Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The Maisprach wine experience

At present, we are gradually tasting our way through a case of different German sparkling wines for our wedding in just over two months' time. The "Sekt" we choose for our big day will not be showcased here until after the event, if at all, because - to put it simply - we want to keep it a secret.

This explains the relatively fewer wines described here of late and the slightly greater emphasis on excursions, trips and similar gallivanting. Saturday provided another case in point, when "das Wy-Erläbnis", which is Swiss for "das Wein-Erlebnis" (or "wine experience"), took place in the vineyards in and around the villages of Buus and Maisprach in the Swiss canton of Basel-Land.

Participant numbers are limited for this annual event, which tends to get booked up fairly soon after ticket sales begin every January. A spur of the moment thing this definitely is not.

The alloted start time for us early bookers (and around 90 others) was 12 noon on the dot. A total contingent of 2,000 took part throughout the day, leaving the village of Buus at half-hour intervals. We proceeded to cover eight different designated stops along the winding three-mile route from Buus to Maisprach, seven of which served culinary treats. Germans would probably call this a "kulinarische Weinwanderung". As you'd expect, the event was organised like clockwork. There was even someone whose designated task for the day was to hold one of those hanging mustard squeezers to squidge a dollop of the old Thomy onto every punter's plate as he or she passed with a plate full of smoked pork and potato salad.

As for wines, we tried some interesting "Riesling-Silvaner" (Müller-Thurgau), Chasselas (Gutedel) and Pinot Blanc, as well as a fair volume of undemanding yet quaffable Pinot Noir.

As a postscript: two British friends who live in the area were kind enough to procure tickets for our group. Their house acted as a convenient base after the walk before it was time to head into the village for the subsequent festivities. They are due to up sticks to Houston, Texas this coming autumn, but I think there'll always be a place in their heart for their house in the middle of Maisprach.

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