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The French word „Barrique“ actually means quite simply „barrel“. However in wine making terminology it has a much more important meaning. The barrel in question is an oak one in which certain wines (and also beers) are fermented or matured. Wine that ages in a Barrique barrel acquires a special taste. Its aromas and tannins are rounded off by components in the wood of the oak tree such as notes of vanilla. As there is less exchange of air in this barrel than in a stainless steel tank, the wines undergo a different type of oxidation, which allows their flavours to become concentrated, particularly in red wine. However, now Franconian winemakers are successfully experimenting with maturing white wine from their best sites in these barrels, a procedure which requires expertise and subtlety. The quality of a Barrique wine depends on the quality of the wine itself ,the oak wood of the cask and the so-called toasting (lightly charring the empty barrel over a fire).Many of the trees used to make the Barrique casks originate in France, but the oaks from the Franconian Spessart forests are eminently suitable, too.
The Bocksbeutel bottle is almost synonymous with quality wines and wines with special attributes from Franconia. Since 1989 only these wines (and those from a few much smaller wine regions) may be bottled in the unmistakably shaped Bocksbeutel. Bocksbeutels and quality have been closely linked for a long time. Back in 1726 the city council of Würzburg decided that the best wines from the vineyard site “Am Stein” should be filled in Bocksbeutels. The history of the noteworthy bottle with its flat, elliptical form is of course much older. A Celtic earthenware “pre-Bocksbeutel” dating back to 1400 B.C. was found near Aschaffenburg. Some people claim that a ram (Bock) and his scrotum (Beutel) gave the bottle its curious name, but this is maybe only idle conjecture. More likely is the historical connection with military or pilgrimage containers for water made of glass, wood, pewter, copper or leather. These flat, rounded bottles were attached to the traveller’s belt and had a similar-sounding name, “Bugsbeutel”.
Heckenwirtschaft or Seasonal Wine Tavern
There are many different names in German for these traditional drinking haunts. They all go back to the Emperor Charlemagne, who issued a charter (licence) which granted permission to wine makers to sell their own wine on their own premises “behind the hedge”, hence the name Heckenwirtschaft (Hecke = hedge, Wirtschaft = inn).The wine growers used to hang branches from the hedge on the front of their houses to attract customers. .
A “Heckenwirtschaft” is something different to the similar-sounding “Häckerwirtschaft”, which is an ordinary simple inn. A “Heckenwirtschaft must be registered as a seasonal wine tavern and is only allowed to be open for four months a year. It cannot have more than 40 seats and may only sell the family’s own wine and provide simple food.
If you ever get a chance to try a Heckenwirtschaft, you will enjoy authentic food, great wine and a unique family atmosphere. This is the ultimate way to experience Franconia live!
„Würzburger Stein“, „Escherndorfer Lump“, „Volkacher Ratsherr“, or „Iphöfer Julius-Echter-Berg“:These names of well-known Franconian wine-growing sites are synonymous for the highest-quality wines which grow there. However generally speaking, the name of an individual site is no more than a geographical designation. The word “Einzellage” refers to a specified individual vineyard area, a “Großlage” is a combination of several such adjacent areas into a larger unit producing wines of similar quality and character.
White with delicious splashes of red -That’s what the world of Franconian wine varieties looks like. Originally Silvaner (Sylvaner) was the most important variety in Franconia. A Cistercian Abbot had the first of these vines planted back in 1659 and Silvaner is still the most typical Franconian variety, although Müller Thurgau (Rivaner) also has an important part to play. Other grape varieties are Weißburgunder (Pinot Blanc) Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris) Riesling, Kerner, Bacchus, Scheurebe and Traminer. About 19 per cent of Franconian vineyards are planted with red wines such as Portugieser, Schwarzriesling, Spätburgunder, Domina, Dornfelder, Acolon and Regent. In Franconia a wine called “Rotling” is very popular. It is not a wine variety, however, but a blend of white and red grapes which are combined before pressing.
The Wine Buff or „Schoppenpfetzer“
This is a humourous name for a keen wine-drinker who is known to order a glass (in Franconia called “Schoppen”, usually containing a quarter of a litre of wine) more than strictly necessary. These wine buffs act like connoisseurs and smack their lips in appreciation.
Prosecco, Sparkling Wine
The Italian word „secco“ meaning dry is not the origin of this beverage’s German name, instead it is derived from Prosecco, now strictly speaking only the designation for sparking Italian wines from a certain region. Franconian Secco is a semi-sparkling wine, i.e. it is less carbonated than Schaumwein (true sparkling wine) and thus ideally suited as a light, carefree alternative to Sekt. It has a relatively low alcoholic content and makes for the perfect summer drink when cooled down to 6 to 8 degrees Celsius Incidentally, the carbon dioxide needed for Secco is a byproduct of the first fermentation of the grapes to wine. It is captured at this stage and later put back into the wine after it has finished fermenting..
Food and Wine
A wonderful wine and a delicious dish – each on its own can be like a culinary revelation. But the experience becomes many times more remarkable if you view the two as equal partners which you have to coordinate. Bad news – it takes a lot of serious study and experience to successfully pair wines and foods. Old adages like “red wine goes with dark red meat, white wine goes with veal and poultry” are now spurned in today’s creative cuisine. Good news - in restaurants certified by “Franconia – A Land of Wine and Beauty”, sommeliers or well-trained waiting staff are there to recommend matching wines. And in smaller eating places or wine bars the wines and the dishes or snacks on offer are always chosen to harmonise with each other.
The term “terroir” summarises the most important factors responsible for the good quality of a wine: important in the vineyard is the right combination of soil, type of grape, microclimate and topography. But there is more to it than that, for it is only the personal involvement and passion, the expertise and the nurture of both winegrower and winemaker that result in really superb wines.
This word is often used to describe a winery shop with high-quality products on sale or else a private wine cellar with a selection of very good wines.
Wine and Health
When clinking glasses, Germans say „Prost“ or „Prosit”. The Latin word literally means “May it do you good!” This wish may well be justified, for studies have indicated that wine drinkers live healthily, and white wine is just as good for you as red wine, Secco or Rosé. Obviously this only applies if any wine is drunk in moderation and preferably together with a meal so that the alcohol can be absorbed more gradually.