Wine and Food

Alexander van Dülmen


April 2015

H. Lun, Lagrein, 2013

H. Lun, Lagrein, 2013, Alto Adige Red-wine from Italy

3,5 points  

Lagrein is an autochthone sort of grape of Alto Adige which gives this red-wine its name. Sometimes you can find some rosé out of Lagrein, too.

Although I do not know too much about the vinery H. Lun but it seems this belongs since not too long time to another winemaker of Alto Adige: Cantina Girlan. However, as I don’t like to spread out wrong information I will focus only on this wine. I know the Lagrein of H. Lun pretty long. It was introduced to me more than ten years ago the first time by Heide Pellmann who ran a small wine-store in Berlin Prenzlauer Berg called “Nix wie Wein”. She always has some nice but really also affordable wines which was perhaps this sympathetic lady’s biggest talent. In general a Lagrein cannot be some top wine due to the grape and its rather simple quality. At least I never made such an experience. However a Lagrein has its typical and individual character. I like it because it really differs from a lot of other tasting experiences and due its rather modest approach it can be in certain moments particularly pleasant.

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Hisa Franko, Restaurant & Hotel, Staro Selo

Hisa Franko, Restaurant & Hotel, Staro Selo (close to Kobarid), Slovenia

7 points 

It was on the recommendation of my friend Gasper Gabrijelcic that I visited Hisa Franko, the restaurant of one of the top, top chefs in Slovenia, Ana Roš, and her husband Valter Kramar, a unique sommelier. Since this restaurant isn’t just around the corner but located in a very beautiful valley in the South-eastern Slovenian alps, it is very reasonable that they offer ca 10 rooms for staying overnight – or for several nights.

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Rosso Batic, Reserva, 1999

Rosso Batic Reserva, Ivan Batic, Sempas, 1999, Red-wine from Slovenia

5,5 points

According to a very nice book published by the vinery first wine was made at Batic since 16th century – by monks. Ivan Batic and his son understand themselves in the tradition of winemaking since some hundred years and the quality of wine I drank confirmes this. You can find all you like to know about Batic if you go on their perfect webpage: Sometimes it is senseless to write more about someone if is so well presented.

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Chamberlain Suite Hotel, West Hollywood, Los Angeles

Chamberlain Suite Hotel, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, USA

6 points

Every person has its favored hotel in a town where one goes several times or regularly. If you go to Los Angeles either as a tourist or for business you perhaps like to be located rather in a center of a circle of destination than perhaps somewhere at the edge.

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Jelice, Restaurant & Serbian Inn, Prague

Jelice, Restaurant & Serbian Inn, Prague, Czech Republic

3,5 points

6 points for location

Most of us would connect Prague with Czech beer and heavy food. During nighties and noughties Prague was rather a desert in light of any variety of restaurants. Some selected places, mostly connected to hotels, were worth to visit. However during the last five, six years there is a promising and exciting development. Without some good friends I would not have discovered more and more really interesting, good and remarkable restaurants or even inns of which I will report in future.

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La Braccesca, 2005, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

La Braccesca, 2005, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Antinori Agricola, Red-wine from Italy

4 points

WP_20150417_001La Braccesca isn’t something unique as I would usually prefer to write about. It is a huge vinery and owed by the prominent nobel family Antinori which is one of the most dominant wine producers in Italy. Still there are two good reasons to write about this wine!  First and as simple as it is: the wine is good, and second it is a good example that even big producers, their experience and probably passion of winemaking can have a positive influence as this wine belongs to the rather inexpensive ones among many other good but too expensive wines from Montepulciano. Of course all depends to trends and fashions but Montepulciano is a conservative and so traditional wine area which didn’t change winemaking too much except prices which are experience an unreasonable growth in my point of view. We cannot drink wine for more than € 20 or more every day and even this price level is already much too much for some good friends of mine. Perhaps we shouldn’t drink wine everyday anyhow, my doctor would probably say.

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Weinbar Rutz, Berlin (2. report) & “Hans”, Pinot Noir, Marlborough

Weinbar Rutz, Berlin, Germany

“Hans”, Pinot Noir, Hans Herzog, Marlborough, Red-wine from New Zealand

Just a steak! This I love so much about a place like Weinbar Rutz ( on the first floor a Michelin Star restaurant, at the grand level a bar. Coming later the night at 10 pm – after a long day of work – and you get the best food still you can get in town. Without any special arrangements, without the effort of reservation, even not knowing of what you will get since there are always some new or just daily offers. Although season of asparagus started and I could have some first whole I took Prime US Beef as the current piece is in “best age” now – over 50 days dry aged in a smaller drying glassy box in the bar carefully watched by Marco Müller and his team. Super soft, rich of flavors, manly and just rich: a firework of meat flavors. ! Nice of the guys to serve it with something aside: it is not necessary!

7 points for the steak

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Four Season, Restaurant, Hanoi

Four Season, Restaurant, Hanoi, Vietnam

6,5 points

Hanoi! What a wonderful, lively but still classical Asian metropolis! A city which – still – let you feel South East Asian traditions but of course experiences a brutal modernism.


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Movia, Veliko, 2006

Movia, Veliko Rdece, 2006, suho rdece kakovostno vino ZGP, Brda, Red-wine from Slovenia

6 points

One of the probably most underestimated or let’s say undiscovered wine country in Europe is Slovenia. The most northern country of so-called Former Yugoslavia has three very different wine areas among some real small others:  Podravje (in a triangle of Austria and Hungary), Posavje (toward south-east and Croatia) and Primoska which borders to Italy and Istria / Croatia as well. Although there are certainly interesting and even much less known wines from the first two areas the best known one is Primoska. Probably all internationally recognized wine makers of Slovenia are out of this region which lays in southern foothills of Slovenian alps along long valleys towards the Adriatic sea. Some of the wine growing areas are connected directly with Italian areas Friuli but also Venetia.

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Tokaji Hárslevelü, Kassai, 2012 Kikelet Pince

Tokaji Hárslevelü, Kassai, 2012 Kikelet Pince, White Wine from Hungary

4,5 points

I would believe that everyone who ever came in tough with sweet wine had once or even often a Tokaji, probably still the most well known and internationally exported wine from Hungary. Tokoji is without any doubt one of the most traditional and eldest wine sort, it is made out of only four sorts of grapes which aren’t well known at all: Furmint, Lindenblättriger (Lipovina or Harslevelü), Muscat and Zéta. The name of the wine comes from the Hungarian city Tokai. Although everyone thinks this wine is only Hungarian origin, there are Tokai wines also from Slovakia – mostly from those Slovakian areas revanchist of Hungarian establishments’ sometime calls Hungarian hemisphere. The area is the most northern foothill of Balkan mountains called Carpathians. There is volcanic and also clay soil but due to the geographic location is one of the coldest areas of Hungary. You wouldn’t consider that this is a typical and appropriate wine area. But it is, in particular for this kind of wine as it needs not only sun and heat but also wet and foggy autumns before the harvest as grapes need to mature long upon they are noble rot and small like rosin.

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Alivio Barbaresco, Risvera 1998, Le Rocce Dei Barbari

Alivio Barbaresco, Risvera 1998, Le Rocce Dei Barbari, Piedmont, Red-wine from Italy

2 points

Many years ago I once went to Piedmont and into the center of Barbaresco area – the village of Barbaresco. This was still in a time I didn’t know too much about wines and in particular wine makers of Piedmont except the typical subjects as GAJA. Walking through this wine village I simply ended at the winery Le Rocche dei Barbari. I like the style of the testing room and the host – a son of the winemaker – had some time to serve me through wines. Among others at that time their best was a Barbaresco Risverva 1998. It was already eight if not even nine years old, matured really very many years in barrique. The whole presentation was pretty charming, a nice mixture of farm and modern wine selling.

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Hinoki & The Bird, Restaurant, Century City, Los Angeles, USA

Hinoki & The Bird, Restaurant, Century City, Los Angeles, USA

4 points

Yes, there are good, nice and interesting restaurants in Los Angeles. Most of the better places which I know are conceptually offering rather fusions of different cuisines, pretty modern and experimental combinations. It is somehow funny that you can experience much more radicalism testing restaurants than discussing philosophical or political themes with people from Los Angeles. Either restaurants are just real American – most of them then are better steak houses and very much meat driven – or they are young, inspired and of course trend following: if a steak could be green, those places would be the first ones offering it.

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