Sunday 14 November 2010

Wine - Nectar of the Gods

Deutscher Artikel

What? You don’ like wine? Well, I do understand your resentment, but I do not agree with it anymore! Not as of today, 13th November 2010, that I have visited a wine fair giving me the opportunity to try out 164 different wines from all over Europe.

Please allow me to elaborate the matter a bit more: A friend of mine bought himself a wine shop recently. It is one of the voluptuous kinds, that sell not just wine of any sort, but cognac, whisky, grappa, and a wonderful range of delicatessen as well. This jewel of retail heaven is called Weinmarkt Mattheis (after the previous owner) and is located in the beautiful town of Tuebingen in Germany , which all by itself would be worth the travel already. Now said friend, who listens to the name of Jürgen Schlanke had the first annual wine fair under his reigns and of course we, that is my husband and I, had to attend.

I however have to admit, that although I was excited about the opportunity to do some tasting I mainly travelled all the way from England to see my friends, while my husband was after the wine. You may now wonder why I should feel obliged to lecture you on whether or not to like wine without being a connoisseur myself, and I would have to respond with the words of a Spanish vintner who I met tonight. When I quite shyly explained that I am not very good with wine his response was: ‘You don’t have to know anything about wine. We do, but you don’t! All you have to know is if you like a wine, or if you don’t. It is like looking at a painting, you know when you like it!’

Thus I am not actually lecturing you about wine, but about the way how to approach it.

Imagine me arriving at this impressive shop, with all those beautifully arranged bottles, glasses and delicatessen. Tables representing the different producers dotted in-between, different types of bread and cakes next to each, to counter the effects of the alcohol and neutralize the taste buds… the room humming from excited chatter, and me walking on and on through the rear shop door from one storage room into the next. This place is huge! Of course not only the atmosphere is buzzing but the head as well. Where to start? Bringing calm into the chaos the expert comes in, and Jürgen and his team of 12 employees do that brilliantly.

After some initial chatter we were guided to a point in the conversation which made me aware of why I thought I didn’t like wine. Turns out: I don’t like my husband's choice of wine! He likes them strong with tannins and as barrique (stored in an oak barrel where the wine takes on flavours of the oak), whereas I like them more on the fruity side, in summer quite light, in winter more sweet. Additionally for Detlef it doesn’t make a big difference if he has it with food or just a nice glass in the evening. I like different ones for either occasion. So our host took this huge wine list and turned it into a task list. He selected wines of which he thought would meet in the middle. Didn’t see that one coming!

Lecture number one - Whether you want to solve your marital wine problems, are looking for a wine to accompany certain dishes, or which are suitable for certain occasions: Set your self a task and ask an expert for advice!

… and our advisor was bang on! I of course knew that there are loads of different wines, and that they all taste a bit differently, but I had no idea whatsoever HOW differently they can taste. There were French, Spanish, South Italian, North Italian and some local vineyards on our list and they were all quite nice for me and gorgeous for my husband, but amazingly we agreed more than we thought. It turned out that we really dislike the same wines, and we really love the same wines, and there were quite a few which I would like together with food, while he would have them stand alone as well. That is what I call a fair compromise.

Lecture number two – find a place where you can try the wine. In shops like Weinmmarkt Mattheis you will be able to do that.

Lecture number three – If you have the opportunity to go to a bigger wine tasting event, then once in a while taste a white wine in-between the reds, that help to neutralize the taste buds.

Lecture number four – take notes.

Now please let me move on to the delicatessen for a moment. Again, some are locally produced some are from all over Europe, mainly Italy. I have tried quite a few vinegars, oils and the likes of pesto in my life and I have tasted rather nice ones, but the ones I tried tonight were quite something else. There are so many, but the ones to highlight for me would be the pumpkin seed oil of which the smell already really kicked me off my feet, and then something I never tasted before: Olive oil which is only one week old. It is divine! It is a very new product and not even on sale, so I got lucky that I could tease the lovely lady at the stand to give me one of her samples. Gracias Italy!

In the end we were in a real pickle. We found three wines which we really liked: a Spanish, a Southern Italian and a local one, who would have thought? And we surely needed some of the delicatessen, but we only have a small suitcase and a backpack.

Our booty!

So, with regret we gave the Spanish wine a miss and are now hoping for the Mattheis Internet business to be extended to England, or the rest of Europe for that mater.

And well, there is still the wine fair 2011 to looking forward to, with the additional need to check out the whiskeys and cognacs as well. So let’s meet in Tuebingen next fall!

A Gallery

Juergen and Rike Schlanke - Couple power!

Jorina Schlanke - Family support!

Old and new


Everybody is in good spirit!

... and some other spirit...

... and some more ...

A behind the scenes view of a wine merchant while tasting the most delicious of delicatessen.

... and the mouthwatering display of delicatessen in the shop
waiting to be put into the shopping basket!


  1. Hi Ihr zwei (sorry for now continueing in german),

    nett geschrieben, aber das mit den 164 Weinen glauben wir einfach nicht. So lange wart Ihr gar nicht da, und dann haettet Ihr auch nicht mehr ins "Domicil" wanken können!
    Der Rest könnte allerdings stimmen, denn wir waren schliesslich auch auf der Wine Fair in Tuebingen.
    Uebrigens, heisst es nicht außerdem "Grazie Italia" bzw. "Gracias Espana"?
    Wir sind gespannt auf die Fortsetzung Eures Berichts von heute abend aus dem Hotelzimmer (oder sollte es schon das schon alles gewesen sein?).
    Bei uns steht auch schon eine geöffnete Flasche auf dem Tisch, außerdem eine Wurst, die wir noch organisieren konnten.
    Übrigens, da war doch noch ein Kürbisrezept?!?!
    Bis die Tage
    Doro und Uwe

  2. Hallo Ihr Lieben, das mit den 164 stimmt schon! Wir hatten durchaus die Gelegenheit, das heisst nicht, dass wir die auch genutzt haben ;o) Ca. 10% davon haben wir geschafft - uebrigens alle Flaschen sind heile zu Hause angekommen! Aaaach, ob Grazie, Gracias... das Oel ist super und ich hab es, hihi!

    Das Kuerbisrezept steht ein bisschen weiter unten im Archiv

    Lasst es Euch schmecken und bis spaetestens naechstes Jahr!


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