Monday, May 7, 2012

Oechsle Wine & Fish House

Hello, folks.

As promised (maybe a week late, but who's counting), I've got some more bloggy-blogs lined up.

Of course, I couldn't have picked a worse week to start up. Starting on Saturday, the Mister has to work from 6pm to 6am until this coming Friday. It just totally messes up both of our schedules. I end up going to bed late, then wake up late, then don't want to make too much noise during the day, then he wakes up around 1pm and I start our dinner, then he leaves & I try to do all the housework I didn't do during the day when he was asleep. It's 9pm as I'm writing this, and I've got laundry going. I NEVER do housework this late. Boo.

Anywho, I have been meaning to write this blog for a couple weeks now. It, of course, centers around wine tasting.

That seems to be our theme for Germany, doesn't it?

Our friend (and Josh's coworker) Mal, is leaving Germany at the end of May to go to her next base. She told us about this Wine & Fish market (weird combo, eh?) in the nearby city of Trier. She had been there once before with another friend, but decided she needed to return before moving away from Germany. SO, Josh and I, Mal, and our friend (and another coworker) Linda all decided to go to the Oechsle House.

Here's the scoop on this place. It's a fish market. It's also a sit-down restaurant. And, upstairs, it's a wine store. They have 120 different kinds of wine. For €15 per person, you can try all 120 wines. Not only can you try them, but you also pour your own tasting.

After my Bad Dürkheim experience, I was experiencing more than a little trepidation about this Oechsle place.

But, I can learn to control myself when it comes to wine tastings, right??

Even though Trier is only about an hour away from us, we decided to stay the night in Trier, and just take a taxi to and from our hotel to Oechsle. We may be winos, but at least we're responsible winos.

It was raining and cold when we left for Trier. Of course. But, the trip went super-quick. Linda drove us, and she had some Mad Libs in the car, so we had great fun filling some of those out. I forgot how awesome (albeit nerdy) those things could be! I don't think I've played Mad Libs since before I knew dirty words (or at least very many dirty words). As four adults with perverted senses of humor, Mad Libs can be HILARIOUS.

We get to the hotel, but it's too early to check-in, so we decide just to take a cab into Trier and walk around before we go to the wine place.

At this point, I should tell you that poor Mal has the world's worst allergies (at least spring-time allergies). She took some medicine before we left that, unfortunately, turned her into a walking zombie. The first thing we had to do once arriving in the center of Trier was to find a restaurant, so we can eat, get her some caffeine, and hopefully wake her up.

The taxi drops us off in the center of town, and apparently there was some sort of religious...thing...going on at the same time. We had no idea. But, there were people EVERYWHERE. Many of them carrying sticks with crosses w/flowers on them (I'm sure there's a technical term for these really long sticks, but I have no idea what it is). There are nuns everywhere. Groups of people are singing hymns in the streets. That was actually quite lovely. And, a huge group of people are waiting in line in front of a church.

This is only a part of the huge mass of people. And, it was still early. It got REALLY packed later on.

We had NO idea what this was all about. Later, we found out that it was the "Seamless robe of Jesus." It's the robe said to have been worn by Jesus during his crucifixion. It only gets brought out for viewing every-so-often. You can read about it here, because I'm obviously not somebody that should be explaining religious artifacts to the public.

Hokay, anyway, we're on a mission to find caffeine for Mal. Eventually, we just randomly pick a place. We ended up at Ratskeller. Luck was on our side, because it was delicious. It's a Russian/German restaurant situated in the basement of this really old building. Josh ended up getting jägerschnitzel (his usual whenever he can't figure out what else to get), and I got this baked dish of feta, potatoes, spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Mal had about a million espressos, and Linda had one too. Linda had taken the allergy meds also, but it obviously didn't make her FUBAR.

It really was a good meal, and a really cool building. I recommend it to anyone who goes to Trier.

After dinner, some other friends of ours decided to meet up with us. Will is kinda-sorta a coworker (he works in the same career field, just a different division on base). Him and his wife had never been to Trier, so they decided to meet up with us to do the wine tasting. They also brought another couple along. When it comes to wine tasting - the more, the merrier!

Here's their rock-star picture:

Oechsle is just around the corner, but we still had to play Dodge the Nun the whole way there.

Ok, so we get to this building, and it totally seems like an off-the-beaten-path kinda place. The restaurant is hoppin', but there is no one in the tasting room upstairs. It's basically just a gated off section of the restaurant, with rows and rows of wine. There are plaques set up for each wine that can be tasted, listing all of the details about the particular wine and, most importantly, the designated wine number. At the end of each row, there was a big metal cooler, filled with maybe 10 bottles of wine, each with a specific number labeled on the cap. So, whatever number you read about on the board, you would pick out from the cooler to try.

Here's our happy little octet, before the wine extravaganza began.

So, like I said, there are 120 wines to choose from. The first 6 or so where different types of bubbly. For those, the bartender had to pour them. Then, there were 70ish dry whites. Then, 20ish sweet wines. There were only 5 or so dry red wines. Normally, dry reds are the Aycock favorite. But, I have to be honest. German red wine is not so good. The typical dry is the Dornfelder Trocken (trocken just means dry). Dornfelder Halbtrocken (half dry) is good stuff. But trocken? Icken.

We wanted to taste all of the wines there. At least Josh and I did. Mal had done it before (and that ended up not so good for her), and Linda isn't a big drinker. But, Josh and I wanted to try them all. They gave us a sheet of paper with all of the wines listed, and little spots to make notes. SO, we all started doing that. We each had our own little grading system.

I was so determined to NOT get drunk, that I was just pouring little splashes of the wine to taste. Actually, most of the time Josh and I just shared the splash. We wanted to just taste all of the wines, then go back and have full glasses of whatever our favorites were. Hell, I even spit wine out that I didn't care for (which I NEVER do...I'm a swallower).

Anyway, it sounded like a good plan, right? Well, that is until you realize how completely BORING it all is. We were 30 wines into the dry whites. At this point, my tongue is sore, and my stomach is killing me from all the acid. I'm so OCD, that it takes everything in my power to not just plug away, and get through all the numbers. What if I miss the perfect wine? How can I just pick wines at random to try? What about the numbers? The Numbers!! (seriously, I'm this can be a problem).

But, in order for the wine to not eat a hole into my tongue, or stomach, I have to quit for awhile. I had some water, and some genius in our group ordered a cheese plate, that came with a bread basket. Water & bread - the PERFECT addition to a wine tasting!

That perked us up a little bit. :)

Finally, some people got to the sweet side of the wines. We don't like sweet wines, so we avoided it. Until Mal & Linda had us try #91. (we were referring to all of the wines by numbers). Oh, 91. Like a little, sweet kiss from above. This is where we parked it for the rest of the evening. It was really, really delicious white wine - and really not what I would call "sweet".

If you're ever at a fancy-pants wine place (although, I have no idea if you can even get it in the states) you must try this.
Weingut Pfeiffer (Pfeiffer Vineyards)
2010 Riesling
Spätlese (late vintage)
feinherb (just found out this is another term for halbtrocken)

The only reason I know all that info, is because we bought 6 bottles. And at €5.50/each, not too shabby!

Anyway, I digress. It's getting to be late afternoon at this point. More people are at the tasting room at this point. We get to talk to some German business men. That's one thing I really like about being here - getting to talk with locals. They try out their English (which is always pretty decent). We try out our German (which is not at all decent). It's fun! But, I'm still having tongue/stomach acid problems. You know when you eat too many Sour Patch Kids? Yeah, kinda like that. Only multiplied by 10.

Here's one of our "aftermath" tables.

But, everyone else is having a goooood time. The two couples who arrived after we were at the restaurant have left (they didn't have a hotel room booked). So it's back to the four of us! We had been at Oeschle since 1pm-ish, but now it's almost 6pm. I am pretty much stone sober at this point, but the others have a major case of the giggles. It's really quite funny. Except then the piano player starts, and the bartender asks when we're leaving.


Really, I think it's just because they're about to close up (I really do think the wine tasting part closes at 6:30 or so). But, I can't help but be paranoid that he's tired of us being there. At this point, I'm tired of us being there. I need a break from all the wine.

Oeschle allows you to purchase wine, and then pick up later. Good thing, because between the four of us, we've purchased 78 bottles (and only 6 of those were for me & Josh). THANKFULLY, some genius in our group mentions a desire for pizza.

This sounds like the best plan ever. Luckily, in Germany, you can walk 10 paces in any direction and run smack into a local pizzeria.

And we do!

Unfortunately, I can't for the life of me remember the name of the pizza place. But really, they're all variations of the same...Pizza. Pizza Italiano. Delicioso Pizza Italiano. etc. etc. etc.

The food was great. We had a really hot Italian waiter...who was missing all of his front teeth...

But he was hot when he closed his mouth! And the two single ladies in our group made sure to let him know they thought he was hot. ;)

Although I'm sure meth is the reason he is toothless....

Anyway, the ladies were ordering appetizers, and Linda couldn't decide what she wanted. So she asked Roberto (I'm thinking that was the waiters name, but I could just be making that up) to bring her his favorite appetizer.

So he does...

And this is the, "What the hell did you just bring me?" look.

Yep, it's raw meat. Linda didn't look to thrilled. But, surprisingly, Josh wanted to try it. As did Mal. So then Linda started to eat it. I honestly can't believe Josh ate it. He used to be the kid that ate nothing but tv dinners and cold canned spagghetios. He's come a long way in the past seven years that we've been together. Not only did he eat it, but he really liked it.

Of course, then the waiter came back to see how everyone liked the dish. Then he reveals that it was raw veal.

So, not just raw meat, but raw baby meat. Grrreat.

But at this point, I don't care. I just want my pizza. (although, I'm not the one that has to live with the fact that I just ate raw baby, since I don't eat meat. But, Josh does. And, he's always said he wouldn't eat babies. See what happens when you are a meat eater, Josh? You could be eating babies & not even know it.)

And, my pizza was gooood. The crust was really good. Too bad I can't remember the name of the place, to share it with all of you. Some blogger I am, eh?

After dinner, we get a cab back to the hotel. Of course, actually getting to our room was a huge hassle. It was the four of us, a luggage cart, and two Dutch women trying to get upstairs. In a broken elevator. And there was nobody around to help us. Everyone else thought it was hilarious, except for me, who really has to pee at this point. Also, I'm terrified of getting trapped in an elevator. :/

I'm about to walk up 9 flights of stairs to the room, when finally the other elevator appears. Yay for getting to our hotel room!

It's about 10pm at this point, I think. We were going to go to the casino that was across from the hotel. But, we opened up some wine, and got to talking. Then, time just slipped away from us. Before we knew it, it was 1am, and we were all just ready to crash.

I love this photo of me. It looks like I have a hangover from Hell, but I SWEAR, i was perfectly fine. The pepto is on the table, because I always bring a pharmacy with me whenever I go on a trip. I had taken it out of my bag to make room, and never put it back. It just looks like a hilarious "morning after" shot.

We packed up fairly early (well, 9ish. Poor Linda had been up since 6, waiting on us 3 to wake up), and headed back to Oechsle to pick the up the wine.

I swear we almost bent the axle. ;)

And, on the way back it started raining. Of course.

It was a fun trip, and I'm glad we did it. I don't think I really need to return to Oechsle. However, I did find a place in Bernkastel-Kues that charges €15 euro to try 150 wines. I think that'll be next on our list. ;)


  1. Mary Ellen, aka: MommyMay 8, 2012 at 12:28 AM

    We have to go to Oechsle to try all the wines. OK, not the sweets, not the whites; what does that leave??? Maybe we just go to Italy and get GOOD wine!

  2. Don't forget: puff, puff, pass still applies to e-cigs.