Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ombiasy PR and WineTours Website Redesigned

Pictures: All taken from ombiasy PR and WineTours Website

Ombiasy PR and WineTours is a wine events/tours company, based in Washington DC, US, and Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The company was founded and is run by Annette Schiller. Ombiasy PR recently redesigned its web site and incorporated the wine blog schiller-wine in its web presence.

Ombiasy PR and WineTours – What We Offer

Expert, all-inclusive tours to wine regions in France and Germany.

Custom tailored tours to wine regions in France, Germany, and other wine regions around the world.

Planning and implementation of wine pairing dinners in the Washington DC area and Germany for wineries / châteaux.

Educational presentations on the wines of France and Germany (with and without accompanying tastings).

Conceptualization and organization of promotional events for the food and beverage industry.


Ombiasy PR and WineTours - What you get when you Travel with us

Guidance and instruction throughout the trip by Annette and Christian Schiller, a husband and wife team. We both are wine enthusiasts, seasoned wine tasters and know the wine regions like the back of our hands. We are fluent in English, German, and French.

Travel in the wine regions by luxury air-conditioned motor coach.

Accommodation in 3-star, 4-star, or 5-star hotels depending on availability in the regions, including breakfast buffets.

Lunches and dinners at excellent restaurants.

Wine pairing gourmet lunches and dinners at wineries / châteaux guided by the owners or sommeliers.

Winery tours of top estates and châteaux.

Access to wine estates normally not open to visitors.

Expert tastings of wines of the highest quality at top wine estates and châteaux.

The opportunity to meet with many of the wine estate and châteaux owners and winemakers.

Guided city tours and sightseeing tours of spectacular historical sites.

A very personal, authentic experience and total immersion in the particular wine region.

Ombiasy WineTours in 2014

3 wine tours to Germany and Bordeaux are planned for September – October 2014. As in previous years, the husband and wife team Annette and Christian Schiller will personally guide the tours throughout the trip. Through our friendships with many winemaker and owners, the tours are a very intimate, personal experience for everyone in the small group (10 people maximum) traveling with us.

Quintessential German Whites (Germany-North)

From September 04 – September 13, 2014, we will explore six (Saale-Unstrut, Franken, Rheingau, northern Rheinhessen, Mosel, Nahe) German wine regions with visits to 19 top wineries and cultural gems. We will get intimate insights into a selection of Germany’s best of the best wineries, normally closed to visitors. A cruise on the romantic Rhine River with its castle- and vine-ribboned banks, the Mosel valley with its dizzying steep vineyards, delving into 2000 years of history, and tasting first class wines under the guidance of great winemakers will be among the highlights. Special treats include wine pairing lunches and dinners with the owners and winemakers at prominent estates.


The tour follows the 2013 German Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy, with the Franken region added, the Mosel Valley portion extended and the Pfalz region deleted (and included in the Sun-kissed German South Tour) and includes the following wineries: Pawis, Gussek, Kloster Pforta, Juliusspital, Bickel-Stumpf, Robert Weil, Kloster Eberbach, Jakob Jung, Thoerle, Kuehling-Gillot, Kuenstler, Peter Jakob Kuehn, Clemens Busch, Dr. Loosen, Maximin Gruenhaus (Von Schubert), Reichsgraf von Kesselstadt, Doennhoff, Kruger-Rumpf, Diel, Schaetzel.

The Sun-kissed German South (Germany-South)

From September 14 – September 20, 2014, we will explore three wine regions (Baden, Pfalz, southern Rheinhessen) in the south of Germany and will experience the German red wine revolution. We will visit 16 crème de la crème wineries in southern Germany, normally not open to visitors. We will cross the Rhine River and visit the Maison Trimbach in Alsace to taste the difference between German and Alsatian wines despite the geographic proximity. Among the highlights will be tasting first class Pinot Noirs with the winemakers, and experiencing the culinary South. A special treat will be wine pairing lunches at 1-Michelin-star restaurants.


This is a new tour, with a large number of southern producers of ultra-premium German wine included: Schloss Neuweier, Karl H. Johner, Freiherr von Gleichenstein, Fritz Keller, Huber, Dr. Heger, Zaehringer, Maison Trimbach, Friederich Becker, Rebholz, Bassermann-Jordan, Christmann, Weegmueller, Markus Schneider, Wittmann, Klaus Peter Keller, Gunderloch.

Immersion in Bordeaux

From September 22 – October 02, 2014, we will travel to the Bordeaux wine region with visits to 18 top Chateaux (15 are classified growth), closed to the normal passers-by, in Pessac-Léognan, Saint-Emilion, Pomerol, Entre-Deux-Mer, Sauternes, Médoc, Saint-Estèphe, Pauillac, Saint-Julien, Margaux. The harvest celebration at Château Phélan-Ségur, the in-depth visit of an oyster farmer, and witnessing the art of barrique making at a first class family run cooperage are among the highlights. Very special treats are the many gourmet wine pairing lunches and dinners in a very private setting at famous chateaux where we will be welcomed by the owners.


The tour follows closely the Bordeaux Wine Tour 2013 by ombiasy, with a few estates changed: Pape-Clément, Domaine de Chevalier, Angélus, Canon La Gaffelière, Beauséjour, Figeac, Le Bon Pasteur, Tertre-Rôteboeuf, de Fargues, du Cros, Millésima, Earl Ostrea Chanca oyster farm, Le Reysse, Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Léoville Poyferré, Phélan Ségur, Lafon-Rochet, Latour, Cooperage Berger and Fils, Brane-Cantenac, Haut-Bailly.

Postings - 2013 German Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy 

I have published a series of postings on the 2013 German Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy. See here:

Ombiasy Wine Tours: Wine and Culture Tour to Germany Coming up in August 2013

German Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy, 2013

Weingut Pawis in the Saale Unstrut Region - A Profile, Germany

Tasting at Weingut Balthasar Ress, Hattenheim, Rheingau, with Stefan Ress, Germany

Impromptu Winetasting with Alexander Jung, Weingut Jakob Jung, Erbach, Rheingau, Germany

A Tasting at Weingut Peter Jakob Kühn, Rheingau, with Angela and Peter Jakob Kühn, Germany

Tasting with Rita Busch at Weingut Clemens Busch in the Mosel Valley, Germany

Ernst Loosen Presented his Wines at Weingut Dr. Loosen, Bernkastel-Kues, Mosel Valley, Germany

Cellar Tour, Vineyard Tour, Tasting and Lunch with Georg Rumpf, Weingut Kruger-Rumpf, Nahe Valley, Germany

An Afternoon with Riesling Star Winemaker Helmut Doennhoff at Weingut Doennhoff in Oberhausen in the Nahe Valley, Germany

The World Meets at Weingut Weegmueller, Pfalz, Germany

Tasting with Johannes and Christoph Thoerle, Weingut Thoerle in Saulheim, Rheinhessen, Germany

Impressions from the Mainz Wine Market 2013, Germany

Postings - 2013 Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy

I have published a series of postings on the 2013 Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy. See here:

Ombiasy Wine Tours: Bordeaux Trip Coming up in September 2013

Bordeaux Wine Tour 2013 by ombiasy

An Afternoon at Château Pape-Clément (in 2013), Appellation Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux

Dinner at Château Canon La Gaffeliere, Appellation Saint-Emilion, Premier Grand Cru Classé, France

Visiting a “Holy” Construction Site: Château Angélus in Saint-Emilion, France

Lunch at Château Le Bon Pasteur with Winemaker/Owner Dany Rolland, Pomerol, France

Tour, Tasting and Lunch at Château Beausejour in AOC Puisseguin-St.Emilion, France

Visit of an Ultra-premium Non-mainstream Bordeaux Producer: Tertre Rôteboeuf, with Owner and Winemaker François Mitjavile

Visiting and Tasting at Château Climens, with Owner Bérénice Lurton, Bordeaux, France 

Lunch, Tour and Tasting with Owner Catherine Thibault d'Halluin (nee Boyer) and Winemaker Julien Noel - Château du Cros, Château Mayne du Cros, Château Courbon and Clos Bourbon, Bordeaux, France

Visiting an Oyster Farm at Arcachon Bay, Bordeaux: Raphael Doerfler at Earl Ostrea Chanca , France

Tour and Tasting at Château Pontet-Canet, with Owner Alfred Tesseron, Bordeaux

Tour, Tasting and Lunch at Château Léoville-Poyferré, with Didier Cuvelier and Anne Cuvelier, France  

A Tour and Tasting at Château Lafon-Rochet in Saint-Estèphe, Bordeaux, with Winemaker and Owner Basile Tesseron (2013), France

A Tour and Tasting at Château Coufran, Haut-Médoc, with Co-owner Frédéric Vicaire, France

Tour and Tasting at Château Lynch-Bages in Bages, Bordeaux, France

Tour at Tonnellerie Berger and Fils: How is a Barrique Made? Bordeaux, France

Wine Dinner at Château Haut-Bailly, Cru Classé de Graves, France

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Doepfner’s im Maingau Meets Frankfurt/Wein, with Weingut Battenfeld-Spanier and Weingut Chat Sauvage, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Picture: Wolfgang L. Feierfeil, Frankfurt/Wein, Frank Schubert, Weingut Battenfeld Spanier, Michael Staedter, Weingut Chat Sauvage, Werner Doepfner and Doepfner Junior

With its contemporary, light and fresh cuisine with a regional accent and a highly respected and renowned wine cellar, "Döpfner's im Maingau" is among the top restaurants in the Frankfurt am Main region.

Frankfurt/Wein is one of the best wine retail stores in Germany. It just won second place in the 2014 Best Wine Retail Shop Competition, organized by the German Wine Institute (DWI) in cooperation with the trade magazine WINE + MARKT.

Doepfner’s im Maingau and Frankfurt/Wein teamed up to present 2 of the leading German wine producers: Weingut Battenfeld-Spanier and Weingut Chat Sauvage.

Frankfurt/Wein

Frankfurt/Wein is owned and managed by Gernot Dorsch and Wolfgang L. Feierfeil. It is a stylish, chic wine store with a portfolio concentrating on German and French premium wines. In the German portfolio, you find all the big names like Doennhoff, Kuenstler, Dr. Loosen and many more, such as Battenfeld-Spanier and Chat Sauvage, well represented.

Picture: Gernot Dorsch, Frankfurt/Wein and Christian G.E. Schiller

Doepfner’s im Maingau

"Döpfner's im Maingau" is the hotel restaurant of Hotel Maingau, which has been owned and run by the Döpfner family for more than 60 years. In fact, 3 generations of the Döpfner family were present at the winemaker dinner. Werner Döpfner was in charge of the restaurant service, his son Joerg Doepfner was in charge of the cooking, Joerg’s wife received the guests and their young son was helping out in the kitchen and in the service. With its contemporary, light and fresh cuisine with a regional accent and a highly respected and renowned wine cellar, "Döpfner's im Maingau" is among the top restaurants in the Frankfurt am Main region.

Pictures: Hotel im Maingau, Christian G.E. Schiller, Chef Joerg Doepfner with his Father and his Son

See also:
The Best Restaurants in the Greater Frankfurt am Main Region, Germany
Frankfurt Top Trendy Restaurants – Feinschmecker 2012
Schiller's Favorite Apple Wine Taverns in Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Weingut Battenfeld Spanier

Weingut Battenfeld-Spanier is in Hohen-Sülzen (Wonnegau area) close to the city of Worms in Southern Rheinhessen. The Spanier family has been making wine for generations. The vineyard area totals 18 hectares, with holdings in: Kirchenstück, Rosengarten und Sonnenberg (Hohen-Sülzen), as well as Frauenberg (Flörsheim). More than 50% of the area is planted with Riesling, as well as with Pinot Noir (20%), Pinot Blanc (8%), Silvaner, Chardonnay and other varieties.

Annual production is around 70.000 bottles of wine. The estate is a member of the VDP association. H. O. Spanier has been a member of the ECOVIN organic growers association since 1996. Weingut Battenfeld-Spanier is now fully biodynamic.

H.O. Spanier took over Weingut Spanier from his parents in 1993. In 1997, Weingut Spanier was merged with the neighboring Weingut Battenfeld to become Weingut Battenfeld-Spanier. Over the following years, H.O. Spanier singlehandedly transformed Weingut Battenfeld-Spanier into one of the most preeminent wine producers in Germany.

Pictures: Michael Staedter, Weingut Chat Sauvage, and Frank Schubert, Weingut Battenfeld-Spanier

Since 2006, H.O. Spanier has been married to Carolin Spanier-Gillot, also a gifted wine maker. She is a graduate of the famous Geisenheim College wine maker school, a co-founder of the Message in a Bottle association of young winegrowers and a member of the Vinissima. She is sometimes referred to the whirlwind among the young, women winegrowers in Germany. Carolin came with Weingut Kuehling-Gillot (Weingut Kuehling-Gillot came about by marriage in 1970 of Carolin’s parents, Roland Gillot and Gabi Kuehling).

Carolin and H.O have two children, who they hope will carry on the tradition of producing great wines. The family lives in Hohen-Suelzen.

Although both estates continue to produce wine under their respective names – Weingut Kuehling-Gillot and Weingut Battenfeld-Spanier - certain functions have been pooled. The tasting room and sales office for both estates is in Bodenheim at Weingut Kuehling-Gillot. As wine makers, both have stamped their wines with a unique signature, but it seems that H.O. is taking the lead in in terms of winemaking at both estates, while Carolin will be more active in terms of marketing and sales. Essentially, when it comes to the wines of Weingut Kuehling-Gillot and Weingut Battenfeld-Spanier, they carry the signature of H.O. Spanier.

At the dinner, the wines of Weingut Battenfeld-Spanier were presented by Frank Schubert, a former sommelier, who has been working with H.O. and Carolin for a number of years now.

See also:
The Wine Maker Couple H.O. Spanier and Carolin Spanier-Gillot, with Roland Gillot, Lead Wine Tasting of Kuehling-Gillot and Battenfeld-Spanier Wines at Weingut Kuehling-Gillot, Germany

2014 Germany (North) Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy

The upcoming Germany North Tour by ombiasy will include a visit of Weingut Kuehling-Gillot, where we will taste the whole range of the wines of H.O. Spanier with Frank Schubert again. For more information, see:

3 Wine Tours by ombiasy Coming up in 2014: Germany-North, Germany-South and Bordeaux
ombiasy Public Relations 

Weingut Chat Sauvage

Weingut Chat Sauvage is a relatively new wine producer in the Rheingau. It was founded in 2001. The vineyard area of Chat Sauvage totals 7 hectares. 4/5 of the production is Pinot Noir and 1/5 is Chardonnay. 2/3 of the vineyards are steep slopes. The Chat Sauvage vineyards are scattered around in the western part of the Rheingau.

Weingut Chat Sauvage is the baby of Günter Schulz and Michael Städter. The former has made his money and still is making his money outside of the wine industry. Wine, in particular Bourgogne varieties, is his passion. The latter has been running the winery right from its initial days.

Pictures: Michael Staedter, Weingut Chat Sauvage, Frank Schubert, Weingut Battenfeld-Spanier, and Gernot Dorsch, Frankfurt/Wein

The history of Weingut Chat Sauvage began in 1992, when Guenther Schulz started to make regular visits from Hamburg, where he lives, to the Rheingau in order to visit his daughter. He quickly fell in love with the region and began to think about making wine himself in the Rheingau. His first wines – couple of barrels - were made at Weingut Schamari-Mühle in Johannisberg, in cooperation with Erik Andersson.

Right from the beginning, the Chat Sauvage wines were sought after by wine lovers in Germany, which encouraged Guenter Schulz to push ahead with his passion. The next important step was the construction of a winery. He auctioned off his collection of fine wines at Christie’s in London and used the proceeds to buy more vineyard land and to construct a winery in Johannisberg in the Rheingau. Weingut Chat Sauvage moved into the new winery in August 2010.

While Guenter Schulz is the owner and the brain behind Weingut Chat Sauvage, the man on the ground is Michael Staedler, who is in his early 30s. He is the Managing Director and the Cellar Master of Weingut Chat Sauvage. He has been with Guenter Schulz from early on in the Chat Sauvage undertaking. His mother is from Oestrich Winkel in the Rheingau.

Michael started his career in the wine industry at Schloss Johannisberg, where he did a 3 years apprenticeship in winemaking. This was followed by studies in viticulture and oenology at the famous Geisenheim College. During his studies, Michael worked at the Weingut Schamari-Mühle, were Guenter Schulz started his Chat Sauvage journey in 2001. Thus, right from the beginning, Michael was part of the project. When Guenter Schulz decided to have his own winery, he asked Michael if he would be interested in joining him as Managing Director and Winemaker. Michael accepted. Before that, Michael had spent a year in the Bourgogne and ½ a year in Australia.

See also:
Weingut Chat Sauvage – Bourgogne in the Middle of the Rheingau: Meeting Chat Sauvage’s Winemaker and General Manager Michael Staedter, Germany
Chat Sauvage Versus Peter Querbach – An Impromptu Pinot Noir Wine Tasting with Kai Buhrfeind at His Grand Cru Wine Bar in Frankfurt, Germany

Das Menü

2008er Battenfeld-Spanier, Blanc de Blanc brut


Greetings from the Chef


Rettichcarpaccio mit grünem Spargelgitter, Ingwervinaigrette und gebratenen Scampi


2012er Chat Sauvage, Lorcher Pfaffenwies Riesling
2012er Battenfeld-Spanier, Eisbach Riesling trocken


Kaninchenrücken in Südtiroler Speckmantel auf Bachkresserisotto


2011er Chat Sauvage, Chardonnay “Clos de Schulz“
2010er Battenfeld-Spanier, Moelsheim Riesling trocken


Geschmorte Zickleinschulter auf Leipziger Allerlei


2010er Chat Sauvage Assmannshäuser Frankenthal Pinot Noir
2009er Battenfeld-Spanier, Kichenstueck Riesling Großes Gewächs aus der Magnum


Rosa gebratener Hirschrücken auf getrüffeltemn Blumenkohlpüree und Kräuterpolenta


2010er Chat Sauvage, Rüdesheimer Drachenstein Pinot Noir
2009er Battenfeld-Spanier, Kichenstueck, Spätburgunder Großes Gewächs


Trio vom Nougat und Passionsfrucht


2008er Chat Sauvage Rüdesheimer Berg Roseneck Auslese Riesling
2011er Battenfeld-Spanier, Zellerweg am Schwarzen Herrgott Riesling TBA


A Lively Conversation at the Table 

Great table.

Pictures: Gernot Dorsch, Frankfurt/Wein, Michael Staedter, Weingut Chat Sauvage, Frank Schreiber, Weingut Battenfeld-Spanier, Wolfgang L. Feierfeil, Frankfurt/Wein, Oliver Hess, Slow Food, Claudia Rehm and Christian G.E. Schiller

The Kitchen Team

A big thank you for a wonderful dinner.


Absacker

One of two.


schiller-wine: Related Postings

3 Wine Tours by ombiasy Coming up in 2014: Germany-North, Germany-South and Bordeaux

German Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy, 2013

Weingut Pawis in the Saale Unstrut Region - A Profile, Germany

Tasting at Weingut Balthasar Ress, Hattenheim, Rheingau, with Stefan Ress, Germany

Impromptu Winetasting with Alexander Jung, Weingut Jakob Jung, Erbach, Rheingau, Germany

A Tasting at Weingut Peter Jakob Kühn, Rheingau, with Angela and Peter Jakob Kühn, Germany

Tasting with Rita Busch at Weingut Clemens Busch in the Mosel Valley, Germany 

Ernst Loosen Presented his Wines at Weingut Dr. Loosen, Bernkastel-Kues, Mosel Valley, Germany

Cellar Tour, Vineyard Tour, Tasting and Lunch with Georg Rumpf, Weingut Kruger-Rumpf, Nahe Valley, Germany

An Afternoon with Riesling Star Winemaker Helmut Doennhoff at Weingut Doennhoff in Oberhausen in the Nahe Valley, Germany

The World Meets at Weingut Weegmueller, Pfalz, Germany

Tasting with Johannes and Christoph Thoerle, Weingut Thoerle in Saulheim, Rheinhessen, Germany

Impressions from the Mainz Wine Market 2013, Germany

The Best Restaurants in the Greater Frankfurt am Main Region, Germany

Frankfurt Top Trendy Restaurants – Feinschmecker 2012

Schiller's Favorite Apple Wine Taverns in Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in Frankfurt am Main, Germany

The Wine Maker Couple H.O. Spanier and Carolin Spanier-Gillot, with Roland Gillot, Lead Wine Tasting of Kuehling-Gillot and Battenfeld-Spanier Wines at Weingut Kuehling-Gillot, Germany 

Weingut Chat Sauvage – Bourgogne in the Middle of the Rheingau: Meeting Chat Sauvage’s Winemaker and General Manager Michael Staedter, Germany

Chat Sauvage Versus Peter Querbach – An Impromptu Pinot Noir Wine Tasting with Kai Buhrfeind at His Grand Cru Wine Bar in Frankfurt, Germany

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

2014 Apfelwein Weltweit - Apple Wine World Wide - in Frankfurt, Germany: Schiller’s Favorites

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller, Michael Stoeckl and Andreas Schneider at 2014 Apfelwein Weltweit

Frankfurt am Main is definitely the apple wine capital of Germany and some say of the whole world. Apple wine is a German variant of (hard) cider, which is made all over the world, in same regions sparkling, in others sweet. In Frankfurt, you are typically served a tart, dry apple wine with around 6 percent alcohol, in one of the many apple wine taverns.

Apfelwein Weltweit 2014

Apfelwein Weltweit, previously Apfelwein im Römer, is an annual event in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, that brings together cider producers from all over the world. Until last year, the event took place at the Römer - the historical mayor’s office in the center of Frankfurt – and was called Apfelwein im Roemer. This year, it moved to a new location, the Palmengarten (a botanic park in the Westend district of Frankfurt) and was renamed Apfelwein Weltweit.

Apfelwein Sommelier Michael Stoeckl and Apfelwein Producer Andreas Schneider are the founders and driving force behind Apfelwein Weltweit.

This year, more than 90 producers presented about 200 Apfelwein, (hard) cider, apple juice and other apple specialties, from Germany and abroad, in including from the Czech Republic, Denmark, Spain, France and Austria.

Special Guest

This year’s special guest was the Mostviertel in Austria.

Pictures: Mostviertel Guests

Making Apple Wine (Hard Cider)

Just as wine making begins in the vineyard, cider making begins in the orchard. Tree ripened fruit, picked at maximum flavor and sweetness is the best starting point for cider. But there is one big difference between cider and wine: Apples must be ground before pressing. The entire apple is ground to a pulp called pommace. The pulp is almost always pressed immediately. The next step is the fermentation. Generally, there is less sugar to ferment in apples than in grapes. Therefore, cider tends to have lower alcohol content than wine.

Pictures: 2014 Apfelwein Weltweit at the Palmengarten in Frankfurt am Main, Germany

In the cellar, cider makers have as many options for managing fermentation as winemakers — chaptalisation, wild yeast, temperature control, adding sterilized juice, malolactic fermentation, stopping fermentation before dryness to achieve a naturally sweetened cider, to name a few issues.

Like wine made from grapes, the flavor of cider can vary from dry to sweet. Like sparkling and still wine, both sparkling and still ciders are made. Sometimes the cider is cloudy with sediment and sometimes completely clear. The color can range from light yellow through orange to brown. The variations in clarity and color are mostly due to filtering between pressing and fermentation. In terms of alcohol content, cider can vary from 2% to 8.5%. Generally, apples grown for consumption are suitable for cider making, although there are also special cider apples.

Pictures: Tasting Apples and Apple Wine

For sparkling cider, basically the same methods are available as for sparkling wine. Higher quality ciders can be made the same way as Champagne is produced. A few producers in Quebec, inspired ice wine, have developed cidre de glace - ice cider. Calvados from Normandy is distilled from cider. Cider may also be used to make vinegar.

Cider in the World and Apple Wine in Frankfurt am Main

Apple wine is a German variant of cider, which is made all over the world. The French cidre is produced in Normandy and Brittany. It comes as cidre doux, cidre demi-sec and cidre brut, but most French cidre is sweet. Typically, French ciders are sparkling. Higher quality French cider is sold in champagne-style bottles (cidre bouché). German cider has a tart, sour taste. In the UK, cider is available in sweet, medium and dry varieties. In the US during colonial times, apple cider was the main beverage, but after prohibition the word cider came to mean unfiltered apple juice. Alcoholic cider is called hard cider in the US. German apple wine typically has an alcohol content of 4%–9% and a tart, sour taste. Traditionally, it is not bubbly.

Cider was already known to the ancient Greeks and Romans. In the 11th century it was introduced into Spain and was used there as a medicine for scurvy. It was introduced into England in 1066 when William the Great brought some from France into England.

See:
Apple Wine in Frankfurt am Main, Germany and Cider in the World

Schiller’s Favorites

The Premium Apple Wines of Andreas Schneider

A few years ago, a number of apple wine producers ventured into the art of apple wine making by starting to produce vintage apple wines and special variety apple wines. While the choice of apple wine in an apple wine tavern is as basic as it can get (the house apple wine), the apple wine portfolios of the artisan apple wine producers resemble very much those of the Rheingau or Rheinhessen wine makers a few miles away: There is a variety of different apple wines, with the vintage, apple variety, alcohol level, and other information indicated. One of the leaders of this new generation of artisan apple wine producers is Andreas Schneider.

It all started in 1965, when his parents Albert and Waltraud Schneider founded the Obsthof am Steinberg in Nieder-Erlenbach at the outskirts of Frankfurt am Main. Andreas took over from his parents in 1993 and began to convert to organic farming. Since 1996, he has been certified by ABCERT AG, Esslingen. In 1999, he opened his apple wine tavern and garden. On Andreas’ 13 hectares of land, not only apples are planted, but 14 different fruits, mainly of course apples.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Andreas Schneider

Andreas Schneider currently sells several non-vintage, uncomplicated apple wines (Apfelweine ab Fass) directly from the barrel for Euro 2 per liter. He also offers a dozen or so still vintage apple wines (Jahrgangsapfelweine) in the Euro 4 to 12 per 0.75 liter range. In terms of remaining sweetness, they come as trocken, fast trocken and halbtrocken. Most of them are in the 7% to 8% alcohol range. The top wines are 2 sparkling apple wines (Apfelschaumweine), both made in the traditional champagne method and both brut.

See also:
The Premium Apple Wines of Andreas Schneider - Obsthof am Steinberg - in Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Apple Wine Sommelier Michael Stoeckl

Another icon in the apple wine world of Frankfurt am Main is Michael Stoeckl. He runs the country restaurant Landsteiner Muehle in the Taunus, about ¾ of an hour north of Frankfurt by car. Michael Stoeckl’s passion is apple wine. He calls himself “Apple Wine Sommelier” and his restaurant “Apple Wine Bistrorant”, suggesting that it is a combination of Apple Wine Tavern, Bistro and Restaurant, focusing on apple wine in terms of drinks and food. The selection of apple wines available at the Landsteiner Muehle is indeed impressive: Ranging from Michael Stoeckl’s own apple wine to the premium apple wines of Andreas Schneider in Frankfurt am Main and other German producers to ciders made in other parts of the world.

Last year, Michael Stoeckl published "Der Apfelweinschmecker", a a nice little guide to all about apple wine in the Frankfurt region.

Picture: Michael Stoeckl and Andreas Schneider

See also:
In an Apple Wine (Cider) Mecca: The Apple Wine Bistrorant Landsteiner Muehle of Apple Wine Sommelier Michael Stoeckl near Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Apple Wine Tavern Zur Buchscheer

In Frankfurt, much of the apple wine is consumed at the wooden, communal tables in the local apple wine taverns with hearty local food, like Green Sauce (made from 7 herbs and yogurt accompanied by boiled eggs and boiled potatoes), Rippchen mit Kraut und Brot (grilled pork, sauerkraut and bread). It is served in a Geripptes, a glass with a lozenge cut that refracts light. A filled Geripptes is called a Schoppen. If you drink more than a glass or are in a group, you typically order a Bembel (a specific Apfelwein jug). The different sizes of a Bembel are designated after their contents in glasses from 4-er to 10-er Bembel.

Picture: Buchscheer Owner Robert Theobald and his Wife

The apple wine tavern (Apfelweinwirtschaft) is as distinctive a Frankfurt institution as the Bierkeller is of Munich or the Weinstube of Mainz. Many of the best-known establishments are concentrated in Sachsenhausen, but others are dotted all over the city. They are strongly traditional. They offer hearty local cuisine, usually at moderate prices.

Overall, the various apple wine taverns do not differ that much one from another. However, while most of the apple wine taverns pour an apple wine bought from an apple wine producer, there are a few taverns that still make the apple wine they serve on the premise.

Zur Buchscheer in Frankfurt Sachsenhausen is one of the apple wine taverns in Frankfurt, where the apple wine you drink is also produced on the premise.

See also:
Apple Wine Tavern Zur Buchscheer in Frankfurt am Main, Germany – The Traditional Way: Apple Wine Made on the Premises 
Schiller's Favorite Apple Wine Taverns in Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Apple Wine Tavern Mainlust Desche Otto

Mainlust Desche Otto is a small and cosy apple wine tavern with a lovely garden, run by Claudia and Louie - in walking distance from where I live in Frankfurt am Main. Claudia and Louie's motto is "hard-core Hessian". They strive for the "not so usual", with delicious local fare with a modern touch, over 100 brandies (Louie's passion) and a concert series during the summer months. In addition to the regular "Haus Schoppen" they have a second, special "Haus Schoppen" that changes when the barrel is drunk up.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Claudia Olinski and Louie Hoelzinger

Zur Mainlust “Desche Otto” is a traditional apple wine tavern, with an innovative twist. For many years, it was run and owned by Otto Desch, hence the name. It opened in 1890.

Zur Mainlust “Desche Otto” is off the beaten track and thus belongs to the category of apple wine taverns in Frankfurt, where the share of tourists and foreigners is very low. Your rarely meet non-Frankfurters in this very charming apple wine tavern. In the “Schankstube” (Barroom) there are 7 tables for 8 to 10 people. On the wall, there is a picture of Chancellor Bismarck, which probably has been hanging there since the days when Bismarck was Chancellor. In addition, there is a nice and cosy garden restaurant, which is open during the summer months until 10 p.m. And then there is the “Tresen” (Bar) where people sit on barstools.

The food is typical apple wine tavern food, with the standards such as Rippchen mit Sauerkraut (grilled pork, sauerkraut and bread) and Handkäs mit Musik - a Frankfurt cheese specialty with “Musik” (oil, vinegar and onions).

There is no English version of the menu – only very few apple wine taverns have an English version of their menu. In fact, there is not even a menu in German! The menu is in “Hessisch” – the local dialect, suggesting to the guests what Louie and Claudia have in mind – back to the local roots.

A house specialty is the Deckelcher - Louie invented them. When you sit outside in the garden restaurant, people sometimes bring little wooden lids for the apple wine glasses to prevent leaves from falling into the glass.

From time to time, the place rocks and rolls. Claudia and Louie like music and have a concert series there. The program for the first months of 2013 was just put on the web.

See also:
Mainlust “Desche Otto” – an Ultra Traditional Apple Wine Tavern, with an Innovative Twist, off the Beaten Track in Schwanheim, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Kelterei Possmann

In terms of quantity, the most important apple wine producer in Frankfurt is Possmann. Heil from the Taunus region has gained considerable market shares in recent years. In addition, Rapps and Hoehl are two large apple wine producers in Hessen; their apple wine is very popular in Frankfurt.

Picture: Apple Wine Possmann and Frau Rauscher

Kelterei Noell

Kelterei Noell in Griesheim, Frankfurt, is a new-comer in the industry and still small in terms of volume, but has started to produce single variety apple wines and sparkling apple wines, like Andreas Schneider.

Pictures: Gerhard, Maria and Alexander Noell and their Sparkling Apple Wine

Originally, Noell was a cooperage (founded in 1976). In the 1960s, Karl Nöll and his son Gerhard (the current General Manager) converted the cooperage into an apple wine producer. Over the following years, the portfolio was gradually expanded. When Gerhard’s son Alexander came on board, he pushed the portfolio further into the premium range by including single variety and sparkling apple wines, along the lines of Andreas Schneider.

Today, in addition to the classicals, you find a range of single variety apple wines, the dessert apple wine Äppel - Dream (aged in wood) and a range of sparkling premium apple wines (dry and brut) in the portfolio of Kelterei Noell.

Mostly Wine, but also Apple Wine: Weingut von Racknitz

Weingut von Racknitz, an up and coming premium wine producer, is in Odernheim in the Nahe Valley. It is the former estate of the monastery Disibodenberg. For over 200 years, winery and monastery ruins have been owned by the von Racknitz family. Since 2003, Louise von Racknitz-Adams and Matthias Adams have been the owners of Weingut von Racknitz. The vineyard area totals 15 hectares in the Rotenfels (Traisen), Königsfels (Schloßböckelheim), Kloster Disibodenberg (almost exclusive possession)(Odernheim), Hermannshöhle, Kertz, Klamm, Kieselberg (Oberhausen) and Rosenheck (Niederhausen). They are planted with up to 60-year-old Riesling vines.

Picture: Matthias Adams

I did not know that Weingut von Racknitz also produces apple wine. But Matthias Adams explained to me that they have started to produce a non-vintage sparkling apple wine – Glasperlenspiel (Euro 9 at Weingut von Racknitz). The apples for the most come from the near-by Naturpark Soonwald-Nahe. The most was spontaneously fermented and then spent 2 years on the lees.

Cidre - France

2 French cidre producers came to Frankfurt to show their products. Le Paulmier from the Normandie and Kystin from the Bretagne.

Le Paulmier

Sowine Le Blog: En voilà une bonne nouvelle : après ses jus de pommes bio pétillants haut de gamme Pommillon et Pépinelle -pour la version rosé-, la Maison LE PAULMIER vient de lancer deux nouveaux produits : le Cidre et le Poiré du Bocage.

SOWINE_cidre_du_bocage Fidèle à l’esprit de Julien Le Paulmier, sieur de Grentemesnil en 1585 et fondateur de la pomologie, la Maison Le Paulmier travaille au renouveau du verger et à la préservation de son écosystème. A l’instar de ses contemporains, Julien Le Paulmier se plaisait à marier en secret la sauge ou l’absinthe pour créer ses cidres spéciaux. Avec son Cidre et son Poiré du Bocage, la Maison Le Paulmier invite à nouveau à la découverte de saveurs oubliées !

Pictures: Benoit Simotel and his Le Paulmier Ciders

De la poire aux baies d’aubépine pour le Poiré du Bocage, de la pomme aux baies d’églantier pour le Cidre du Bocage : la Maison Le Paulmier revisite la tradition perdue des alliances entre le verger et la haie.

Kystin

K&U – Die Weinhalle: Die nordfranzösische Normandie gilt als die Heimat des Cidre, eines moussierenden Apfelweines, der aus verschiedenen Apfelsorten vergoren und durch Karbonisierung oder Fermentation in der Flasche mit Kohlensäure angereichert wird. Doch wer sich auskennt weiß, daß der beste Cidre Frankreichs aus der Bretagne kommt. Dort entdeckten wir einen Edel-Cidre, der uns vom ersten Schluck an so begeisterte, daß wir uns sofort auf die Suche machten...

Picture: Michael Stoeckl and Sacha Crommar

Sacha Crommar, Bretone aus dem Morbihan mit unverkennbar keltischen Wurzeln, arbeitete viele Jahre als Kellermeister in der Cidre-Herstellung in der Normandie. Dort erlernte er sein Handwerk. Eines Tages, so erzählt er uns, probiert er seine Produktion durch und ist nicht zufrieden. Fast beiläufig rührt er ein mitgebrachtes Kastanien-Mus in einen seiner trockenen Cidre und ist total erstaunt, welche Veränderung in dem Gebräu vor sich geht. Sieben Jahre lang experimentiert er daraufhin mit dem Zusatz frischer Eßkastanien (Maroni) zum Apfelschaumwein und macht sich schließlich 2011 zu Hause in der Bretagne mit der einer eigenen Cidre-Produktion selbständig. »Kystin« ist geboren.

Seine Obstschaumweine schlagen ein wie eine Bombe. Binnen kürzester Zeit ist seine winzige Produktion ausverkauft. Heute stehen sie bei den besten Küchenchefs Frankreich auf der Karte und gehen weg wie warme Semmeln.

Sacha Crommar ist ein quirliger, kreativer Typ. Ein Spinner im positiven Sinne und das aus Überzeugung, Seine Obstschaumweine jedenfalls haben es in sich. Sie sind kleine Meisterwerke, auf deren Entdeckung wir richtig stolz sind.

Sidra - Spain

The Spanish variant of cider was represented by 3 sidra producers from Asturias and Pais Vasco: Sidra Trabanco, Sidra Viuda de Angelon and Berenziartua.

Pictures: The Sidra Producers

Handkaes’ mit Musik

Finally, there were a number of booths, which served food. My favorite was the Kaesehaus im Hessenpark, which offered Handkäs’ mit Musik (literally: hand cheese with music).

Pictures: Manfred Seuss, Kaesehaus am Hessenpark, and his Handkaes' mit Musik

Handkaese is a German regional sour milk cheese. It is a culinary speciality of the Frankfurt am Main region. It gets its name from the traditional way of producing it: forming it with one's own hands. It is a small, translucent, yellow cheese with a pungent aroma that many people find unpleasant. It is sometimes square, but more often round in shape.

Handkaes’ mit Musik is served in a dressing of vinegar and oil, topped with chopped onions and caraway seeds, plus bread and butter. The “Musik” refers to the "gas" that raw onions usually generate.

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Mainlust “Desche Otto” – an Ultra Traditional Apple Wine Tavern, with an Innovative Twist, off the Beaten Track in Schwanheim, Frankfurt am Main, Germany