Thursday, October 27, 2005

“He is always causing trouble”
Tsk, tsk. Who’s a naughty boy? No its not Harrison, our six toed cat, who has taken to peeing everywhere but the litterbox. This naughty boy is Edgar Schätzler, a winegrower in Guntersblum in the state of Hesse in Germany. Schätzler, who is no fan of the wine regulations in Germany, filled his wine bottles with Hungarian Pinot Gris. And state experts ended up labeling it 'quality German wine' in official blind tastings.

“He is always causing trouble,” said Claudia Rehm, an official taster for the states of Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate. “Our job is to approve wines that have no fundamental flaws, not judge varietals or their origins.”

“Given the amount of winemaking styles these days, in Germany and abroad, it is not surprising that some official testers could be fooled into thinking that a Pinot Gris from Hungary – which has no fundamental flaws – could taste like a Riesling, perhaps a special style of 'Riesling' and one that may not be particularly good, either,” added Rolf Rehm, another official state wine taster.

Not particularly good! Sounds like someone is miffed at being shown they don’t know their Riesling. Pinot Gris [PEE-noh GREE] is grown in Alsace as well as in Austria, Germany, Hungary, and Rumania. In Italy its called Pinot Grigio. In Germany its ruländer. I’ve never had a Hungarian Pinot Gris so I’m not certain whether confusing it with a German Rhine Riesling is all that difficult. But I’ll bet that you could make an awful lot of money putting cheap non-German wines into fancy German Riesling bottles, and then having a state official call it Qualitätswein.

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