Oktoberfest, the world’s largest beer party, is set to kick off in München in a few weeks. Thousands of drunken tourists will flock to the grounds to consume liters of the foamy stuff delivered six or eight at a time by incredibly strong German maidens in traditional Drindls. Bands will play, acres of roasted chickens and sausages will be eaten and the area will positively wreak with gemütlichkeit. We’ve been to Oktoberfest three times now, and yes it is a lot of fun, in its own way.
But, in Wiesbaden, we have the more refined and genteel Rheingauer Weinwoche, a 10-day celebration of the riesling grape and the local wineries which produce its wine. I recently recalled the saying, “Wine is the way classy people get wasted” and I can vouch personally for that statement’s veracity. The 40th annual Rheingau wine festival, which features over 100 stands selling wine from different producers, ends today and it has been a roaring success. Like München’s Oktoberfest, bands play and sausages are roasted, but overall Weinwoche is a much more sedate affair.
Now, as a primarily red wine drinker, Jay has to admit that most of the riesling, with its relatively low alcohol content, tastes pretty much the same. He mentioned this to one of our German table mates, who agreed with. “Naturally”, he said, “after all, it all comes from the same fields and the same region.” Now, I’m sure there are some riesling aficionados who would disagree and insist there are profound differences between different regions, vintners and styles. But, for Jay, he’ll stay with a hearty red any day. Tanya will continue to enjoy her French chardonnay. Regardless of wine preference, it was an enjoyable week.