Rebstock Waldum, Baden August/September 2011
It has been a hard year...and our twice a year visit to the Rebstock had not been possible back in May...due to my wife losing her gallbladder...and not being in any state to enjoy a holiday. I, myself, was as empty as I had ever been. I needed a break.
Tuesday 23 August 2011
We arrived early afternoon...the Gasthaus Rebstock is closed Monday and Tuesday midday and we were met by a new addition to the staff, Verena. She kindly helped to carry all our luggage the 3 floors to our room at the top. A lift or elevator will never be built here but my soccer training stands me in good stead. After a car journey then 4 times up and down....you have go to be fit!
Karl Hodapp was in the kitchen and I gave him a bottle of wine. We have this ritual now...and at the end of the holiday he gives me a bottle.
Unpacked...I sat out on the balcony to take in MY view. I have seen it many times but it never fails to move me. A tear and a smile. I decided then & there...every second of this holiday I was going to enjoy. After 9 months of illnesses and up and downs generally...My wife & I have earned this holiday.
We already had the menu and wine list. It was 32 degrees on this day....so we both decided on a light dinner...and as I had abstained from wine for a week...a white would be a good choice.
A brisk walk into the vineyards...where the Spätburgunder grapes were looking healthy...then got ready for dinner.
We, of course, sat outside on the beautiful terrace.We sat under the covered part as my wife does not want the sun when she is eating. It was a wise decision in hindsight...as at 9pm a 10 minutes shower arrived which had everyone heading for cover.
A 'Grüß aus der Küche' arrived from Herr Hodapp...
A Paprika Terrine...light and refreshing.
My wife chose three of a possible 5 'Tasters'.
Tartare von Freilandrind mit Salätchen in der Knuspertüte, Carpaccio von Thunfish mit Melonenperle and kaltes, erfrischedes Gurkensüppchen mit Shrimps.
All very tasty...the only one I would not go back to was the Cucumber Soup....I was once 'overfed' on Cucumber sandwiches in my youth...maybe that is why it is one thing I will try...but never enthuse about.
I decided on the Carpaccio vom Rinderfilet mit kleinem Sommersalätchen und gebackem Strudel vom Ziegenfrischkaäse. Deliciously light again...just a perfect start to a gastronomic adventure.
My wife chose gebratenes Zanderfilet auf hausgemachten Nudeln mit einem Sössle vom gelben Paprika and I opted for Filet vom Steinbeisser unter der Heukruste, angerichtet auf einem 'Gitter' von grünem Spargel mit Pfifferlingsrisotto.
As I mentioned...I had had a short chat with owner Herr Hodapp...and mentioned I was very impressed with the Sauvignon Blancs from South Styria.
Therefore... I was particularly pleased to see an addition the wine-list. My choice on the very warm evening was...
Tement Sauvignon Blanc
Zieregg Barrique 2008
South Styria, Austria
It only confirmed what I already knew...these wines shoud rule the world if you love this grape....or, as in my case...you did not love because you tried those with extreme tarty cat's pee. This has gooseberry but with such a class and style...incisive...steely minerals...a gentle sweetness from the barrique...smokey...I sent the usual glass into the kitchen and was told 'delicious'. I heartily agreed
Wednesday 24 August 2011
I dragged myself out of bed...the sun was already beating the right drum...it was going to be another hot one. A good breakfast…eaten alone…the usual ritual being that I take coffee and bread roll to wifey who is still sleeping!
A visit to the Mummelsee on the Black Forest High Road. This is a lake high into the hills, frequented by tourists who buy masses of Black Forest ham and Mummelsee bottled water. It is, however, a pleasant walk around the lake.
Back at Rebstock and we sat on the terrace at around 3.30pm...with a couple of tables still eating from lunchtime!
My first Havana...a Siglo 11 and a Latte...and as usually happens...I ended up chatting to a couple who had just arrived. ..friendly fellow that I am!
Around 5 pm the rain came down...and how...and the staff had to clear all the tables not covered on the terrace.
Our usual table undercover is where we chose for this evening. My wife had enjoyed the Gurkensüppchen taster from the day before...so took two portions...maybe tomorrow three!
I decided to try one of the delicious soups as well...Schaumsüppchen von gelben Paprika, mit einem leichtem badischen Klösschen aus Weck, Rahmkäs und Sommerkräutern.
Eva chose the im Ofen geschmorte Tomate mit einer Fülle von Badischen Rahmkäse und Oliven, angerichtet auf grünem Spargel dazu leichte Klösschen mit Sommerkräuten.
I needed Duck for the red I was going to try.
Gebratenes Brüstchen von der Bauerente mit Blütenhonig glasiert, angerichtet mitBühler Zwetschgenmaultäschle- und Kompott, dazu Kartoffel-Quark-Rädle.
The gentle sweetness of the plums and the perfect roast Duck needed something special.
On our last visit the Molitor had been on the wine-list.
Not yet delivered I was told then...and every day I waited in vain. Two days after we got back home...I got an email that is had arrived. Too late to try in 2010.
One year on...was it worth the wait?
Graacher Himmelreich *** Pinot Noir 2007
Mosel? Red? Are you crazy?...we'll discuss the answer to the last part another time.
If the world climate keeps changing there will be more Pinot Noir wines coming out of this, primarily Riesling, area in maybe 10 years. And if the Molitor is anything to go by...we are in for a treat.
The bottle has what would have Jim Clenenden in California smiling...a large punt.
But what's inside...the answer here...is heaven. PPC...Perfect Pinot Colour...and a gorgeous ripe nose.The palate throws up gentle spices...toast and smoke...clear incisive fruit...a youthful bitter note which is positive...tannin present but woven into the whole....14% would scare me usually but nothing scary about this top wine. Very drinkable now...which I did...sending the usual glass into the kitchen for the boss to try.
Points 18....no other choice...Mosel Red Rules!
Thursday 25 August 2011
Checking the weather forecast before we left...it seemed the first 4 days were going to be hot. We may have to change that outlook as there are some clouds still hanging over the vineyards at 11 am. Some rain later I have been told...we will see.
I bought a headset for Eva.She watches TV until late....has to turn up the volume as I usually snore after red wine.
Just lazed really all day and around midday it was very humid...and the body is not quite sure why it does not have appointments or has to answer a phone.
Dinner out on the terrace and the weather was cooler.
My wife opted for only two portions of the cucumber soup...and I remembered the day in Burgundy eating snails by the dozen...and ordered the Schneckenrahhsüppchen.
A kross gebratener Spanferkelrücken mit cremigen Wirsing, Pfifferlingen und Kartoffelgratin was the plate that Mrs Fowden received.
A last minute decision had been made regarding the wine...I was going to drink white...but the Schitzel vom Kalbrücken mit einem Rahmsössle von Pfifferlingen und Kässpätzle swayed me to a red.
Aldinger Fellbacher Lämmler
Lemberger G.G. 2007
On a previous visit I had asked Herr Hodapp if he had considered putting a wine from Wurttemberg on his list. I didn't get exactly a shocked look...but he wasn't instantly responsive.
The whole area is Baden-Württemberg...but 2 completely different wine areas and I guessed you didn't talk about the 'other side'.
Therefore...on opening the wine-list this time I was pleased to see additions from other areas...and...would you believe it...one from over the 'border'
A top property...Aldinger makes Lemberger in the style I like. A medium deep colour...and 'tears' streaming down the glass. Cool was my first impression...a lazy easy style...soft but earthy...and as it aired the fruit sweetened...was there some cinnamon in there?...definitely some spices...and it slips down without any pain at all. Ready now but would hold 10 years.
Friday 26 August 2011
My wife joined me for breakfast...which meant we could make an early start. We set off along a small back road and ended up driving on VERY narrow lanes for about 30 minutes. Impressive countryside...although my wife closed her eyes a few times...and I had to concentrate on the driving. We hit Ottenhöfen and set off up to the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse continuing on the highest point where there is a single Wind Machine. Wild and impressive views abound. On the way back we entered Oberkirch. I have a stamp album about 100 years old and wanted someone at a Auction House to have a browse. They sent an unsympathetic person who quickly turned a few pages and then said it was worth nothing. So the 6 course lunch with a bottle of Krug was cancelled!
Seriously though...it has been in the family so long...I guess it deserves to remain with us. Lunch in Oberkirch was a light salad and a glass of Apfelschorle.
The weather was still holding...32 degrees...but there was something in the air. I had the daily Latte and cigar on the terrace...then went up to the room where my wife was relaxing. We had met a couple from Ravensburg the previous day and had asked them to join us for dinner. A table on the terrace had been reserved. No way was that going to happen.
At 6pm as we saw the dark clouds roll over the vineyards...all hell broke loose. It was as if someone was throwing golf balls right and left. After the initial onslaught...the size lessened but was no less intensive. Scary and amazing....and no way could we sit outside tonight.
This was confirmed when we went down to the restaurant...and so a large table in the corner had been reserved.
Herr & Frau Reiff appeared and after the few exchanges of what had been done all day...they both agreed that they had complete trust in me choosing the wines.
My wife chose the Klares Süppchen vom Tafelspitzbmit Markklöschen und Pfifferlingsmaultäschle and I finally got round to trying the gebratene Jakobmuschel auf Lauch und Pfifferlingen.
The wine I had had a few times on previous visits...it remains on the list because not many people would know much about Grüner Veltliner in Baden. I found out a few days later that this was the last bottle.
Hirschberger Rotes Tor
Grüner Veltliner 2003
Perfect now...and it impressed our dinner guests.
It seems the American market has found Grüner Veltliner giving it a 'modern name 'Groovy' (a play with words...Grü-Ve)
As long as they don't take too much of it and spoil it for us GV lovers.
The main course for my wife had been decided the previous evening...as I had enjoyed the Schnitzel vom Kalbrücken very much. My choice for the planned red was Medaillon vom Kaninchenrücken im Achtertäler Salamimantel, Rosette vom Sommergemüse und Thymianröstkartoffele.
Dr. Heger Achkarrer Schlossberg
Heger is one of the top properties and I can't ever remember tasting a disappointing wine from him. This was not exception. While the 2007 vintage has always been accessible...only now are the top wines leveling out and showing real class. Burnt caramel and marzipan...which involved into Strawberry. My description of Marzipan is more an impression than a definite aroma...it is just something that I associate with fine Pinot Noir from Baden.
The rain was still coming down and never seemed to stop all night. What would tomorrow bring...read on dear readers.
Saturday 27 August 2011
The sun crawled over the hills...and is was definitely 10 degrees colder than the previous morning. My wife had the usual appointment at the hairdressers....at midday.
A light lunch in the restaurant (soup) then we set of for Sinzheim, a small village south of Baden-Baden...for no particular reason...just to have a short drive. The aray of clouds above were impressive if disturbing. Hanging over the hills...the sun trying to fight it's way through...and the woods on the hills showing why they call the area The Black Forest.
A short visit to the church in Sinzheim...the third one in a couple of days...and the same as before...riches beyond belief. The Catholics of a few hundred years ago certainly put plenty in the collection box!
Checking my Gault Millau I saw that the property of Bürg Nägelsförst was situated nearby in the village of Varnhalt. I've learned not to always trust the Sat-Nav in the car when surrounded by vineyards...and even though I asked directions...the instructions from the lady in the dashboard were good. The property is up on the hill....and we drove into the courtyard shortly before 4pm...just making it before closing time. A delightful small shop was where the friendly lady greeted us. As I knew what awaited me in the evening...I said I would not try anything...and purchased 3 Spätburgunder. There was a offer of some 2002...and after trying a 'small' glass bought 3 bottles. It was holding well...and would find it's way to a couple of friends.
Back to the Rebstock...the weather somewhat calmer...but we chose our usual table inside the Gasthof.
Earlier that day Herr Hodapp had taken me down the cellar and said he had a wine that I could drink that evening...on the house. Hardly the house wine...but a top Huber. He hadn't tried it yet..and the usual ritual when I drink in the evening is to send a glass into the kitchen. As my intake is around 0.5 liter it is the perfect solution.
The bottle, decanted, was waiting for me on arrival. Some warm soup for the cool skin....even after a shower to warm you up...it's inside where the most warmth is needed.
The Quail was on the menu for the first time....on arrival we had search for it. Last year's version had been with a Blood Sausage filling. This time....aus dem Ofen: gefüllte Wachtel (entbeint) mit cremigen Wirsing, Pfifferlingen & Kartoffelgratin.
Huber Hecklinger Schlossberg R
I had purchased the 2007 from the property last May and am tryint to leave it alone...so I didn't expect anything to spring out of the glass. Cool, spicy aromas...definite violets....very savoury...a touch of polish at first but the airing released a cherry flavour...the tannins are medium soft and there are traces of the silky texture. This is not a brooder needing time...a more delicate style but still requiring some years to sprout it's buds.
Sunday 28 August 2011
My wife was going to sleep long....so I was down for breakfast at 9 am. If the weather is fine...I sneak out onto the terrace to finish off my cup of tea and read. Claudi is out there today....wiping down the tables after all the rain...and the heavens are blue and the sun is warm. Typing these notes , glancing up to see the surrounding beauty of the area, stretching the legs, breathing in the clean air....this is still our little Heaven On Earth.
With the sky still very blue I set off up the hill at the back of the hotel...the view seen from our hotel balcony...and wandered through the vineyards for an hour. The grapes are looking healthy although a few corners had been affected by the storm on Friday.
Then out on the terrace for some lunch...the Filet von der Rotbarbe auf einer Art Bauerngröstl (mit Bratkatoffel, Parmaschinken, Kräuter und Tomatensalsa) and a non-alcoholic cocktail. The restaurant is usually packed on Sunday...and with the fine weather was bursting at the seams. Then over to the smoker's corner for a Siglo 1 Cigar and a Latte. The suntan had been improved as I had been out in it for 3 hours...perfect temperature though and again...the world was at peace.Typing this as I sit on the balcony...must decide what to drink tonight...there is a Riesling Smaragd 2006 from F.X. Pichler that needs trying....and a Adeneuer Walporzheimer Gärkammer Spätburgunder G.G. from the Ahr...although it is a 2008 and may be still too beefy. Maybe try the Becker St Paul Spätburgunder 2007...which I have in my celler back home or the Fürst Bürgstadter Centengrafberg Frühburgunder R Reserve 2007. There are some 'foreign' red wines from France, Italy and the New World...but I have been there before...and drinking them alone leaves you gasping for someone to share....whereas the Pinot grape just lends itself to the food and the single drinker.
We had been warned it could be a little cool later on the terrace but it was so inviting...and everyone was out there. One thing that suffers with a cool evening later...is a red wine...I usually end up with the bottle between my legs. So I decided it would be the Riesling and chose appropriately.
Zander und Jakobsmuschel im Parmaschinkenmäntele, angerichtet mit Achtäler Steinpilzsössle, und selbstgemachter Spaghettinudeln.
F.X. Pichler Smaragd Steinertal 2006
As with the GV...I found out late this was also the last bottle again...perfect at 5 years old...a beautiful ripe Riesling with a light sprinkling of minerals keeping it lively.
With the addition of a light pullover...we enjoyed a delightful summer evening.
Monday 29 August 2011
My wife was up early...I knew there was something brewing. 'Can we drive to the town where they sell the chocolate?' Kenzingen is about 70 kms away and the shops close at midday...so we set of just before 11 and got there with 20 minutes to spare. One of the shops had gone 'bust'...it was no more...but my Eva found some fine chocolate at the other one. They had a couple of Huber reds so the 'taxi driver' was paid very well.
Nothing else was planned...my wife said the rest of the day I could plan. I had most of my notes and books in the car....so I decided to visit a few properties. The larger ones have their wines generally available on most good lists...and I do enjoy searching out the 'lesser known' Weinguts.
It is better to call in advance as with small properties you may find the doors closed as they are out in the vineyards,
First up was a short drive to Köndringen...and I had first tried
the wine 4 years ago when a merchant in Freiburg had recommended the 2005 Spätburgunder.
While the wines were being collected the lady told us to walk around the garden. There was everything in there...but the 'highlight' were the Wasp Spiders.
Lunch over Bötzingen
We had made a couple of sandwices from the breakfast buffet...and on arriving in Kaiserstuhl found a bench in Bötzingen overlooking the beautiful countryside. I called the three properties I had chosen and all agreed I could come....100% success!
Ihringen is where Dr. Heger is situated...and I was tempted...but wanted to take in Herr Konstanzer. His wife greeted us and her husband led us into the tasting room. I hardly ever taste...I know what I want and will try it at home...and then order.
Six bottles found their way into the car....even some from the 2009 vintage.
Next stop was Vogtsburg...
No 2009 available yet...late September was Frau Hermann's reply...
Another 6 bottles in the boot.
Last on the list was a property I had tried to visit last year...Hofgut Consequence in Vogtsburg-Bischoffingen...so I was particularly pleased to get the chance today. Frau Schmidt met me and I asked what vintages were available. She gave me a list and explained they were the last in the name Consequence. Their future grapes would be going into a new project. A few houses along is another Weingut 'Abril' and there is building going on as you leave the village.
We set off back to the Rebstock...which is closed on Monday. It had been a long day...and my wife was having second thoughts about driving again that evening. I had searched for a good Thai restaurant in Baden- Baden...so I was pleased my wife agreed. It is a 30 minute drive into a town of wealth. Our restaurant was, however, down a side street and on entering only confirmed what I had heard. There were tables, a bar, one of the staff looking after her baby, a Karaoke bar downstairs...and nobody in there. I knew all this so was prepared. A mixture of guests started to arrive...and the food was VERY Thai which is why I was happy to ignore the surroundings. If you are ever in Baden-baden...it is called An An Restaurant.
I had parked in a side street and needed to find the main road to the autobahn and we set off with the navigation system on the car telling us to turn left, right, left....all within a few hundred meters....so I decided to do what I have done in 45 years of driving...follow my nose....and we arrived back in Waldulm still discussing exactly what the restaurant really was!
Tuesday 30 August 2011
After breakfast I asked Verena to open the terrace door ( the restaurant opens again this evening)....and here I am typing away with another fine day of weather ahead.
Three hours later, after listening to some music on the Notebook ( Ben. E. King....perfect), my suntan even better...(People will think I have been to Spain) my Sleeping Beauty awoke and asked to be driven to the Mummelsee to buy some Ham....and this done...and ANOTHER walk round the sea...we returned for dinner.
Obviously after a week there will be repeats from the menu...but the Wachtel tasted even better this time around.
In May 2009 I had tried the Gantenbein 2007...it had been completely uninterested in being drunk.
Time to try it again.
Gantenbein Pinot Noir 2007
What an improvement! Very fine classy nose...more dry wood than wet moss...soft earthy elegance...one moment the medium tannins are there...then you brush them aside with the next swallow and you can feel the gentle fruit emerging. Cool wild raspberries seemed to fit nicely.What a cracker of a wine..and it is not finished yet. Next year...try again.
Wednesday 31 August 2011
A drive to Durlach...The Andreas Laible property is situated at the back of the village on the right...up a hill...and this is where the two sons grew up and learned their trade. Five years ago the younger, Alexander, decided he wanted to go it alone leaving elder brother Andreas to take the reins at their father's Weingut.
When I tasted Alexander's Riesling wines a couple of years ago it was obvious he was a talented winemaker. For a short time he used an old bakery as H.Q. then started to build a permanent place to rest.
This is where we headed for...and I had called in advance as Alexander Laible is not always around.
Two miles further on from his elder brother's property we found it in Durbach-Unterweiler...and very impressive it looks. We entered the shop and he greeted us...and I knew then that we had an instant rapport. He knows what he is doing, what he wants, and where he is going. He has already been voted one of the young rising stars in Germany.
He is 32 and his pretty wife is expecting a baby. I asked about 2009 reds...and was told they were all sold!!!! See what I mean...he is going places...and he asked about whites...but it was the darker colour I was after. The 2010 vintage was available and although I had my doubts...I have the feeling I will be happy with the purchase. He asked if I could help to get contact in the UK...and I said I would try and get back to him.
The weather was hot...and if you are in Durbach at lunchtime...the place to go is Schloss Staufenberg...the castle on the hill overlooking miles of countryside. It can be cool up there...but today it was perfect. They serve Flammenkuchen...and have a basic menu card....lots of hikers & walkers appear...and the place if full in no time. Breathtaking view.
I popped into the shop and bought some 2009 then back to Waldulm....parked by the soccer field and we walked along a pathway we know well...where every tree and bush has a sign explaining what it is. At the end of the path is the duck pond...with the birds going about their business...great viewing.
My wife needed a break from eating...so I dined alone...catching up on some reading I had wanted to do all holiday.
I chose the Steak...Entrecote vom Weidenrind mit Kruste von Senf, Thymian und etwas grünem Pfeffer, angerichtet mit Bohnenröllchen und Bratkartoffelpüree...
and chose a wine that Herr Hodapp had warned me not to try last time. However...he had tried it again in December...and in the FINE Magazine...it is given a postive tasting note.
Dr.Heger Ihringer Winklerberg 2003
The vintage had been VERY hot...and many wines are now showing the heat...but it seems the Winklerberg managed to deal with it. It has certainly held well and is still in fine balance...defying it's age with it juicy feel...acidity and tannin nicely intact and well-balanced.
Thursday 1 September 2011
Medium deep clouds hanging over the hills...then at 11.30 the fruit burst through and expanded onto the palate. By midday it was a beautiful day again...and a lunch on the terrace and a final cigar. After lunch we went to a VERY good local supermarket in Achern to stock up for the coming weekend at home. A refreshing drink on the terrace then a short rest before going down to dinner.Thankfully the heat of the day meant we could spend our last evening outside.
A taster curtesy of Herr Hodapp was the Gooseliver on sweet Sauerkraut...something we had missed this time...I guess next week it would be on the menu somewhere. I opted for the gebratene Jakobmuschel auf Lauch und Pfifferlingen again and as a main course the Medaillon vom Lammrücken im Mantel aus Thymian-Ziegenkäse, dazu eine Garnitur von Tomaten und Ratatouille, mit Olivenplätzchen.
It is rare that I order a wine in a restaurant if I have it in my cellar...but the Becker is good...and not overpriced on the wine-list.
Weingut Friedrich Becker Spätburgunder trocken
'St. Paul' Grosses Gewächs 2007
Great nose!...intense dry strawberry...gentle rippling tannins...man is this good...it just lies so beautiful on the palate...
The normal procedure every evening...is to send a glass to Karl Hodapp in the kitchen. Same again this evening...BUT...with difficulty***!
Friday 2 September 2011
Those clouds were there again...and this time there was rain...making it easier to pack and leave. We said goodbye to all the staff....Karl Hodapp gave me a bottle of wine...his wife Sandra Stark wished us well...and we were gone.
We have to say many thanks to Karl & Sandra...and their team in the restaurant.
Bettina, Claudi, Ina, Jeanette, Moritz, Simone & Verena...and to all the unseen ones who perform in the kitchen...Bettina's husband Oliver Vogel is now joint Chef de Cuisine. He is a Manchester United fan (I am a Manchester City fan)...but we still eat what he cooks (smile).
We look forward to our next visit.