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Wine and Food

Alexander van Dülmen

“P”, Guccione

“P”, Azienda Agricola Guccione, Perricone, Red-wine from Italy

5,5 points

Uh, this one is sour. Really sour. This is, frankly speaking, the first reaction upon tasting this wine. But you could probably also just call it: “I wasn’t expecting that.’

“P” by Francesco Guccione is an extraordinary, if not an unusual, wine. Not a wine for beginners, as I provoked on Instagram when I posted a photo of the label. P stands for the Perricone grape variety, also known as Pignatello, which, as far as I know, only grows in Sicily. Find out more about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perricone.

The wines of Francesco Guccione are perhaps the most radical organic wines from Sicily, where you can find some “world-famous” organic wine producers, such as Occhipinti and COS. Everyone who read my last post about COS (Zibibbio in Pithos, COS, 2016), knows about my friendly acquaintance Joanna. When we spent a very nice evening in the wonderful garden of Bar Sabadi at Modica, she introduced me to Francesco Guccione’s Trebbiano, which is truly wonderful – such a fantastic wine. Because of this, I decided to order two or three bottles of each of his wines, and I tasted “P” in recent days.

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Fresco, Restaurant & Pizzeria, Naples

Fresco, Restaurant & Pizzeria, Naples, Italy

2.5 points

The very beautiful receptionist Valentina at the highly recommended Hotel Excelsior advised us to have dinner at a place close by called Fresco — saying that there was not only excellent pizza, but also many other good things. Asked if she would go there with her family, she said yes. Our experience there ended up being rather disappointing, unfortunately, and maybe Valentina has not been there for a long time or maybe she has no family – who knows.

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Le’Shuk, Restaurant, Tel-Aviv

Le’Shuk, Restaurant, Tel-Aviv, Israel

7,5 points

What a wonderfully atmospheric restaurant! It has been a long time since I’ve had such a pleasurable evening sitting somewhere, just observing the action and enjoying excellent food. What an experience! Located on Dizengoff Square in the heart of Tel-Aviv, the seating area is almost entirely outside and under awnings; the interior consists of a bar, a few tables, and the half-open kitchen. Ethnic music fuels the mood, which is characterized by a pleasant rush, a desire to eat, and the joy of entertaining conversation. Although it is a little bit chauvinistic to mention, I might add that my waitress was quite an unusual natural beauty, these friendly glimmers of her face should warm every heart and turn it into dreamy dreams.

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Amass, Restaurant, Copenhagen

Amass, Restaurant, Copenhagen, Denmark

7 points

How many times have I heard that Copenhagen is the culinary capital of Europe? Not Paris. Not Rome. Not Berlin. I still can’t really say because, in Copenhagen for the first time, I relied on a tip from Billy Wagner. His tips are as reliable as ever but you should be careful to have enough money with you — eating out in Copenhagen is not exactly cheap. And truly, there is one 3-star Michelin restaurant, six 2-star Michelin ones and even 12 (!) with one star. Next to the most famous and obviously one of the best restaurants in the world, based on a questionable ranking by San Pellegrino, Geranium (place 19), which is the 3-star restaurant, are there any good alternatives? Apart from the fact that I do not like to pre-reserve months in advance, since food always has something to do with mood and desire – I mean, imagine your mother dies and you have been waiting for months for your reservation at Noma, the other world famous restaurant in Copenhagen (which is closed anyhow for some months). What do you do then?

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Brawn, Restaurant, London

Brawn, Restaurant, London, England

6 points

London is probably one of those cities almost everyone has been to or still plans to get to at some point. As the capital of the United Kingdom, it is, on one hand, a very international and cosmopolitan city, while on the other hand, it is also the capital of England with strongly English roots– when London was a labor and workers’ town and not only the financial and international hotspot it is today. Right in the center, we mostly know the architecture of such rich, elegant and very wealthy areas as Belgravia – which are very beautiful, without a doubt. Fortunately, areas or districts are constantly developing into new centers of life, areas which were frowned upon twenty or ten years ago as neighborhoods of socially disadvantaged people or as areas in which it was simply unpleasant because of their lagging behind in the overall economic growth or development of the city.

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Jägerklause, Berlin

Jägerklause, Biergarten and Pub, Berlin, Germany

very bad

If you are good-looking and wearing a white shirt and you go to a beer garden with a wonderful female director in Berlin Friedrichshain, do not go into Jägerklausel.

If, however you want to meet frustrated pseudo-left arnachos whose latest self-discovery is a full-body tattoo and a whole toolbox of piercings in their face to distract from their fake, bad skin in her face or between her chin and dropping bosoms and who consider everyone useless except for themselves,

so, basically, if you want to experience embarrassing characters who serve lukewarm Löwenbräu and sell a lousy piece of meat as pork steak, who make fun of women, because they are stupid and don’t know that Berliner Pils is bitter and Heineken, the worst beer in the world, is sweet,

if you want to experience a Nazi war dog accompanied by an alleged anti-fascist puffing,

if you want to experience the escalation of Berlin BVG rudeness, if you want to observe seehoferische self-gloriousness in black hooded sweaters,

Then this is your place!

A self-proclaimed scenster place, but very embarrassing in real life. This is not a beer garden. Neither is it an animal garden, because zoo keepers treat their animals better than the egocentric Stalinist clique of the Jägerklausel treats their guests.

This is the most fucked-up place I have visited in Berlin in a very, very long!

Cuvée Hautes Terres, 2011, Chateau Fourcas Dupré

Cuvée Hautes Terres, 2011, Chateau Fourcas Dupré, Listrac Médoc, Bordeaux, red wine from France

2 points

It is perhaps easier to write about something beautiful, good, and tasty — because when you write about something ugly, bad, and inedible, you can be driven by anger. Anger in turn is not a good guide and of course not good for the nerves. Often you cannot change it anyway, because usually the cause of annoyance or anger is in the past. However, fuck it! Yesterday I was angry and before others do too, this short text may at least be a well-intentioned warning.

Last night I opened a Cuvée Hautes Terres 2011 of Cháteau Froureas Durpé. Not a special or well-known wine from Bordeaux. No idea, frankly, where I got this bottle from.

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Zibibbio in Pithos, COS, 2016

Zibibbio in Pithos, COS, 2016, white wine from Italy

7,5 points

Until now I have not written about COS, although I am a big fan of this winery. Not only because of the great wines of Azienda Agricola Cos, but also due to the presence of Joanna Dubrawska, who for many years was not only responsible for marketing and sales for COS but could also introduce wines in a very special way. She left COS a few months ago and is now working somewhere in France. Behind the winery are actually three founders, C. O. S. is a reference to their surnames.

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Seehaus, Inn, Fichtelberg

Seehaus, Inn, Fichtelberg, Germany

5 points

I am thankful that Elisabeth Burghardt (former Bartel) once again accepted my invitation to post another review on my blog (here first one is here: Panama, Restaurant, Berlin )

The Fichtelgebirge (Fichtel Mountains) is a fairly well known region in northern Bavaria, close to the Czech border. It’s an idyllic and remote area with breathtakingly beautiful woods where you walk on soft terrain, surrounded by nothing but the twittering of birds, the gurgling of a small stream and crisp fresh air. It’s a region that was once known for its mining industry (basalt, marble but also gold, tin and iron). Its massive granite rocks once left a deep impression on no less than Johann-Wolfgang von Goethe and even inspired him to an essay about the prehistoric rock (see quote below).

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Móra, Klinec, 2009

Móra, Klinec, Medana 1. Classe, 2009,  red wine from Slovenia

6,5 points

Here is a review about another wine from one of my favorite wine regions in Europe: Goriška Brda. In this rather small area, some of the most ambitious winemakers produce unique organic wines — recently I read someone calling this area the epicenter of organic wine-making. This description rings true. In addition to organic wine-making, many of the wineries also produce so-called orange wine.

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Jägerheim Ützdorf – Hotel & Restaurant Liepnitzsee, Ützdorf

Jägerheim Ützdorf – Hotel & Restaurant Liepnitzsee, Ützdorf, Germany

3,5 points

Berlin is surrounded by a region called Brandenburg. I wrote about it once already, please see this post: Philippsthal, Restaurant, Philippsthal. Brandenburg boasts beautiful nature but from a culinary perspective, it is somewhat barren. Because of the beauty of the land, it is certainly worth leaving Berlin once in a while to enjoy pure nature.

After a recent walk around the Liepnitzsee (a lake to the north of Berlin) I passed an inn with a very simply but plausible name: Hotel & Restaurant Liepnitzsee.

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Indian Accent, London

Indian Accent, Restaurant, London, United Kingdom

7 points

Given the lack of alternatives, some time ago I had dinner at a Mexican restaurant called Casa Enrique (Casa Enrique, Restaurant, Queens) in Queens, New York.  Even though I’m no big fan of Mexican cuisine, it turned out to be an unexpectedly great experience. When I was in London recently, I could have perhaps found some alternatives, but we ended up at an Indian restaurant — though I am also not a big fan of Indian cuisine. And? Indeed, it turned out to be fantastic. The same experience again, somehow.

It is a persevering cliché that food in England is bad. Isn’t there the famous joke: “What would be paradise in Europe? The Italians cooking, Germans constructing cars; British policing, the French making love, and Swiss organizing everything. But what would be the nightmare of Europe? The Swiss making love, the French building the cars, British doing the cooking, Germans as the police, and Italians organizing everything.” But the aforementioned cliché must have some basis. I guess if London weren’t so cosmopolitan, you would find far less interesting and inspiring food there. Actually, I am very seldom in London (unfortunately) but I have a few friends there who are fortunately into more than bad English beer and fish & chips afterwards. Those friends occasionally invite me for nice lunches or dinners, which by itself is a proof of friendship, considering the price of a meal in London. The prices are ridiculous! Food is expensive in the British capital – even if the pound went down due to the stupid Brexit idea.

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