Monthly Archives: May 2012

Wine friends and an exhibition in Seoul

The sloping Mosel at Bremm.
The photo was taken by Yutaka Kitajima from the Bremmer Calmont, the steepest vineyard on the Mosel.

Two of my closest wine friends are ManSoo Hwang from Korea and Yutaka Kitajima from Japan. ManSoo and Yutaka have a long friendship going that they forged during their studies as graduate students in Trier, Germany. Trier is in the heart of the Mosel valley, and Mosel as well as Saar and Ruwer (two smaller rivers) are easy to reach. Both of them fell in

My friends ManSoo (right), Chunhwa (second from right) and Yutaka (second from left) with the Korean wine journalist Son Hyun Joo

love with Mosel rieslings and over the years became tremendous experts. Yutaka has been blogging on Mosel wines for several years and has been a contributor to the Japanese wine magazine Vinotheque since 2005. ManSoo is a certified wine advisor, graduated from the German Wine and Sommelier College in Koblenz and is also a wine journalist.

Both of them have played a huge role in my developing a better feel for and understanding of riesling. Usually at ManSoo’s home we would have long wine tastings, often with Korean food (a so good pairing that it goes beyond imagination…but that will be the subject of another entry). We would each bring some bottles, and then we would do blind tastings. We would discuss the wines, we would try to place them geographically as well as age-wise and varietal. All that mattered was why we made a particular argument. It was tremendous fun. While they both share immense knowledge and experience, they were always willing to indulge me and later Nina, too. I owe a lot to these two.

Wine maker’s hands

Besides being great friends and wine lovers, they also are both exceptionally good at taking artful photographs and that is where I am heading with this post. Several of their photographs and pictures by others have made it into a (seemingly) gorgeous photo exhibition in Seoul, Korea, organized by Chan Jun Park. The exhibition is called “Mosel! Nature, Terroir, People” and its opening reception was last night (naturally with tons of wine and great food). When I saw photos on a friend’s facebook page today, I wished even more I could have been there. I asked permission to share some with you, because they bring home why I care so much about German wine, riesling, and the Mosel. And my friends…I am not sure which pictures are by whom, and some of them are not even by ManSoo or Yutaka, but it will give you a feel. Also, I am not sharing the high-resolution photos, just shots that my friend Shinju Lim, who was at the exhibition, took. Seeing riesling and the Mosel celebrated in Korea warms my heart.

While I will see ManSoo in June in Germany, Yutaka is now living in Yokohama, so it might be a little while until we get together again. But we sure will.

You can see more of Yutaka’s stunning photos here.

Here is to you, ManSoo and Yutaka! Great work.

The exhibition is on display until 8 June 2012 (so hurry up, if you are in Seoul!) in the Hilstate Gallery in Seoul. Opening hours from 10am-6pm, free admission.


More photos can be found at this post.

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2011 Taylors Gewürztraminer

Refreshing Australian in our back yard

One of the great things about having people stay with us is that they bring wine…so did a prospective Australian at my wife’s graduate program when she was staying with us in March to check out UMich.

She brought us this Australian Gewürztraminer. Alsace (a French region in the east bordering Southern Germany) is famous for its incredible gewürztraminer, and Germany produces a decent amount. I am quite fond of this varietal. It always has an incredible nose to it, its name literally translates to “spice traminer” or “perfume traminer”. There is always so much going on in your nostrils with these wines. They are naturally high in sugar and that can be their problem when they get too sweet. I have had quite a number of gewürztraminers, but most of them ended up too sweet in my glass.

This one, by Taylors wineries, a big producer from Clare Valley in South Australia, was her choice. I think she mentioned that she liked the umlaut in the label and that it was a German sounding grape. Quite thoughtful! The wine is from Taylor’s mid-tier level of wines called Taylors Estate and seems to retail for about AUS$ 19. I could not find retailers in the US.

The wine in the glass was a very light green and yellow. In the nose, the most prominent smell was that of vineyard peaches. There were distince floral notes, too. To me, it smelled like an Alpine valley in the summer. It was really nice and clean.

The first tastes that I got were citrussy. It was wonderfully dry and pleasantly refreshing (it’s very humid today, so any refreshment was very welcome!!). Nina remarked on litchi flavors, which the bottle also claimed on its back. I am not sure I tasted those. The finish was a bit short, but hey, that made me get a refill quickly. The winery’s tasting note is available here.

I liked this wine. It was just the right thing for a summer afternoon. I told our friend she can come back.

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How awesome is that??

Photo found on

It’s Memorial Day here in the US and Pentecost Monday (yet another Christian public holiday in oh so secular Germany) so I will keep this short. Just wanted to share this with you and then head out to the back yard…

I am not sure how long these key chances last, but what an awesome idea!!

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