My recent visit to the Kaiserstuhl region to join Franz Keller for a portfolio tasting in their amazing mountain cellars opened my eyes to the extraordinary challenges of viticulture in the marvellous area of Germany, Perched on weathered volcanic soil the area has an amazing microlimate which give the Franz Keller wines an elegance that is characterised by a flinty minerality. On some of the steepest slopes, each row of vines has it’s terrace! A few kilometers north-west of Freiburg, the Kaiserstuhl between Black Forest and Vosges mountains rises 16 kilometers long and up to 12.5 km wide at a height of about 600 meters from the Rhine valley.
The result is the highly eroded mountains from one active volcano millions of years ago. Its center was the Badberg, now a nature reserve, where among other things, more than 30 species of orchids at home. The weathered volcanic rocks were subsequently covered with a layer of loess, which was transformed by the growth of valuable clay minerals partly in loess clay. These substrates offer some of the terraces, partly on steep slopes lie vineyards excellent heat and water storage, the well aerated and rich in minerals Franz Keller mountain caves are excavated 112m deep into the rocks like an Alpine tunnel underneath the loess layer. Windows dug into the loess regulate the airflow and optimal humidity in the parallel ducts which retain an almost unvarying, natural, constant temperature of 12 degrees Celsius throughout the year. Such ideal conditions for the storage and maturation of the wine treasures that are kept here are rarely found elsewhere. In addition to their own Franz Keller Wines, these caves hold countless wooden cases of the great wines of Bordeaux and Bugundy maturing for the perfect time to be released, a trading tradition that the grandfather Keller began over 100 years.
Following the tasting in the mountain cellars, we had one of the most amazing wine dinners held at the presitgious Michelin reataurant at Schwarzer Adler (www.schwarzer). Master chef Anibal Strubinger, produced 6 courses of fabulous local Baden cuisine matched with a stunning range of wines, most in magnum, double magnum and jeroboam’s and imperials!
Following our champage Aperitif,
2010 LEVIN Sauvignon Blanc Loire Valley, Magnum
Carpaccio of Atlantic salmon with scallops and Norwegian fieldasparagus
a match truly made in heaven!!
Dishes that followed………
Truffle Risotto served tiny loin of Rabbit and puree of carrot
Double magnum 2001 Spatburgunder Rotwein Selection A Franz Keller, Schwarzer Adler, Baden
2001 Volnay 1er Cru Caillerets Domaine Marquis d’Angerville, Burgundy
Roasted Fillet of Milk Fed lamb with Gremolata & Baby ‘Pretzel Dumplings’
Imperial 2006 San Leonardo Tenuta San Leonardo, Trentin
2005 Qunita Quietud Quinta de la Quietud, Toro
Veal Check marinated then Braised in Tinta del Toro with Potato Mousseline
Epoisses with Pear Jelly
2001 Weissburgunder, Weingut Franz Keller, Schwarzer Adler, Baden
2009 Blanc des Junquets, Domaine du Mas Blanc Rousillon
Curd Cheese Mousse with Rhubarb Ragout & Strawberry Sorbet
2001 Oberbergener Bassgeige Riesling Auslese, Weingut Franz Keller Schwarzer Adler, Baden