioning is 24C and without about 27C. DO NOT SERVE YOUR RED WINE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE IN SUCH SITUATIONS! I feel very strongly about this because some so called wine connoisseurs still advocate this to this very day. As Humphrey Bogart said in multi-Oscar Winner Casablanca (1942): I was misinformed.
The Travelling Gourmet’s special selections>>>
Villa Sandi of Italy make some very good wines. I like their Prosecco a lot.
Gonet Champagne from Le Mesnil sur Oger in France is one of the world’s best champagnes.
Champagne Palmer is also excellent and worthy of note.
Where to stay:
When in Duesseldorf, stay at the homely and very comfy Hyatt Regency. All Hyatts maintain a very high standard worldwide, and that is why The Travelling Gourmet loves Hyatt! Location is excellent and James Bond-like buttons allow you to open and close your blinds instantly…to reveal…no, not the curves of a voluptuous Czech blonde, but the amazing views of the Media Hafen or Harbour…exquisite!
How I got to Prowein…
Fly to Frankfurt and then fly to Duesseldorf or take the super-fast ICE (Inter City Express) trains. Note that platforms are called Gleis or ‘Track’.
I flew into Germany on Lufthansa, one of my favourite airlines, not because their air hostesses are prettier than the old, fat and ugly wrestler-like Quantas flight stewardesses…but because their Kosher food is really good. I am not a Jew in the true sense of the word. However, I like to enjoy Kosher food, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but soon, now and then…for the rest of my life. I also have an admiration for Israel, the IDF and the Jewish way of doing things. I usually keep these opinions to myself because it is not politically correct to most misinformed people.
My Kosher meal on Lufthansa was huge, 3x the size of the regular meals, served piping hot and sealed according to Jewish law & Glatt Kosher law. It was so well sealed that getting to the food & fruits was like trying to get money from a private banker in Luxembourg. Sehr schwierig, as they say in Deutschland. My chicken Schnitzel wih sweet peas and carrots was Yummy! So was the zesty Sauerkraut. Some 40,000 feet over Central Asia I savoured the meal. It is better than the SIA K-meals that come from Australia and the SIA Singapore Girls, arguably the most beautiful flight stewardesses comparing all the world’s airlines, ask you for permission before opening and breaking the Kosher seals to heat up the food. If you are really Orthodox & strict, this is actually a no-no. Never mind, in Buddhism, we say, be tolerant and live & let live. I get funny looks when I have my Kosher meal. On a Lufthansa flight, surrounded by native Germans, I got funny looks, very funny looks. I was the only Juden on the plane, they noticed. Well, if there were others , they were in deep cover, Ha! Ha! Germans, I feel; inoffensively to any Germans out there…always have a collective guilt re that malignant, demented dwarf Hitler’s final solution and heartless liquidation of over 6 million Jews in the infamous Kozentrationslaegern. Perhaps that was why a burly German sitting across the aisle from me helped me to open up my Kosher meal. I thanked him profusely in fluent German. It pleased him, I could tell. One more thing, Kosher food sans pork is very healthy. Jews can eat Muslim halal food and Muslims can eat Kosher food so why the hell do they fight? The answer, my friend ‘ist ganz einfach (is exactly simple). Just count the number of wars since the dawn of time and you have your answer…
Freitag 22. Maerz, 2013
MARCH 21st is today…I am going to eat pork and Wurst and salami and lots of it! Maybe even wild boar if I can find it…
It is 6C and sunny with blue skies and cotton wool clouds. There is white icy frost on the car roofs like icing on a fruitcake, and on the chilled, cropped green grass gardens of the houses, but it is melting… It is going to be a beautiful day here in the region around Koeln/Cologne, famed for its 4711 Eau de Cologne perfume. Duesseldorf and Frankfurt am Main are all within range of a fast car. All the wine lovers are primed for Prowein 2013 which starts on Sun 24 March, but a lot of the important and key importers, buyers and exporters and winemakers are arriving and heading to Dusseldorf. Before Prowein, I took time out to smell the roses. Some sightseeing and meeting important potential Winemakers, negociants and producers is always enjoyable.
I found and ate 1.2kg of really delicious PORK! Schweinshaxe in Gaffel am Dom is excellent. The crackling the Pork Knuckle is so ueber crispy that when you bite in, the sound reverberates in your head like when you fire a Smith & Wesson .44 caliber Revolver without ear muffs! This traditional Brauhaus Restaurant also brews beer and you must have at the very least a 2cl tall glass of chilled Koelsch! A very smooth and slightly sweet beer.
is the majestic and magnificent Roman Catholic Cathedral of this historic and ancient Roman city. Just an M203 Launched Grenade from the Hauptbahnhof or Central Station, this monument to Christianity is awesome! Don’t miss the basement Crypt where the Cardinals of the past are buried and their names are engraved in stone on the wall. It is majestic. It is awesome. It is very beautiful.
Samstag 23. Maerz, 2013
Sonnig aber kalt etwa 3C. Solange es gab keinen Regen, bin ich gluecklich.
Nachdem Bewegung mit radfahren fuer 30 Minuten -8,2km lang bin ich bereit…Dormagen zu gehen.
Dormagen’s Oster (Easter) Market is really nice! Lots of stuff from fried Mandelen (Almonds) with honey to Dental Surgeon’s instruments. Lots of Easter egss everywhere beacause Good Friday is on 29 March! Dormagen is a small town but it is very nice and the mighty River Rhine is just a few km away.
A typical German Breakfast is always a good way to start a happy day. There is Coffee, very, black, very strong…Orange juice, Marmalade (Jam in English) of raspberries and strawberries, Honey, Ham, Salami, Mortadella (yes, Germans like Italian Salume) and sometimes hard or soft boiled eggs, and cheese (Kaese Abschnitt), of course.
Sunday, 24 March, 2013
05:22 I am up early. I shall go to the GYM soon then Fruehstueck and Andiamo to Prowein.
The sun was shining as I entered Prowein, and it was bitterly cold outside so I was glad to be in the warm environs surrounded by wines from around the world. My first stop was De Bortoli wines of Australia famous for their Noble One Botrytis Semillon dessert wine. Next was Nederburg, another New World wine and then I attended the Seminar by Juergen Mathaesz on “Flavours of the Southern Hemisphere @ Prowein 2013” Eight wines were showcased, and the one I liked best was Achaval Ferrer Altamira 2010 from Mendoza in Argentina. Despite its 15 months oak treatment, the Malbec grape was not over-oaked and had lovely flavours of dark chocolate and strawberries. I would have this with some very top quality chocolate pralines or a Moellouex au Chocolat dessert. I also went to the Accolade Wines stand where Flemming Jons told me: Hardys is doing very well in the Duty Free sector in Europe and Robert Mondavi wines too.
In the Press Center I had to pay 2.50 Euros for Kartoffelsalat & 2 Bockwurst. Normally journalists are fed well free of charge, but well, maybe it is the German way of doing things. On the plus side there were plenty of wines for complimentary tasting. I like that.
Brava Badia a Colitibuono!
MEETING my good friend La Presidente of this exclusive and most excellent winery was a pleasure. I tasted 2009 Sangioveto di Toscana IGT. ‘Sangioveto is the local (colloquail) name for the famous Sangiovese grape…’ With its good balance of red fruit and acidity and supples, silky tannins that show thier presence with a subtle finesse, this wine I find really expresses the terroir of this unique winery high up in the hills of Chianti near Gaiole in Chianti. The name comes from ”Cultus Boni’ which was the name of the ancient abbey that was here in days of yore. This was one of the first places where the Sangiovese grape was introduced.
Lebanon’s iconic wine!
Through the many civil wars that Lebanon had to suffer, one winery followed that so Brtitish of maxims: Keep calm and carry on. That winery is Chateau Musar, and its President & Director General Serge G. Hochar is a very modest but wise gentleman. He continued to make wine sometimes with mortars exploding nearby and 5.56mm bullets whizzing overhead. I spoke to him today and tomorrow, I hope to interview him and learn more about his wines. One of its most famous wines is the Chateau Musar Red 1988 comprising Cinsault, Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon. Sweet cherry fruit with cinnamon & nutmeg flavours coupled with good acidity and balance make it a very food friendly wine. Warm hearted Serge,73, is not only a winemaker par excellence…he is a survivor par excellence. ‘It all started when I was 18…my father wanted me to take over the business.’
I interviewed Serge & learned a lot. Throughout his years of winemaking even in the Civil war, he never got even a flesh wound and was unscathed. Serge commented with a mischievious twinkle in his eye, ‘HE didn’t want me up there..’ On how it all started, Sege said wryly, ‘My father wanted me to take care of the winery. I was eighteen…I told him I want make wines known around the world…I want a free hand.’ My father said, ‘Yes.’
Serge continued, ‘And so started…in 1959 was the 1st vintage. I did not know so much about oenology so in 1963 I studied Oenology and wine making in Bordeaux for one year.’
URLA Wines from TURKEY!
Two beautiful ladies bade me try their wines. It was an offer I could not possibly refuse. Turkish wines are from grapes most wine connoisseurs have NEVER even heard of. Please see my related feature: Sweet for the Sweet.
Prowein in CHINA
Yes, Prowein is going to China because the European wine market realise the huge potential of the China market, mainly because of the huge population. Notwithstanding that China has no wine culture like Europe, the wealthy ‘nouveau riche’ are into everything glitzy and bourgeois…that is good for expensive ‘branded’ European wines!
To be continued…