Friday, January 1, 2010
Pretzels, Sekt, Fireworks and Church Bells
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
As I write, I am sipping on a glass of what we all call Champagne, but most of us generally drink something other than the real thing. Mine today is a German Sekt and it is excellent, a 2006 Fuerst von Metternich Riesling, Brut. See at left.
We opened the bottle last night on our balcony at midnight, poured two glasses and watched the fireworks light up the sky from all directions, while we listened to the church bells announcing the arrival of 2010. Church bells all over Germany ring out for a good ten minutes or longer every year right at the stroke of 12.
Today, our Sekt still has lots of fizz, as we closed it with one of our Sekt wine corks (made from heavy, pointed steel with a vinyl seal). Champagne, of course, is the name that can only be used by vintners in France who produce wine within the borders of Champagne--a limited area. In Germany, it is called Sekt; in Alsace (they have their own sparkling wine), it is called Cremant; in Spain, Cava; in Italy, Prosecco. Just recently, the Italian government made Prosecco a protected wine name; so, like Champagne, it cannot be used by any other area or country, other than the particular area in which it is produced in Italy.
We began our New Year's Eve simply. For the first time in a few years, we decided to celebrate at home. In the last few years we have gone to the Gasthaus Rebstock in the next village, for a fabulous evening which included a cold and hot buffet, Sekt on arrival and at midnight, live music and then fireworks directly outside the Gasthaus, in the heart of the town, as the clock struck 12. During some of those years, good friends from Canada, who were in Germany visiting, shared the evening as did Canadian friends from Brussels and Ramstein, Germany.