I will perhaps find time to elaborate on my visit to Meyer Fonne, but I must prepare for Day Three tomorrow, a big day at two producers, and then meeting a social connection for some evening company. But for now, I will point out how different my experience was today at Meyer-Fonne. Definitely not the same lavish welcome as yesterday, but more restrained. It was just a tasting like I’m some nobody off the bus! I am kidding of course. They were expecting me, and the wife of Felix Meyer, who runs the office, spoke more English and accompanied my tasting. Felix came in for a hello, and only stayed briefly. It can be awkward when languages do not connect and communication falters. This is of course part of life, and it’s ok! During the occasion awkward silence I wondered if I should be seamlessly leading the interaction perhaps? Barraging them with comments? Technical question? Acute analytical breakdowns? I wasn’t sure, but I just went with the flow. Lightening the moments with my usual mild self-deprecating humor and personal anecdotes brought out some laughter, thank goodness.
They were very friendly, and generously allowed me to taste everything – about twenty wines. I was so happy just the be there and enjoy their miraculous creations. Meyer-Fonne produces 80,000 bottles per year, of which 40% is sold directly from the winery. That’s a lot of local sales!
The wines of Meyer-Fonne are outrageously serious. Or seriously outrageous, I can’t tell. Powerful and yet retrained, elegant, with clear finesse and piercing minerality and acidity. I feel like I say that about every amazing Riesling now, yet for these it is true – a force to be reckoned with. They have a variety of Grand Cru vineyards – Wineck-Schlossberg, Kaefferkopf, Hinterburg de Katzenthal, Dorfburg, all surrounding the tiny medieval hamlet of Katzenthal. At the end of the day, they are rows of vines on slopes.
As we wrapped up I bought a couple bottles, and was introduced to the mother of Felix Meyer – these are all family operations after all. She was jovial and cheerful, and we all spoke some French together. She was very cheerful and welcoming, and remarked that Colorado is well known of course, and finally explained to me the nature of the Alsatian language – in fact, it is a regional dialect that is German based. The goodbyes were warm and cordial, and smiles all around. It was actually a relief to have the afternoon for other things, and to sight see the wine route a bit on my own.
I spent the afternoon visiting the Haut-Koenigsberg castle, west of Selestat and north of Ribeauville, twenty minutes north of Colmar. This castle is a striking statement of medieval architecture perched atop a Vosge peak with a view that defies the imagination. (See the slider image on the home page of this site, that’s an aerial view.) A nice surprise was the view perch atop that afforded views to the west as well, into the valleys among the Vosges Mountains and the numerous adorable villages nestled within. Whomever controlled this castle after it’s 12th century creation clearly owned the region (I don’t know, but figuratively speaking) – the views were unobstructed and immersive landscapes of the vineyards and villages below – truly stunning.
(Above: Care to be sliced, diced, or impaled now? Serious personal weaponry.)