Monthly Archives: May 2009

Hairy Wine Situation

Theoretically, I was looking forward to meeting the German’s ex wife. Until she showed up rail-thin with endless long legs. Here’s how it unfolded.

I was shopping and supposed to meet them [the German, his friend/her lover, Juergen, and the ex] at the Theatinerkirche (aka the yellow church). I walked in the direction that I thought it was, but it wasn’t there. A few more wrong turns, then I called Juergen. At that moment, the church, our meeting point, erupted in tolling bells. “Follow the bells,” he said. Fair enough, except that at that very moment, every church in Marienplatz exploded in song. Bells were everywhere! Juergen – can you give me a little more to go on?

When I reconnected with them, there she was. All of a sudden, I pictured myself as the American just off the cruise ship wearing an I Love Munich t-shirt, big hair piled on my head, big sun glasses perched on my nose, and a straw bag carrying my souvenirs. The first thing she said was ‘I’m glad you’re here and I’m sorry we missed your wedding.’ The second thing was ‘do you like to dance? Let’s go dancing tonight.’ It was a challenge, I thought. So I saw her let’s-go-dancing and raised her by enthusiastically agreeing that that would make for a fun night. Yes! The boys can sit at the bar and we’ll have a dance-off!

The awkwardness worsened over a glass of champagne, where I found myself suggesting we do a ski trip together… And oh, why wouldn’t you join us in Italy for Christmas? In slow motion, I was sinking into a psychotic world of “will you be my new best friend forever?” Finally, when Juergen suggested we stay at their house that evening, I think we’d both had it. I happily responded, “that would be great” while she and I secretly shared the same thought: No fucking way.

The next night we went to dinner together – the four of us and Wolfgang, her 80 year old father. The German and Juergen were recalling the time they visited Châteauneuf du Pape together. When asked what happened to that wine? Juergen responded sheepishly — I’m afraid she might have used it to color her hair. Instantly, the playing field leveled. Turns out, the ex uses henna to color her auburn mane. She confessed that the first time she used Henna, her hair turned bright orange until a man from India tipped her off that she needed to dilute the formula with red wine. Now, she heats the concoction, puts it on her hair, wraps her head in aluminum-foil, then goes about her business all day with a tin-head while the tannins bind to her hair. She said it turns out very shiny. “How’s it taste?” asked the German.

More Meat in Munich

Overall, I liked Munich very much. We hung out with friends, did day-trips in the Bavaria Alps, visited Neuschwanstein, traipsed around mountain villages including and stood in awe of the Baroque churches with their pastel-colored frescoes. No doubt, many animals must die in Germany to provide nourishment for the many meat-eaters. I drank wine and ate cheese products, while the German endured beer, weisswurst, beer, Kässpatzen, beer and Schweinshaxe.

Things that interested and surprised me in Bavaria:

  • People REALLY wear lederhosen and dirndls. The German bought be a dirndl and I can only imagine it’s to fulfill some crazy fantasy of his…. you’ll hear about it.
  • Trampolines in Munich-ians backyards are as common as pools in Californians backyards.
  • Munich-ers really drink beer while perusing their morning newspapers. They really do.
  • No less then three pages of rules – many of which we had already broken by the time we read them at the Botanical Gardens

Celebrating Two Years with The German in Germany!

We arrived in Munich on our second anniversary, and like a still-good husband, still relatively new to marriage, The German surprised me with dinner reservations at Kaefer. Kaefer is known for casual elegance, roaming food and did not disappoint. We started with Speghettini in a truffle crème. Next, my grilled halibut, arrived, and literally melted in my mouth along with the creamy morels and asparagus. The German had venison, that was so rare it almost leapt off the plate, just the way he liked it. He claimed that he was eating the “best cabbage” he’d ever had; and I know what you’re thinking, because I thought the same. Best + cabbage in the same sentence. Odd. But it’s true, the cabbage was amazing, and we both agreed, this fabulous meal was one of the best we’d ever had. A Joseph Drouhin, 2006 grand vin, pinot noir from Bourgogne was a perfect complement. With a clean, raspberry nose, this ruby Drouhin was a quick-changing, simple wine. It evolved quickly moving through sour to bitter strawberry to spice, becoming smooth and fruity defusing its tannins. The best part of the meal was the chocolate mousse that arrived with fresh fruit and a firey sparkler. A wonderfully, fantastic evening which we’ve spent the first two years of marriage earning!

Photo(s) Kaefer-Schanke

I’ll Take A Manischewitz, No Ice

On our way to Europe we stopped in Rockford, IL for my nephew’s wedding. In the last 10 days, he graduated from Iowa State, turned 23, received his commissioning as a Second Lieutenant Marine, got married, and is moving to Quantico, VA. Just hearing this story made me feel very lazy and very thirsty. And being I was in Rockford, NOT Chicago, my wine choices were limited. So I sipped what there was and became an observer of the habits of Rockfordians.

On Wine

  • They drink Manischewitz on the rocks
  • They were drinking boxed wine long before it was cool.
  • “I love that shit” can refer to a lot of things including wine.
  • “Hey…… stuff is falling out of your dress” refers to car keys, cell phone, cash, credit cards, other people’s cash, keys and credit cards, lip gloss, and a microphone – probably a small child, a fruit salad and the neighbor’s cat, which was stuffed down the front of one of the bridesmaid’s long, purple satin dresses for safekeeping.
  • “You’re not watching what I’m watching” refers to The German talking to me in his sleep, then jolting upright from the dream.

Nefarious Might Cook Your Dog, But Kung Fu Girl Will Kick Your Ass


Best line in my upcoming Wine Press Northwest column on which Riesling to give when you meet the ex-wife. I will be meeting The German’s ex (who happens to be German) next week in Munich.

Nefarious, 2007, Riesling – Stone’s Throw Vineyard – Estate Grown

Charles Smith Wines, Kung Fu Girl, 2008, Riesling, Columbia Valley

Watch for the column — due out in June. And for the gory details right here!

Photo: K Vintners

Spider Wine or Stalker – Who Wants Some?

Two disturbing events: One, which left me permanently scarred.

First, my seatmate on the plane to Walla Walla turned out to be a low-grade stalker. He was chatty, young, seemed normal… “I write a wine blog – here’s my card with the url.” Dies war zugegebenermaßen eine dumme Idee! (I’m learning German phrases in preparation for our trip next week.) Translation: Admittedly this was a stupid idea! Later – after a phone call declaring he was “on my way to your hotel room…” – it was official. Fortunately, he had the wrong hotel. And btw, I DO NOT (and neither does the rock on my left hand) hide the fact that I’m hitched.

The drama of this incident was superseded by the combination: 650 BMW + Arachnid. Here’s the deal… a friend let me borrow his car – a very cool and fast car. And something you should know about me: Afraid of spiders doesn’t even begin to cover it. When I encounter a spider my ridiculously, irrational reaction includes hyperventilating and sobbing, and is as close to a violent near-death-experience (similar to drowning) as I can ever imagine having.

Anyway – to make a long story longer, I pull away from Long Shadows, and drive down Hwy 12, thinking how hot I must look in this very cool car (or how hot the car must look and that I better not wreck it), when a spider delicately descends, so close to my face that if I would have been inhaling, it would have floated into my mouth. I’m not kidding. I f-cking FREAKed, pulled to the side, soared from the car – engine still running – but mindful enough to pull the break – and stood on the side of the road the wave of panic rushing in full attack. Gathering my senses for a moment, I took a step back considering that if I did pass out, I should do it behind the white line of the highway’s shoulder. I dialed my friends who were over at Dunham Cellars – too far and too buzzed – to be of much help. I tried several times to calm myself down thinking I could summon enough courage to brush the spider out of the car. I could not. Finally, I succumbed to ultimate humiliation and flagged down a driver in a small pick up. He confirmed I was crazy, while he ridded the creature from the car. The nightmare was over, and I am forever beholden to that man.

And then I discovered that in parts of the world, they drink spider wine…..

Photo Disclaimer: This is a very disturbing picture of a Cambodian spider from which wine is made. It bears no resemblance to my Walla Walla seatmate (in the plane or the car).

Photo: Automedia, the article on spiders

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things (in Walla Walla for Spring Release)

Upon return from Spring Release in Walla Walla and trying to decipher my notes that really show my plentiful path to inebriation, instead of boring you with ALL the minutia – which I will do in forthcoming blogs, I’ll just bore you with some of it (as if….)

Most importantly — Ice-Burg is my absolute favorite spot for a cheeseburgers and peanut-butter, chocolate shakes…. GO THERE! 616 W Birch Street, and call ahead to place your order so you don’t have to wait in the dreadfully LONG line!! 509 529 1793

And on to more beverages….

Everything Long Shadows –Tasted the not-yet released 2008 Poet’s Leap Riesling, which wafted of bright, fresh peaches, carnations and lemony-vanilla. Only recently bottled, it tasted like an apricot spritzer, on the dryer side with a bit of fizz and hints of stoniness. Now, if only I could turn up the sun, lounge on a big deck chair in nothing more then a big hat, dark sunglasses and more string than bikini ….uh huh…. Enjoy it properly. $28

Dunham Cellars – Lots of favorites, but I’ll just name two: Dunham Cellars, Lewis River, 2004 Syrah – “I want to spice you up,” sings this wine. Layers of opaque fruit wrap up your tongue in a cloak of deep red pomegranate, cherry and smokey clove cigarette (ahhh, those were the days). It’s a mouthful of sensations that can best be understood through the luminous language of tantricity and craving. $75

And speaking of craving, Eric’s next masterpiece is a collaboration with actor, Kyle MacLachlan – a fellow Washingtonian and our dear friend Charlotte’s “sexually ineffective” husband Trey MacDougal. Hoping his wine stands up better then his Sex and the City performance…we are, indeed, not disappointed. Pursued by Bear, 2005 Cab Sauv is dark and rich with black cherry, black licorice and blackberry – all my favorite black things – and a lengthy finish to boot. Leave it to a wine to salvage one’s stamina and inspiring desperation in housewives. $65.

Keep an eye out for Baby Bear…the wine, dummy!

Photos: Dunham Cellars, Long Shadows, Flickr.com