Thanks to appointment in the brotherhoods of “La Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin” and “Ordre de coteaux de Champagne “, today's wine list has been refined with international classics and promising niche products. Why not ask our sommeliers for advice, enjoy with friends or withdraw to the fireplace with a precious glass…
The range of wines available in Lech/Oberlech during the sixties was unsophisticated; almost modest… there were two litre bottles of Platteensee or Southern Tyrolean Edelvernatsch … just the local classics. As Guy Ortlieb recalls: “The first bottled wines that we ordered in those days were from Wachau and came with resonating names like Dürnsteiner Flohhaxen, Gumpoldskirchner, or, as red wine, a Blauer Portugieser. Anybody wanting something special asked for the communion wine, because if the priest liked it, it had
to be good.
But this was all too simplistic for me. The cuisine was developing marvellously well and the best accompaniment to a good meal was and is a fine wine. The wine suppliers in the region were not capable of delivering the desired quality and variety, so I was left to my own devices and set about handling the imports myself. The first thing I needed was an import licence, and thus began the arduous task of convincing the Ministry of Agriculture. I constantly had to send sample bottles there for testing. Apparently the wine inspectors seemed to like the taste of the wine more and more and the procedure became easier and shorter from year to year.
The Alsatian wines which were “privately” transported at the time – from the family vineyard – either by us or by friends and relatives to Oberlech, could now be “officially“ imported. Riesling, Sylvaner, or Gewürztraminer for goose liver, our favourite Pinot Blanc and the classic Crémant d´Alsace were now available in sufficient quantities. And yes, we need a fair amount,“ the wine expert says with a smile.
“My membership of the Alsatian wine brotherhood St. Etienne, the Burgundy Brotherhood, “Confrerie du tastevin” as well as the Champagne Brotherhood helped me greatly, even then, in being able to find space on our wine list for rare wines from all the regions. Because we have always based our wines on a fair and honest calculation, we find that many of our guests are wine lovers, connoisseurs and experts. Our wine cellar grew from year to year, and this in turn made the wine list more extensive and more international. The Montana wine list differs greatly from that of our competitors.”
Guy Ortlieb has a very persuasive answer to the question of why this is, “Naturally, we have some famous names and wine estates on our list. Nevertheless, I still see it as my mission to discover niche products, to taste them myself and then to enthusiastically recommend them to our guests. And both the joint tasting sessions and the sale of our wine are testament to my judgement. This is why I also do not believe that a wine list has to have over 500 products. 200 are sufficient and these should be laid down correctly; individual vintages may be and indeed must be drunk, and the thrill of looking forward to the next bottle in the coming winter must prevail.” In the meantime my esteemed daughter-in-law Kathrin and my son Patrick have also discovered a passion for wine. They are currently learning hard for their sommelier exam! That pleases me especially.
And afterwards? “Cognac, Armagnac, eau de vie and many other exquisite spirits from all over the world continue to vie with our own noble brandies on our “service trolley” says the expert.