Monday, January 28, 2013

a visit to the Karthäuserhof ~

so perhaps it is exactly because webloggery is so-o-o-o 2008 that I am going to revive this one, which I have sorely neglected for the past eighteen+ months—
also, the Schindlers have put me on a very long leash with the Winemonger Imports weblog—this has not gone unappreciated—and I have gotten a great deal of pleasure writing about the wines I sell on their behalf. So although I do enjoy communicating via FB & Tw...
let us therefore call it a Groundhog’s Day resolution—a favourite holiday of mine—when every year I ask myself if I’ve seen my Shadow: the answer, Dr Jung, always seems to be—yes, rather; on many occasions...

and so: a quick look at the bottle up in the corner. Known to all, the pride of the Ruwer, the longest name on the shortest label, Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg. Was just reading the daily, and it seems that Mr Tyrell has sold the place—to a family member resident on this side of the Atlantic—although the long-time principal is not going anyplace any time soon.

I owe a great deal to Christoph Tyrell. And not just because of the wines I’ve always enjoyed, everything from bright and lively Kabinett to the dramatic Auslese trocken. I first met him one day on a solo visit to Germany in the early nineties. He was one of several German growers who, upon learning of my interest in their language—others include Wilhelm Haag and Rainer Lingenfelder—have barely spoken a word of English to me since, which in the early nineties was a sink-or-swim proposition... I remember his patient elucidation of the way their language generates new material, speaking about hailstone damage. ‘Hagelschade,’ he intoned. ‘Hagel, Schade—von dem Hagel kommt der Schade...’

but the best thing Tyrell did for me was to persuade me to reschedule all of my appointments I’d made for the next day, and drive down to Tübingen—a university town way to Hell and gone away from Eitelsbach, 25 miles down the far side of Stuttgart in Schwabenland—and he was very emphatic, in the sense of ‘Do not fail to do this!’ Christoph had just returned from an exhibition of paintings by Paul Cézanne in the Kunsthalle in Tübingen, the most comprehensive exhibit for decades, and made very clear that it had been a rare and extraordinarily rewarding experience. So I took his advice, got on the phone and begged the necessary pardons, and early next morning headed south down the A61.

I had known of Cézanne for years, seen many of the paintings, but I was totally unprepared for the effect that such a widely-ranging collection would have upon the way I looked at visual art—and I have always felt fortunate to have been born in my favourite period of Art History: the first time I walked into the Hirschhorn Museum at nineteen years of age and saw the violent canvases of Willem de Kooning, along with many equally distinctive by Motherwell and Rothko, I had felt right at home. So I had always, fortunately, seen things from a flexible perspective. Perspective: there’s the word, and Cézanne was the innovator.

and it took me a while, but what finally got me farther back than Matisse and Monet was the visit with Christoph Tyrell, and his gentle insistence that I take a day off from wine-tasting. My appreciation of all visual art has ever since been richly informed by a more thorough acquaintance with the works of Paul Cézanne.

here is Der Spiegel’s writeup of the exhibit at the Tübingen Kunsthalle in 1993: