*Press trip with Gourmet Connection and Bad Krozingen*.
Germany has a total of 13 wine-growing regions. Each has its own special flair, its own winemaking traditions, its own scenic landscape, special grape types and idyllic guesthouses where you can visit and have a great original meal. The largest German wine-growing region is Rheinhessen, then the Pfalz and the third largest and the most southern wine-growing region is Baden. A unique wine growing region in Baden is the Markgräflerland. Let me take you on a Wellness, Wine and Gourmet trip Bad Krozingen in the Markgräflerland. Bad Krozingen is located in the three-country corner of Germany, France and Switzerland in the southern Black Forest only 15 km from Freiburg.
THE SUN-SPOILED MARKRAEFLERLAND
The Markgräflerland is known as the most sun-spoiled region in Germany and we also enjoy the warm sun on our press trip. Not only the sun is warm, but also the healing mineral thermal water in Bad Krozingen. We will spend the two days together in Bad Krozingen on several culinary wine walks in the idyllic wine-growing villages, discovering the first-class wines of the regional winegrowers, visiting their wine cellars, and tasting the exquisite wines at a wine dinner and having lunch at a Michelin star Restaurant.
WELCOMING HOSPITALITY AT THE HOTEL EDEN AN DEN THERMEN
Our exploration of the area around Bad Krozingen begins at the Hotel Eden an den Thermen. From now on, my car stays in the parking lot, as we will be on the road by foot for the next few days. As I have to wait a moment for my room, I am surprised with a refreshing cocktail in the hotel’s restaurant. There is a very warm and friendly atmosphere at the Hotel Eden an den Thermen. Nadine and Thomas Huber have been running the hotel for over ten years and are always on standby to help and guide you. The twins Johanna and Annamarie and the Bernese mountain dog Diana will cross my way in the following days. It is a dog-friendly hotel, as dogs and their owners are welcome guests. The family owns one more hotel, the Haus am Park in a direct location at the Kurpark.
I move into my cozy room and am thrilled how lovely and modern it has been designed. A huge balcony is also next to my room. Since it is very hot, they have even placed a fan in my room. I love the fruit basket with a personal welcoming message, which makes my day. I already feel so comfortable in this place. If you are planning a wellness weekend, you can flee from daily life at this hotel. The hotel is in a perfect location directly opposite the Vita Classica Therme and the Kurpark.
PURE WELLNESS IN THE VITA CLASSICA THERMAL SPA
We get-together at the conference room of the Vita Classica Spa World and learn a few things about the Spa from Rolf Rubsamen, Managing Director of Kur- und Bäder GmbH Bad Krozingen. Here I also meet Susanne and Lisa from Gourmet Connection, Isa from Coucoubonheur, Susanne from Lindenthalerin, Yvonne from Frontrow Society, and Cornelia from chefs-magazin. We start right away with a personal tour of the spa. Eight different indoor and outdoor thermal pools, e.g. the dome, mosaic and blue hall are filled with warm healing water, which has a high carbonic acid concentration.
This has a stimulating effect, strengthens well-being, and improves blood circulation. In addition, neck showers, waterfalls, massage jets, and a flow channel also ensure relaxation. In the sauna paradise, which is located on three floors, you can relax in nine saunas and recover from stressful daily life. The Himalaya sauna, the Finnish log cabin, and the panorama sauna are some of the highlights.
BEAUTY AND RELAXATION IN THE WOLFÜHLHAUS
There are plenty of treats at the Wohlfühlhaus, beginning with the Cleopatra bath in aromatic goat’s milk to exotic massages such as the Hawaiian Lomi Lomi Nui massage. The highlights are the exotic private spas in authentic surroundings. Let yourself be treated in the Indian bath, for example, with a rose treatment. Starting with a foot bath in rose foam and then getting the circulation going with foot scrub with rose salt. A pad abhyanga (foot massage) improves well-being and increases your energy level. A pleasant head, shoulder, and arm massage with fragrant rose oil completes the treatment and sets free lots of happy hormones.
After a cleansing and nourishing scrub, you will start sweating in the Japanese Onsen bath. The bath relaxes the muscles, helps to relax, and stimulates blood circulation. After a full body massage, relax in the Japanese sitting area, on the futon, or in the bamboo garden. In the Hamam, the Turkish bath you are soaped and washed on the heated marble stone by a Hamam master in an oriental bath ritual with Kese glove. Oriental music and the scent of rose petals will take you to the Orient. Finally, you will receive a massage with argan oil and a Rhasooul facial mask with rose water. The Turkish bath is my choice.
Or perhaps a Berber massage with argan oil and saffron in the Moroccan bath? The treatment begins with a rose water welcoming ritual and continues with a full body rub with argan oil. Facial scrub with argan oil and saffron threads has a mood-lifting effect and is followed by a facial massage. You’ll also receive a hair mask with argan oil and saffron, and finish with a Berber energy massage to soften and smooth the skin. Which of the treatments would you choose?
SPA EXTENSION OF THE VITA CLASSICA THERME
In Bad Krozingen, they are looking ahead, as by September, among other projects, a new outdoor pool with 140 square meters and an additional indoor pool are to be built. As well as another relaxation room with up to 24 seats and a fireplace lounge. We make a tour of the construction place and find out how an ecological and energy-saving concept is applied. The use of combined heating and generating systems, photovoltaics, solar thermal energy, heat recycling or even heat converters will save CO2 emissions. On the second floor, a yoga studio and a health and general medical clinic will move in. A modern four-star hotel is being built opposite.
WINE EXPERIENCE TRAIL BAD KROZINGEN
Our first wine hike along the Bad Krozingen Wine Experience Trail begins from the spa. There are many hiking or biking tours in the region. We pass orchard meadows, and vineyards and walk up the mellow hills. Along the way, there are info boards all about wine and facts on the region. I like such hiking trails, as they are not only diverse but also provide information. We enjoy the beautiful landscape with the view of the surrounding mountains of the Black Forest. The sun is shining, and a mild breeze is blowing between the fields and brings fortunately a little bit of cooling. Later at the hotel, I hear from a hotel guest that his wife and he have been on a “smart wine hike” and were impressed. For this, they had to have the necessary access to an app and were able to go off on their own.
YOUNG WILD WINEMAKERS
At a very natural and panoramic place in the middle of the vines, we are welcomed by the two young winemakers Michael and Felix from the Demeter winery Scherer & Zimmer. The two met at wine school in Geisenheim and realized their dream of organic and vegan wines in 2010. Being young and wild and not being constricted, they like to experiment with wine. Dynamic, provocative, and with a pretty weird label, they are non-compromising and innovative. Their slogan is “Take everything seriously, except yourself.” They make their wines slimmer and more natural, using methods that are usually only applied on red wine.
The grapes are handpicked and sorted with great care. Mostly they are fermented on the mash in an open barrique in a natural way, where the ” wild yeasts ” from the vineyard act directly while playing with the time. Production takes place in the converted old Pig Barn of Felix’s parents. The wine is then rested for up to 14 months in a used barrique and is then bottled by hand without filtration to age for another year on the bottle. They also allow whole grapes to ferment naturally in a tank filled with CO2. Since this is not typical, they are not allowed to print the Baden origin on their label, instead, it now appears as Badischer Landwein on their labels. Very encouraging wines with different characters have been created, some of them we are privileged to taste.
TASTING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE VINES
Well and nobly the wine tasting starts, as the Gutedel is a typical wine from the Markgräfler Region. The white grape type is one of the oldest grape sorts ever and one does not agree whether they were first cultivated by the ancient Egyptians or in the Jordan Valley. You should know, that I am not a sommelier and I am only sharing my personal opinion in this post. The Gutedel “Trocken” from the two young winemakers tastes light with a slight tartness and has a soft nutty flavor. In comparison, there is another Gutedel. Michael pours a lightly cloudy straw yellow into my glass. The Gutedel “KB” has only 11% alcohol, is both dry and spicy on the tongue, and has a slightly yeasty touch.
Fortunately, there is a delicious asparagus salad and a tasty cheese platter. I need that now urgently before it goes on with the Sauvignon Blanc, which is one of my favorite wines, as you know. I hold my nose in the glass and enjoy the decent fruity aroma of Sauvignon Blanc “KB”. The taste is powerful, yet very youthful and with texture. Before switching to the red wine, we taste the Weiss, a cüveé of Müller-Thurgau and Weissburgunder. The two wines are first vinified on their own, later joined in stainless steel tanks, then bottled unfiltered and without the added sulfur. Finally, we finish with the facetted red Pinot Noir. A clear, fresh aroma of red berries, with a hint of cherry as well as floral and nutty aromas. In addition to wine, the two wild winemakers also produce native unfiltered oils from sunflower seeds and hemp seeds.
WALK THROUGH THE KURPARK BAD KROZINGEN
We make our way back to the hotel to freshen up a bit. Then we continue via the Kurpark of Bad Krozingen to the nearby village of Biengen, where we visit the restaurant Krone. I am quite amazed by the beautiful Kurpark, which is landscaped in English garden style. With its 40 hectares, the Kurpark is the green lung of the town and invites spa guests to take a stroll regardless of the weather. We walk along the small river Neumagen, which flows through the middle of the park, providing fresh air in the heat.
Here you can enjoy the scent of the fragrant herb gardens in spring, the blooming of the Rose Gardens in summer, and the colorful Dahlia Garden in autumn. On the Übungsgolfanlage by the lake, you can practice different golf swings. Or just try to hole the golf ball with fewer and less hits on the mini-golf course. At disc golf you can throw Frisbee discs into the fixed baskets, which are spread all over the Kurpark. There are also many events held here throughout the year, you can find out more about them here.
WINE DINNER AT GASTHAUS KRONE IN BIENGEN
We walk along fields, meadows, and vineyards until we reach the town of Biengen. Once we are in the center of town, we are in front of the picturesque Gasthaus Krone Biengen. The Gasthaus is very inviting with its blue shutters, the blue sign decorated with a golden crown, and Mediterranean plants directly in front of the house. Since almost 5 years Tilman Sartorius, who was trained by the Star Chef Sascha Weiss in Freiburg, runs the Gasthaus together with his wife Marie-Luise Wagner.
Our table is already set in the cozy open barn with uncovered wood beams. The romantic courtyard is cobbled throughout. Imposing potted plants with olive trees and oleanders form a green Mediterranean oasis. Wild grapevine grows along the wall, climbing plants cover the romantic garden like green garlands. Well, this is a romantic place to relax and enjoy good food!
A FOUR-COURSE MENU WITH WINE TASKING
We enjoy a wine dinner framed by a fantastic 4-course menu – powered by Martin Waßmer Winery & Gasthaus Krone Biengen. Sabrina Waßmer, for whom the love of wine was handed down from her father Martin, welcomes us with a refreshing and very creamy Pinot Rosé Brut with a fine perlage. The Pinot is hand riddled and produced according to the champagne method. What a noble start. It continues with swirling glasses, sticking in the nose, and drinking. Sabrina serves the noble wine, which she presents in her very special and charming way.
*Variation of radish and pea with papadam and pickled salmon*.
accompanied by a crystal clear and juicy 2021 Weisser Burgunder. Fresh with pome fruit aroma.
And the 2021 Markgräflerland Sauvignon Blanc, a bright light yellow wine. Incredibly fresh and vibrant.
*homemade pasta with mushrooms and parmesan chips*.
In the glass a bright medium yellow 2020 Schlatter Maltesergarten Weisser Burgunder >SW< , this tastes excellent. With light citrus notes and fine aromas of barrique.
In addition, in the glass a light golden yellow 2020 Markgräferland Chardonnay >SW<. On the palate tight and vital at the same time. With fine herbal and roasted notes and a delicate creamy melt. Delicious!
*Pink roasted veal with bean vegetables and gnocchi*.
2019 Bad Krozinger Steingrüble Pinot Noir, silky, very complex, and elegant. Mild tannins and long-lasting finish.
The bright brick red 2019 Dottinger Castellberg Pinot Noir GC from the best steep slope sparkles in the glass, some of the vines are up to 40 years old. A mineral with grand melt-in-the-mouth and silky elegance. A great and richly deep wine.
*Chocolate tower and forest fruit sorbet with cherry surrounding*.
In the glass straw yellow 2020 Markgräflerland Muskateller Kabinett with natural sweetness. On the palate fruit and rose scent. Very pleasant and light.
A VISIT AT THE MARTIN WAßMER WINERY
The next morning, after a short hike, we reach one of the most famous German wineries, the winery of “Red Wine Pope” Martin Waßmer. His children Marvin and Sabrina are integrated into the family business. The winery focuses on their Burgundy wines, especially Pinot Noir (Pinot Noir), Pinot Blanc (Pinot Blanc), Pinot Gris (Pinot Gris), Chardonnay, but also Sauvignon Blanc and Gutedel (Chasselas). The winery’s product selection consists of estate wines, selection wines (SW stands for Selektion Waßmer) and the exquisite hillside wines known as “GC”. The wines are highly decorated and have been awarded four grapes by Gault & Millau for several times.
GUIDED TOUR OF THE WINE CELLAR
The multiple award-winning winemaker takes us on a tour of his cellar. We are invited to take a look behind the scenes, followed by a wine tasting. I can highly recommend a guided tour through the wine cellar. It goes down by elevator into the truly impressive barrique cellar. The large barrique barrels of the best coopers, purchased from Burgundy, are lined up along the meters in which the noble wine is stored. We learn a lot about the growing of the vines and the development in the cellar. The family focuses on the natural farming of the vineyards, on time-consuming hand harvesting, all this is worth it and they press exceptional top-quality wines.
The location of the vineyard is very important in this process. The grapes are processed in slow maceration after spontaneous fermentation. The wines mature on their yeasts from the vineyard for up to 18 months in barrique and are bottled without filtration when possible. The young, fresh estate wines, on the other hand, mature on the fine yeast in steel tanks. In the sparkling wine cellar of the house, the bottle-fermented vintner’s sparkling wine is carefully riddled by hand according to the champagne method and can therefore easily be compared with exquisite champagne.
WINE TASTING AT THE VINOTHEK OF MARTIN WAßMER
In the Vinothek, we taste more fine wines that bear the signature of Martin Waßmer. It starts with the 2021 Gray Burgundy in a particularly thin wine glass, the wine comes from slopes with chalky soils. One of the warmest family sites is Letten Auggen, which produces special gray Burgundy. In the glass it shines bright golden yellow, on the mouth, it surprises with an elegant fullness, very balanced and fresh. The 2021 Markgräferland Sauvignon Blanc shines in the glass in a bright yellow with green reflections. On the palate, it is clear and delicate. The finish contains fresh herbs and slightly sweet apple fruit and elegant acidity.
It follows with a 2019 Dottinger Castellberg Chardonnay GC, which Falstaff awarded 95 points. An excellent clear and juicy white wine with thickness and depth. The finish is powerful with some creaminess and finesse. Now we are privileged to taste the Pinot Rittliberg, a limited edition from Sabrina Waßmer from a small site on the Castellberg. The color is strong red, the taste on the palate silky fruity with smoke aromas. A fascinating wine. Am looking forward to taste more wine from Sabrina. Not only the wines have excellent taste, but everything here is very tastefully decorated.
WINERY FRITZ WAßMER
We then visit the winery of his brother Fritz Waßmer, which is only about a 15-minute walk away. Fritz Waßmer also grows the dominating sort of Pinot Noir very successfully in the idyllic hilly landscape of Markgräflerland, Kaiserstuhl, and Breisgau. His slogan is: “As little as possible, as much as necessary”, and he is supported in his work by his daughter Lisa and son Felix. He was particularly influenced by his time at the legendary Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, which grows the most expensive and best wines in the world. He is as passionate about growing and aging Frühburgunder, Weisser and Grauer Burgunder, Chardonnay and Auxerrois. Some vineyard sites are dedicated to Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and the very rare Viognier, a great grape that has almost disappeared.
WINE-TASTING IN VINOTHEK FRITZ WAßMER
In the modern, light-filled vinotheque in the former barn, we are invited to taste the fine wines from top picks. It is really elegant here, clearly structured design, a long counter, and on the wall an artwork made of empty wine bottles. With its fireplace, it’s sure a cozy place to be in winter. A place where you like to stay and chill out a bit. Thanks to the thick walls, the heat stays outside now in summer. We taste the noble wines and all our questions are answered passionately.
We are welcomed with a Pinot Rosé brut nature at the entrance. The sparkling wine is creamy and a joy to drink with a long-lasting perlage. We are seated at the large table, which is already set with plenty of glasses. Then we start with the white wines, first with a 2021 Auxerrois QbA. The wine that bears this designation stands for high quality and the abbreviation, QbA stands for quality wine of specific regions. The Auxerrois has a clear fragrance and fine astringent apple aromas develop on the palate.
Next, we taste the full-bodied 2020 Chardonnay QbA. Creamy-elegant, spicy and fruity on the palate. Very nice, balanced 2021 Sauvignon blanc QbA is served. Full and long, fresh and firm on the palate. In comparison, we have the premium wine 2018 Sauvignon Blanc Réserve. On the palate with citrus and passion fruit, herbs, creamy with a long finish. White wine from the very top sites with red rock is the 2019 Roter Berg Chardonnay, Kenzingen. Fresh mirabelle plum and citrus on the palate. A truly unique white wine. The prime location of Roter Berg, iron ore was mined in the past. Soil here is therefore red and iron-rich with shells and red chalky sandstone. The Pinot Noirs from this region benefit from this and are particularly elegant, spicy, and classy.
The 2018 Pinot Noir Réserve has a beautiful dark color, lots of spice and plenty of power. On the palate cherry and blackberry with cocoa. Nice fine tannins and youthful. 2017 Pinot Noir “Alte Reben” on the palate red fruit with tannins. Intense and a nice long finish. Unfortunately, since we are behind schedule and the Storchen Restaurant team is already waiting for us, we cannot taste the 2015 Pinot Noir “CCL”.
THE SITES OF THE FRITZ WAßMER WINERY
Some of his top wines come from the Sommerhalde Bombach on the southern slope. Here, the Pinot grapes ripen slowly as they enjoy strong sunlight during the day and are exposed to the cold air streams from the Black Forest during the night. These temperature differences help the top wines to develop. Other elegant and powerful top wines are produced on the Kaiserberg Herbolzheim, the vines here stand with warm feet in the soil and benefit from the cooling breezes of the Rhine valley. At Schlossberg Staufen, the vines stand on the south and southwest slopes in shell chalky soil and yellow slate, producing very powerful fresh wines. In the Kaiserstuhl at Schlossberg Achkarren, the vines grow on a former volcano. The Pinot Gris and Syrah wines are therefore full of minerals with a touch of smokiness.
A STAR SHINES IN STORK SCHMIDHOFEN
For lunch, we visit the idyllic village of Schmidhofen nearby Bad Krozingen. In the cozy garden of the Michelin-starred Restaurant and Hotel Storchen, Fritz and his son Jochen Helfesrieder are already waiting for us. Our table under the shady pergola on the romantic garden terrace is already beautifully set for us. The water softly ripples in the water-lily pond, in the glass bubbles the Chardonnay Sekt Brut Nature a premium sparkling wine from Auxerrois and Weißer Burgunder, which was developed according to the “Methode Traditionelle”. The charming wine accompaniment from the Fritz Waßmer winery is moderated by Fritz Waßmer himself.
We enjoy a light dreamy four-course menu at its best, modern, with local products and international touch, fancy and innovative – but reduced to the essentials. I would have loved to look over the shoulder of the star chef, but at least we are allowed to take a look into the kitchen after the exquisite menu. At this point, I would also like to congratulate you on the 45th anniversary.
DER GROSSE STORCH
*Home Baked Bread Lard & Herbed Cottage Cheese*.
*Summer vegetables from Michel Kleinsthof in Tunsel – Essence. Herb mousse. Ponzu vinaigrette*.
In the glass is a 2021 Weißer Burgunder QbA with fresh apple aromas and a nutty finish. A wine with finesse and minerality.
*Kaiser lobster confit in herb oil. Couscous. Cauliflower. Apricot. Pine nuts*
2019 Viognier bright straw yellow in the glass with green highlights. On the palate a touch of spices and lemon.
*Leg of summer roe deer from local hunting. Celery puree. Fresh chanterelles. Savoy cabbage*.
In the glass 2016 Pinot Noir XXL with fruity wild berry aromas and toasty from the barrique. Massive, powerful and very elegant.
& 2016 Roter Berg Kenzingen Spätburgunder on the palate full-bodied and light, with fine tannins. With red berry and spice flavors. Very high quality wine.
*Badish cherry. Baked cherry pastry. Filled. Cherry brandy ice cream*.
In the glass 2021 “Erlkönig” Breisgau Rosé fine fruit aromas and lots of freshness. A lovely rosé.
We all leave the restaurant with very satisfied smiles on our faces. If you are also looking for something special, then I can recommend a trip to Bad Krozingen near Freiburg im Breisgau. At this point, many thanks for the invitation and also a thank you to the passionate and lovely hosts for the view into your exquisite wine and cooking world. It was a real feast for the palate, an experience for all my senses and one of the best culinary experiences I was allowed to participate in. In any case, you have totally inspired me.