Chasing Red

Believing it to be good for us - for our health that is - we joined a wine club a few years back. To be recommended: we've not had one bad bottle in the doorstep deliveries arriving at quarterly intervals since signing on; tired Old Europe or New World, they've been uniformly good and always something of a 'discovery'. 

Recently, and again for 'health reasons', we asked the Hanseatisches Wein & Sekt Kontor, nicely, to send just reds instead of the usual red/white mixture and, just as nicely, they made an exception for us.

Generally, while their whites are capable of beating all comers, mostly-expensive German reds haven't been much of a match for the New World, often tasting as if the bottle had shared space with a fistful of copper pennies or a pound of rusty nails, their colour weak, often more brown than deep red, more cola than blackcurrant, their aroma more farmyard than cherry orchard. But, when they're good, they're very good and the latest delivery's 'Dr.Kohler's Cuvee' came up trumps. So much so that we decided to spend a Saturday chasing it up on the map to see how it's made, from what and......where.


South of Mainz and between Old Father Rhein and Alzey, Bechtheim in the Rheinland, which might equally be known as Heimland, as every second village has 'heim' for a surname: easy for the signpost makers - prepare them all as  '.....heim 4km' and half the job's done; just add a first name. With unerring regularity the SatNav will tell you to "Keep straight on this road for the next four kilometers" to the next heim, which you do if you can stop laughing at the English-pronunciation-German-for-Foreigners, from a Korean tablet, long enough to avoid spending the rest of the day in a ditch waiting for a tow from the ADAC. 

By all inexpert accounts, the day was forecast fair, mild and dry. In the event it was mild, soon overcast and ultimately wet, which is not what you want it to be when you've decided to do the wine sleuthing in a Morgan 4/4, which does have a hood that's at best a psychological umbrella that majors in leaks and, when up, tantamount to wearing a blindfold - especially in the dark.

But, so what?! We had a great day. 

J.R.Fipps got some sun-bathing in before we left; an hour later than planned but that's par for the course.  We crossed the Main, passed Rüsselsheim and Gross-Gerau, distracted briefly by a pumpkin field, before driving straight onto a cross-Rhine ferry at Kornsand, fetching up at Nierstein on the Rheinland side. South along the riverbank through Oppenheim and Guntersblum and on to our goal, Bechtheim, where it was time for but nothing still open for lunch. A friendly winery called ahead to the Metzgerei und Gasthaus "Deutsches Haus" in neighbouring Westhofen to reserve some meat and drink for the hungry. Westhofen itself has a decidedly French ambience even if its food is anything but. Wholesome but unremarkable. 

Bechtheim's House of Dreissigacker was still open when we got back there. Dry whites and reds were tasted and bought, the family's sons specializing in different wines, Dr.Kohler a past take-over but not open for sales late on a Saturday afternoon, the old-fashioned habit of an early afternoon closing to start the weekend still practised in earnest in these parts. Rightly so!

By the time we'd stowed the case on the Morgan's back shelf - it lacking a boot - the sky was largely overcast and it was cooling rapidly so, scenic as it is, the drive westward via Alzey into the Rheinhessische Schweiz was a little drab in the gathering gloom. The restaurant of choice for dinner in Woellstein was fully booked, Austerity obviously not a word from the local dictionary; nothing wrong though with Zwiebelkuchen and Flammkuchen in 'Zum Weinkeller' before a wet ride home in the dark along a string of autobahn links. 

Sunday turned out to be what had been promised for Saturday: sunny and relatively warm, but we'd scheduled a relaxed day and that's what it was. While we didn't quite manage to secure the 'red' we'd been looking for the previous day, there was no shortage of it after a cold night in the area surrounding Kronberg. In fact, Red was Running Riot! And if anyone still doubted that Autumn had arrived, the variety of fungi underfoot in the backyard woods just underlined the change of season and September's last fling.  

All the images were taken with pocket equipment: a Sony RX100 or the Nikon 1 V1 with 10mm and 18.5mm lenses. All fitted in a windcheater pocket: unobtrusive and light, shallow depth of field, where required, not an issue.

Unlike previous posts, the images are presented here not as a slider but as a slide-show, changing at 3sec intervals. On some equipment, hovering your mouse over individual images will bring up captions, on others they appear automatically depending on orientation. Moving the cursor over the slide will stop it, remove to start again.