Woodcuts, wines & cheese

As most of you know wine is but one of my mistresses, another is woodcuts and copper engravings from the 15-18th century AD – particularly maps and sceneries of human activities. On occasion these two interests coincide as in this fantastic hand coloured woodcut from the german edition (1544-1628) Sebastian Munster’s epic encyclopedic work, Cosmographia Universalis. The woodcut shows the german city Koblenz and is from ca 1592, it also shows where the Mosel and the Rhein rivers flow together. The name Koblenz derives from the Latin word confluentes that means confluence and refers to the merge of the rivers.

There is much information to be found in the picture and the text. In the image one can see fields with something that I interpret as vines, though there is nothing in the text concerning the agriculture. In any case this got my heart and my imagination spinning – making me open a bottle of Riesling dreaming my self back to 16th century and to Riesling land.

Sebastian Münster (1488-1552) was born in Ingelheim, Germany but lived for the latter part of his life in Basel, Switzerland. The Cosmographia containing more than 500 woodcut pages and was published in 46 editions, in 4 languages. He died of the plague.

Koblenz is a city that dates back to a roman military outpost from ca 9 BC in Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany, today it’s the northern outpost of the Mosel valley but with one foot in Rhine valley. Hopefully we’ll visit Koblenz as we go to Germany this summer.

Not having a Mosel or Rhine riesling avilable I instead tried a Pfalz riesling from the winery Reichsrat von Buhl; 2009 Paradiesgarten Deidesheim Riesling Grosses Gewächs. It’s a sample from the wine-company.se.

In the nose are fresh green apples, a little pear and exotic fruits mixed with some stone and minerals in the background. Lush!

The taste is classic dry riesling, elegant, fresch with a concentrated acidityand fresh fruits; lemon, sweet apples and pears and then som peach in the background. It also has a nice distinct minerallity with just a hint of spice in end. This great now and will probaly be as great with some yeras in the cellar, it mainly depends on how you want your Rieslings. Fresh elegant – lovely🙂

Another nice hand coloured woodcut is this view of Appenzell by Johann Stumpf (1500-1578) from ca 1548-49 from Gemeiner loblicher Eydgnoschafft Stetten, Landen und Voelckeren Chronick wirdiger thaaten Beschreybung (in total 934 folio).

Appenzell is the capital of the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden in Switzerland. I haven’t visited Appenzell but know the name through the cheese Appenzeller, a hard cow’s-milk cheese produced in this region. This is one my favourite cheese, among many🙂. This picture is about 500 years old but the history of the Appenzeller cheese is at least 200 years older, in other words Stumpf might also have had enjoyed a nice piece while making this. There are three types of the cheese; Classic – aged three to four months, Surchoix – aged four to six months and Extra – aged six months or longer.

Magnus Reuterdahl


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