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Wine and Food

Alexander van Dülmen

Weissburgunder, Peters, 2016

Weissburgunder, Johannes Peters, 2016, White-wine from Germany

6.5 points

Recently, I opened a 2016 Pinot Blanc (Weissburgunder) by Johannes Peters and was extremely pleased and surprised. What a good wine! At the beginning of my writing on this blog, I described in more detail about the wine regions on the lower Saar and also about the winemaker Johannes Peters Peters, Scharzhofberger, Riesling, Spätlese, 2007, who stands in the shadow of some more “famous” and larger wineries, but has a parcel on the world famous Scharzhofberg, where he harvests a noble Riesling every year. 2016, so not so young for a so-called “quality wine” and still it comes with a refined freshness. Age does well to the wine, you might think that the wine has only just reached its peak. In addition to the surprising freshness, which is not to be confused with sour, the wine is delicate and overall pleasantly soft. A wonderful Burgundian from the Saar, for this quality, fabulously inexpensive and very much recommended, if you do not want a Riesling to your asparagus. It also goes well with roast pork or just on the side.

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Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare

Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, Restaurant, New York, USA

7,5 points

It’s an experience, no question. Delicious, really on the highest level! The wine accompaniment remarkable. The dining area – if you find it: stylish and like a very elegant showroom that still offers a cozy, almost snug ambience. Quite different than the way some have described it.

For a few days now, I’ve been asking myself how I should describe my experience at the 3-Michelin-starred restaurant Chef’s Table in New York. Hard to beat, I would like to write, because it is. And yet, a nagging thought has crept in, which reduces the experience a little. And the longer this thought settles in, the more space it takes up. Is it really only possible to cook on such a divine level if you combine ingredients from three different continents (!) for a single course? The inspiring concept of César Ramírez is surely to use only the BEST ingredients in the world: beef and seafood from Japan, foie gras from France etc…. It is amazing how César Ramírez lays down various “taste trails” that end on the tongue and on the palate in a path that unites all the elements and components of the various taste ideas, leading to an explosion that proves all the power of enchanting cooking, even composing. It’s like one of the greatest and, above all, the most intelligent symphonies you might recall.

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Barthenau, Pinot Nero, Hofstätter Vigna Sant’Urbano, 2008

Barthenau, Pinot Nero, Hofstätter Vigna Sant’Urbano, 2008, red wine from Italy

7,5 points

It has been some time since I wrote about a wine from South Tyrol (Alto Adige). Some weeks ago, I ordered a wonderful Kerner and I told myself to write about this very typical South Tyrolean wine sometime soon. And then suddenly, I had a great tasting experience come in between, having opened a 2008 Magnum Barthenau from the winery Josef Hofstätter. Basically, I don’t need to write much about this winery and instead just refer you to my previous reviews: Riserva Mazon, 2006, Pinot Nero, Blauburgunder, J. Hofstätter. But the wine is absolutely top class! It was worth having stored it for so long, because at first it was really thin and a bit too woody. The last few years – I do not know how long I’ve stored it – have done it very, very well. A wonderfully balanced wine that does not remind you of a Pinot Noir in the classical sense, because it is much softer and smoother. Although it has retained the alpine coolness, which I like about the Hofstätter wines anyway, it now has strength and favorable spice. There is hardly any note of fruitiness left, but rather a compact balance of wood, tobacco, dark berries, something like orange peel and a super-fine tannin. Great wine, classically made, but with its very own character. Definitely a wine that gets addictive the older it gets. Or maybe it is at his peak right now. I saw online that you can buy even this particular vintage in some places! So rush!

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Elements & DELI, Restaurant, Dresden

Elements & DELI, Restaurant, Dresden, Germany

5 points

Again Michelin…..don’t worry, there will be reviews coming about restaurants that are not connected with Michelin. However, when visiting cities where you don’t have the benefit of the friendly advice of someone you know there, the Michelin list can be a helpful guide. Visiting beautiful Dresden recently, I found out that there are three Michelin restaurants in Dresden, each with a star. With only one night, I chose a restaurant with the name “Element”. I am always, and here once again, surprised by the criteria for the awards given to restaurants. Is it a direct comparison of the restaurants in Dresden that leads the testers to such results, or is it truly an international rating system? The reader already suspects…! I’m not exactly thrilled with what I was served at Elements in Dresden, and would even venture to say that it was not worth a Michelin star, especially comparing it to other places.

Each course was somehow too much for itself. You also could say: much less would have done more for the taste combinations and the concepts behind them. I actually mean that in a friendly way, because I really liked the restaurant as such. It’s not in the center, where all the tourists crowd Dresden, but east of Neustadt, on a former industrial site, in an old and very pleasantly renovated factory. Quiet, spacious, modern – great atmosphere. Very friendly staff welcome you immediately and put you at ease, nothing like overkill or stiffness, but rather the opposite: casual and dégagé. Aside from the ugly pair of jeans he wore – but this a matter of taste and I apologize for the personal touch right away – the sommelier presented me with two wines I didn’t know:

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In particular, this sparkling wine with a great name, Chimäre Brut, was really very nice and recommendable. It is made by Frédéric Fourré, a French winemaker who ended up in Saxony (there are always such great stories behind winemaking, I love it). Should this Sekt not appear in Games Of Thrones – what could Daenerys Targaryen better drink?

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Skykitchen, Restaurant, Berlin

Skykitchen, Restaurant, Berlin, Germany

7 points

Alexander Hoppe has Richard’s deer. Which is funny because a few days before I finally made it to Skykitchen Berlin, I visited Richard, another Michelin star restaurant in Berlin, and there was no deer there – see here my review about Richard Richard, Restaurant, Berlin

Not that you should get the impression that I go exclusively to starred restaurants, but Berlin makes it quite easy, given that there are a total of 21 restaurants with altogether 28 stars – more than any other city in Germany and currently in 12th place in the world, and in Europe coming in right after Paris, London, and Brussels at number four! This said, I do not think that restaurants are necessarily better just because they have a star. There are many I’ve visited in past years they would easily get one from me, if I were a tester. But there are many cities and places in world that Michelin does not even test. And since I’m not ruining the career of a chef or a winemaker because I may not like what I’m served, with my recommendations you can take them or leave them. A friend from Los Angeles recently visited Brawn in London (Brawn, Restaurant, London) and enjoyed it very much. It is not listed among the almost 80 restaurants with a star there. And it’s certainly interesting to see how different all of the Berlin Michelin star restaurants are – or what makes them similarly unique on the other hand. This kind of field research is best done in my current hometown.

Skykitche view

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Vieux Remparts, Chateauneuf du Pape, 2010

Vieux Remparts, Chateauneuf du Pape, 2010, red-wine from France

5 points

If you try to do a little research on the Internet, you won’t find out much about this wine. And then you ask yourself: why there is so little to read about this wine, since actually it’s not bad at all, in fact quite good. The bottle itself already says a lot — not only the world-famous name Chateauneuf du Pape graces the label — but the papal insignia is also molded above the label, imprinted into the glass itself. If you were to then read the label: Appellation d’Origine Controllée, at least wine experts know that this is not a special or noble wine of this exceptional provenance, but just a simple geographic denomination. And then it hits me: Mann (in English Oh man!), that’s the Aldi wine that I bought so many years ago! Now, I hope every reader knows what Aldi is: a German grocery discounter that expanded in most of Europe and even in the USA.  For Aldi prices, a bottle of this wine was really expensive, favorable for Chateauneuf-du-Pape numbers (not cheap!). Now I also understand why there’s nothing to read about the winemakers, about some great or boring family that has been producing this fantastic wine for centuries, with the unlikely sacrifice and long-standing faith, ever since the Pope built his summer residence in Avignon – of course because of the great vineyards at lower Rhone. How profane: Aldi has in fact let some unknown mass producers produce a large number of bottles of “red” (Grenache, Syrah, Merlot) at the local appellation. That it’s well packaged, as I said, not only makes things at Aldi interesting and eye-catching, but also does the trick in many fine wine shops.

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Crustaocean, Restaurant, Los Angeles

Crustaocean, Restaurant, Los Angeles, USA

6,5 points

If I told my friends in Los Angeles to come and eat in Beverly Hills, right on North Bedford Drive, shaking their heads would be probably the friendliest reaction I could expect. This is not a cool area, of ​​course, and most of the restaurants there are noisy, slick and simply characterless, or to say it another way, even more brutally: you really don’t want to spend your evening with the people here. Sometimes, though, it may be good to be a stranger in a city that you know quite well, but with far fewer prejudices than locals might exhibit. There are some people who would rather drive to Downtown LA, even though they live in Westwood, before deigning to eat out in Beverly Hills.

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Merlot, Stekar, 2013

Merlot, Jure Stekar, 2013, red-wine from Slovenia

7,5 points

Jure Stekar often reminds me that I should finally write about his wine. And he’s undoubtedly right, because he produces one of my favorite Merlots. Merlot is such a widespread grape that there are understandably many sommeliers and wine lovers who have no particular affection for this grape variety. Due to the worldwide cultivation of this sort we can experience many different good and interesting wines. In the meantime, there are more than a few wineries in Germany who produce Merlot, including some that make very good wines such as Aldinger from Stuttgart (Bergmandel, Lemberger GG, 2012, Aldinger). Their Merlot of course tastes completely different compared to an unfiltered Merlot from Newton, California for example. What connects the two wines, however, is the proud price, even if the German is much better off.

Jure’s Merlot is not only a very special one because it has its very own character and is made entirely biologically and naturally (even without sulfides), but it is also an inexpensive price for its great quality. Though I probably shouldn’t mention that here because the price of the wine could always go up. However, what might prevent a rise in prices would be the rarely ugly label.

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Layla, Restaurant, Berlin

Layla, Restaurant, Berlin, Germany

6,5 points

6 by Alexander van Dülmen

Already the third time: another review by best friend Elisabeth Burghardt – this time about a new hot-spot restaurant in Berlin

It’s been a few years now that Israeli chefs have been leaving their mark on the international culinary scene, especially with their imaginative use of traditional oriental ingredients, spices and herbs. Foodies across the world have become devoted disciples of stars like Yotam Ottolenghi, Gal Ben Moshe or Meir Adoni. The latter, well-known for his hugely popular restaurants in Tel Aviv and New York, has just recently opened Layla, a new hotspot smack in the middle of Berlin.

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