The Wine Rambler
2013 was the year of fizz, overcoming prejudice, fighting the good fight and natural wine. 2013 has also been a challenging year. It was not because of rising wine taxes or the global wine shortage that never happened, but rather due to a no doubt coordinated conspiracy. Employers, house moving and renovation projects, bugs and viruses, travel schedules, the weather - yes, the weather! - and other nuisances conspired to keep us off the blog for as much as possible.
The coordinated action resulted in projects being delayed and less general Wine Rambling than usual, but we bravely soldiered on through the year. Ignoring the boring low lights, we can now report back on some of the highlights of 2013 and, as every year, crown the five most exciting German wines we have reviewed.
It was always about food. I am not saying you cannot, should not have wine without food (quite the opposite), but without my love for food there would be no Wine Rambler. The crucial moment was a Friday afternoon, years ago, when I decided to open a random bottle of Mosel Riesling with some mildly spicy Asian food because I had heard the two go together - resulting in my first moment of true wine excitement and the decision to track down the wine and learn more about it. Wine and food have been with me since and put me on the slippery slope to wine blogging. Considering that it is surprising that it has taken me so long to organise the first Wine Rambler dinner...
...but when it finally happened I made up for the delay by organising it in style, with the help of the fabulous team of Trinity Restaurant in Clapham - and five German wines.
Do you know who you are? We do! Should you ever have an identity crisis please do come back to this post for some reasurance regarding your identity. Now, before you get all excited and ask where you can join our new cult group I should probably qualify that: we do not know who you personally might be, but we know a little something about you collectively. And that is because we Wine Ramblers, like many others who run websites, do occasionally analyse visitor statistics.
If today you came here to find inspiration about German (or other) wine I must disappoint you, but if you are curious about who else came to us for ramblings in 2012 please do read on.
Vineyards in northern Yorkshire, dentists, wine museums without wine, finding the pink soul of Riesling, drinking some of the best and worst wines of Germany, finishing unfinished business in Washington, almost enjoying fermentation, sex and murder - it is hard to think of something 2012 did not have on the cards for us.
So before the New Year really starts it is time to look back over a year of wine rambling and pick up a few of the high- and lowlights.
2011 has been a busy year. We fought evil, kissed wine queens, travelled the world (and Swabia), climbed skyscrapers, mastered high-speed drinking, survived dangerous self-experimentations, had English red and whites from the heart of Africa, met mad winemakers and -merchants, stole wine out of our neighbours rubbish bins - and drank a lot of good wine. It was a busy year for the Wine Ramblers (also outside of this hobby of ours), but as far as wine is concerned it certainly was a good year.
And as it is the time of the year to look back I'd like to invite you on a journey across our wine year 2011.
Despite many nice aspects, such as being allowed to drink wine, growing up comes with its disappointments. Many of your childhood heroes suddenly look rather ridiculous, whereas others pass into the realm of memory and myth. Like the Easter Bunny, *the* Stork and Father Christmas. Or the Expert. After years of watching TV - or perhaps just a fortnight during the Eurozone debt crisis - the TV Expert no longer looks as authoritative as he was during my childhood, and the same goes for pretty much every other type of expert. So in a way I am quite happy that I haven't been labelled as "international wine expert" as last year's contributors to Every Wine Tells a Story were.
This year it is about the much more important love for wine. So I proudly declare that as of last weekend I have it in writing that I am an "international wine lover".
Wine is just too complicated. People want an enjoyable experience, a wine to complement a nice evening, perhaps a story to tell friends. Instead they are confused by a confusing selection of wine in supermarkets and find not much help from the wine press and wine trade either. On top of that the language of wine is pretentious and mostly meaningless. So I hear it said very often, and while it is perhaps an overly gloomy picture there is some truth in it.
Instead of adding another piece of snobbish wine rambling, today's report from the latest Wine Rambler tasting is a little different. Instead of ourselves it will be the people who speak and tell you what they made of a range of wines selected by yours truly.
Two years ago the Wine Rambler saw the light of day with a short review on a German Pinot Blanc and a posting on a wine merchant who had no idea about their own catalogue. What started out as a means for two geograpically separated friends to stay in touch about their respective wine adventures has taken on a dynamic we have not quite forseen. The Wine Rambler has changed our lives in more than one way, and I am fairly certain it will continue to do so.
As one of two proud fathers, it falls to me today to say a few words on the occasion of our baby's second birthday. And also to explain what this old newspaper has to do with the Wine Rambler.
For a long time there were rumours and speculation about its contents. Insiders were whispering to each other about it, would-be experts claimed to have had a peek and those in the know smiled in entrancement. And yet only one person has full access to a highly guarded container, hidden away at the Wine Rambler's London HQ.
Come in and join us, gentle reader, for a tour of London's tastiest wardrobe.
It is that time of the year. All sorts of promises are given and resolutions made. Interestingly, no one seems to ever revisit last year's resolutions and reflect on what has or has not been achieved. Maybe this is because only 12% of us still stick to a resolution after a year's time, as we learned when considering what to do with the wine year 2010. Historians by trade, we Wine Ramblers are brave enough to use the historical-critical method to look back at what we set out to do in 2010 and then develop a plan for what to do with the wine year 2011.
The 12%-study we consulted last year also told us that boys were better with resolutions considered helpful for pulling girls. Interestingly, one of our resolutions - to try more Swabian wine - wasn't totally unsuccessful in this respect
It is the start of the new year. Time to think about what to do better, what not to do any more and what new things to try. It is time for new year's resolutions! Accordingly, the Wine Rambler committee assembled on New Year's Eve and came up with a list of wine related resolutions. Drinking less, by the way, is not one of them.
As we all know, sticking to new year's resolutions is not easy, so I looked around for good advice on how to succeed. Time for instance offer useful suggestions such as 'Do What the Dalai Lama Would Do', which is explained as follows: [read the full post...]