Munich. It is late on Christmas Eve. Snow falls, it is icy and families are sitting around the hearth. No, wait. There is no snow. There is no ice. It is not even cold. Earlier today I arrived in Germany to spend Christmas with my folks and found that summer rules in the lands of Bavaria. A record breaking 20.7C measured in the city centre of Munich! Goodbye to the German cliché of Christmas then, at least for this year. And goobye to the idea of decorating this Christmas post with an illustration of German Christmas Gemütlichkeit, as I had planned.
So I have to resort to an illustration of American Christmas cosiness - "here is one I have prepared earlier" (Newport Bridge, as seen from Jamestown CT a little over a week ago). Maybe not such a bad thing to be more international, after all our readers come from all over the world. So wherever you are this Christmas, the Wine Ramblers send their love and all the best wishes for a great holiday, health and good wine!
This being a sort of Anglo-German blog, we live under constant Christmas confusion. Is the 24th the important day, as the Germans believe, or the 25th, as the British and several other nations assert? We don't claim to have the superior wisdom here, especially not after a Christmas meal that came with a stunning grand cru Riesling from the Pfalz (actually, when would one have more wisdom than after enjoying first class Riesling?), so we aim for balance. Last year it was the 24th, this year the 25th is the day when we send our seasonal greetings and best wishes to all our friends in wine.
From my window I can see the snow falling. Food is being prepared. Christmas wine delights sorted. It is time to wish all of you a wonderful and very Merry Christmas!
What could be better than this peacful tune played by the importantly talented Schroeder:
Mr. Munich Wine Rambler likes to tell a bleary-eyed story of how he was taken aside by a drunk Irishman in a pub and warned, for no specific reason, never to touch an alcoholic beverage that is brightly coloured, advice he has taken deeply to heart, followed ever since, and extended to include even wine that has been spiced, mixed with other drinks or otherwise tampered with.
It's time for Christkindlmarkt in Munich, and no Christkindlmarkt without Glühwein. Glühwein (this literally translates as "glow wine") is mulled wine, a concoction that is very popular in central Europe, that's no secret. What you get - at the Christkindlmarkt or in bottles at every supermarket - is mostly very sweet mulled wine, tasting of cheap and artificial aromas, nothing original and unique. And guess what, Mr. Munich Wine Rambler abhors it.
Today I do not feel like wine. In fact, I am drinking a lager, imported to London all the way from Munich - where they know damn well how to make good beer - and I am in the mood for Christmas. So I am going to share this little miracle, featuring one of my all-time heroes: