Now what on earth does the title refer to…well in a nutshell the fabulous assets of Württemberg a region in south-west Germany which was where I spent a few days last week – let me elaborate! The region is Germany’s third largest state in terms of size and population, with an area of 35,742 square kilometres (13,800 sq mi) and home to 10.7 million Swabians (find out more here). The region is famed for its hilly countryside peppered with vineyards, forests and fields on which grows vine after vine of Trollinger grapes (often only found in this region, it has a pale red, fruity light and fresh) and Lemberger (the German Blaufränkisch – dark with black fruit) as well as several other varieties including of course Riesling (which accounts for nearly a quarter of the vineyards) and Spätburgunder. But whilst some wine enthusiast may already know this what they may not know is that the bra or brassiere was in fact invented in Württemberg!
The region produces more red wine that white in fact with a 30:70 ratio, more than half of the vineyards are planted with red wines. Its location is nothing short of breath-taking with the dramatic back drop of the black forest and the sparkling scenic curves of the Neckar River into which its beautiful vines and ‘cliff gardens’ run.
We had four days of back to back appointments in wine schools, sensoriums, wineries, tractor rides, vineyards and at some of the best German restaurants I’ve ever visited – it truly was a fantastic region. I wish I could blog about every minute but instead here are a few highlights from the trip!
When on a wine trip I have to talk about what I slurped, spat, drank and ate – of course! Trollinger, being the national pour of Württemberg along with Lemberger was often drank and I really was impressed by those we sampled at nearly every stop. They have such interesting flavours and truly reflect the region and the people who make them who choose to stick to their indigenous varieties even though the ‘export’ market for them only stretches as far as Bavaria.
For a food and wine (or rather wine and food) extravaganza a visit to the Stuttgart Wine festival is a must! This is where you can really can experience the Swabian way of life – a local told me that there was a time where Stuttgart had more wine than water… Seems as though this is still the case here! It was here, in a beautiful little wooden shack decorated with vines and twinkling fairy lights I sampled Schillerwein for the first time. This is a blend of red and white grapes and looks like a beautiful apricot hued Provençale rosé. It is a very popular drink among the locals and especially so during the wine festival where copious amounts are drunk to wash down the delicious Spätzle, Rostbraten (roast beef with delicious rustic cheesy pasta slithers) or Swabian Raviolis.
It was at this dinner one of the group informed me of these fantastic wine taverns called Besenwirtschaften or broom taverns where locals open up their own personal dining rooms to the public and serve home cooked food and home-made wine – a true pop up!
Coined broom taverns for when the home owner has finished sweeping the floors in preparation for opening to the public they hang their broom up above the door to let others know they’re ready to entertain! Great idea and I did spot a few on our visit around the vineyards – I was of course too full of Spätzle to stop off at any!
I would love to write about each and every place we visited but my brief (being the operative word) was to keep it short! But I wish to thank all of the fantastically generous people, wine queens, wine makers and organisers we met along the way – so a huge thank you to the team at Staatweingut Weinsberg, Württemberg’s current Wine Queen Stefanie Schwarz, wine queen from 2011/2012 Petra Hammer, the brilliant chaps and tractor driver at Felsengartenkellerei Besigheim, the Fischer brothers at Weingut Sonnenhof, Romana Echensperger MW, the hospitality of Weingut Wöhrwag, the chaps at Weinmanufaktur Untertürkheim, the innovative and super friendly bunch from Wein.Im.Puls hosted at Weingut Maier and the brilliant Californian lover Christian at Hirsch Privatekellerei and of course the team at the Deutsche Weininstitut. Danke Schoen!