Taste the Sweet Nectar Bush

Trip Start Apr 01, 1979
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Germany  ,
Thursday, December 22, 2005

The man's name was Juergen A. Butt (incidentally, my traveling companion [MTC] and I disagree about the spelling of said man's last name. I say, B-U-T-T, she says, B-O-O-T. Since this is my travelpod, though, we'll stick with my spelling, won't we?). He was no taller than 5'6", with salt and pepper hair, a thick mustache, and a crinkled old smile that seemed to reach out to us rough American travelers. We found Herr Butt in a little town called Weinsberg, a place full of magic, that almost passed us by. Join me on this tale of adventure and woe...

It was the random day for us in Germany. The idea was to drive until we got lost, then just drive some more. Stopping whenever something looked interesting, we just kind of rode through 15 or so small German villages. Weinsberg, which caught my eye after a stop at the circus in Heilbronn (we didn't actually go to the circus rather we stopped, parked, looked at the big tent, took a picture and went back to the car), was probably going to be the last destination for us one way or the other. It was cold and dark and only 430 or so. Germany was already beginning to close shop for the evening. Being that it was dark, and certainly since I don't speak a word of German, I didn't see the little sign that said wine tasting, but MTC, ever vigilant, noticed and implored me to turn around. When we went back, I took a little path through a small wooded area behind a large barn-like structure and came out in front of a glass fašade to a sparse building that reminded us of the renovated house from the movie Beetlejuice. (You know, after the dead Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis return and see the place all weirded out and sort of post-modern art-like.)

Anyway, so in we went, staring at wines on the racks in perfect order. We chatted about this or that red or white, talked about the sweetness of German Rieslings and wondered what this country really had to offer in the way of wine. We also noticed a very special bottle that had a drawing of a snow boarder on its label. The bottle was called Looping, and boasted that it was a wine cocktail. Hardly boastful in my opinion, but I digress. And speaking of pretentious things that come out of my mouth (just like that pretentious like that I just wrote), I had a funny little idea for tasting my first bottle. I'm an honest guy, and I'm never shy about telling my true opinion. I thought it would be terribly funny if the first sip of wine they poured for me, at this particular winery or any other for that matter, I took a little taste and then violently spit it out, spraying everything and everyone in sight. Then I would call out, "Ugh, this is terrible! How dare you?!" Then I would toss the remaining wine in the face of the pourer. Sound good? Maybe not. But damn would it be funny...

So anyway, we finally attract the attention of a nice young lady who worked at said location. She sputtered something off in German, to which I replied in English (redundant for me to say in English I guess since there really was no other option unless I decided to randomly speak French), "Yeah, we want to taste some wines." The lady looked frightened. She yelled out, "Juergen!" and pointed in the direction of the little man off to her left. And there friends was the start of something amazing, a magical moment in time that manifested itself from nothing, but became something extraordinary. I love Juergen A. Butt. I hate Juergen A. Butt. I hope the feeling is mutual.

So we tasted some wines, anyway, and some were really good. Of course pretentious old me decided to declare my pretentiousness once more. Juergen asked, "are you here on vacation?" I replied, "no I live here, in Sankt Leon." He gasped, "really, how long have you lived in Germany?" "10 days." "On vacation?" "I guess you could say that." Incomprehensible? Yes, well it was even to me as I said it. Why my brain went off in that direction matters not, and if we truly want to explore my brain, well, more space is required than this little pod.

In the end, MTC and I settled on two wines we liked, both modestly priced (of course Juergen only showed us the modestly priced wines. He must have judged that we were rich and therefore frugal about spending our money, therefore we would only want modestly priced [(read cheap] things... like the clothes we were wearing for example.) Just as we were finishing up, I asked to try that magical cocktail called Looping. He obliged, saying it was a bit sweeter and not for everybody. I took a taste and proclaimed, "absolutely dreadful." MTC gave me a scolding look, but I held strong. "Oh this is soooo bad though. Positively gross!" Juergen looked put out, but alas he sold us our two bottles anyway.

As we were leaving, the store was closing down for the evening. Juergen was showing us out and of course I asked him to snap the obligatory photo, encouraging him to get the place in the background (he takes good photos, fyi). As he showed us out the side entrance we chatted a bit more. Suddenly, out of the blue, he posed the question, "do you want to see the winery?" We said of course. He said okay and started to lead us into the adjoining building. Apparently this little town of Weinsberg is host to a German wine making university of sorts, and they produce much of the regional wine in that facility (none of which is exported abroad by the way). Anyway, long story short, we got the backstage pass to this place with Juergie leading the way. And let me tell you something, it was awesome!

(An aside on our hero, Herr Butt. I love this guy, surely, but he has his flaws. Not in character because that is top notch, but apparently this guy tends to fool around with the wine a bit more than the average wine seller. Case in point: every time we tasted a wine, J. poured himself a glass and killed it quick. If he's doing this all day, he must be absolutely trashed by the time work ends, and it showed a bit. Plus, his breath, probably caused by teeth rotted out from massive wine consumption, stank like complete ass. He also had a strange ability to accumulate gallons of spittle in the corners of his mouth, firing them out into the world as if sprung from a gatlin gun. Since I pretty much towered above him, I was mostly immune, but MTC's hair was fully soaked by the end of the tour. And good gravy did she inhale some noxious fumes from that stanky ass air that floated out of his lungs. Anyway, great guy though.)

After such excitement, I guess we couldn't be blamed for returning home afterwards. The wine, again it was really good, was consumed on Christmas Eve. Anyway, it was a good, random day. And Juergen A. Butt (friend, wine seller, Renaissance Man) will go down on my list of people I'll always remember, having met only once.

Until next time...
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