Thursday, September 14, 2006


A Taste of Liechtenstein

Yesterday evening's lecture by Her Excellency Claudia Fritsche, Liechtenstein's Ambassador to the USA, at the Goethe Institut was truly an exceptional one.

Having visited the Goethe Institute to see many a film with my partner Ken Schellenberg before, when the Liechtenstein lecture appeared on the list of activities, Ken was set on attending, for his family began their roots in the village of Schellenberg, Liechtenstein.

Ambassador Fritsche gave us an interesting lecture on the history and the current affairs of her country and aftewards we were treated to some of the Court-Winery of the Prince of Liechtenstein in Wilfersdorf, Austria.

Now I'm not just saying this because we met and spoke with Ambassador Fritsche but the wines we were privileged to taste last night were absolutely superb. Wine making has been a tradition in the Principality of Liechtenstein since 1436, though many of the vineyards are in Austria or the Czech Republican, where the Prince owns land.

Were we informed that soon the wines we tasted will be available in the DC area.

It's hard to focus on just one wine since we tasted five different wines, and I might add not your typical wine-tasting swallow but more like a dinner's glass of wine taste.

These included the following:

FL Classique Brut Premier, a vintage sparkling wine made from Riesling grapes.
"Its characteristics feature a ripe, golden yellow color with a very fine, soft perfume with light hints of peach, a fine Mousseux with a ripe, full character, and a long finish."

Gruner Veltliner DAC made from these grapes.
With "characteristics of a light straw-yellow color with peppery, spicy bouquet, harmoniously-rounded and lasting on the palate."

Clos Domaine Riesling made from Riesling grapes.
"A noble wine with characteristics of light straw with a very open, sparkling flavor of fruit reminiscent of ripe peaches and honeydew melon, enhanced by a balanced play between body and acidity."

Veramo Merlot/Zweigelt made with Zweigelt and Merlot grapes.
"A medium ruby red color with a harmonious union of berry and ripe fruit flavors combined with a pleasant tannin structure resulting in a well-rounded taste on the palate."

Clos Domaine Zweigelt made with only Zweigelt grapes.
"A dense ruby red color and an intensive, open nose with hints of ripe berries and a pleasantly-rounded tannin structure resulting a smooth finish."

For a country the size of Washington, DC with only 35,000 people, Liechtenstein is certainly doing many things well to advance its economy.

I recall visiting the country in 1977 when I was traveling across Europe on my two-month journey, starting in Lisbon on my birthday with visits to 12 different countries with a final departure from London. Ah, the days of youth and less costly life styles. Those were the good old days and yesterday's event helped to bring many forgotten memories back to me, and certainly the wine facilitated the flow.

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