Pfalz Impressions

The 2004 wines turned out remarkable and well worth long aging, especially the sweeter, later-harvest Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese wines, which are off the charts qualitywise.

"2004 was a very good year in Germany for Riesling and Pinot varietals alike," concludes prominent importer Rudi Wiest. "For those of you who felt 2003 was 'über ripe,' rest assured 2004 will refresh your palate with the whip-cracking acid structure and fruit stuffing you desire. Put side by side, it's clear 2003 is the velvet-gloved heavyweight, while 2004 is exceptionally athletic in form, bright, and full of vim and vigor."

A fair number of the finest 2004 vintages are now in shops, and there may still be some of the important 2003 white wine releases available in small quantities. If you want to bring Wurstmarkt into your home, here are some Pfalz wines worth the search.



The Train Thang

American Airlines offers one flight daily to Frankfurt from both Chicago and Dallas/Fort Worth. And because American codeshares on the German high-speed rail service, you can book your combination air/train ticket directly to Mannheim. It takes about an hour to get from Frankfurt to Mannheim, and trains operate approximately every half hour.

There is a special timetable between Mannheim and Bad Dürkheim during the Wurstmarkt period, with trains running up to every 15 minutes around the clock. Because RHB (Rhein-Haardtbahn) is a private rail line, tickets between Mannheim and Bad Dürkheim cannot be purchased ahead of time in the U.S., but they cost approximately $5 or less one-way.

For more information about American's codeshare service to Mannheim, call (800) 433-7300 or visit www.aa.com