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Wine and Food

Alexander van Dülmen

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Wine

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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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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Katzebosch, Grauer Burgunder, 2011, Jürgen Leiner, (2nd review)

Katzebosch, Grauer Burgunder, 2011, Jürgen Leiner, German white-wine

7 points

I wrote about this wine three years ago when I started this blog: Katzebosch, Grauer Burgunder, 2011, Jürgen Leiner. Since I have stored some bottles and open one occasionally, not only to see how the wine has developed, but also simply because I felt the desire to drink this wine now, some thoughts about it could be interesting. Certainly not on every topic or wine, but if much has happened, much, as in the case it did with the Grauer Burgunder of Jürgen Leiner, then why not. I also write several reviews at restaurants each time I return. Just as I did the last with the Hisa Franko (Hisa Franko, Restaurant, Staro Stelo (3rd report))

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“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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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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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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Kupra, 2008

Kupra, 2008, red wine from Italy

7 points

In June 2015 I wrote about Marco Casolanetti’s famous Kurni. If you are interested in Marco’s wine-making, and if you don’t know Kurni, please have a look here: Kurni, 2008

When I visited Marco – probably it is now perhaps even eight years ago – he also introduced me to his second wine, Kupra. Since he produces only 400 to 600 bottles of this wine per year, you would think that this is the little brother of Kurni, also because Kurni is so prominent. Actually, this would be wrong: first of all, Kupra is not made from Montepulciano, but rather from a grape called Bordò, a kind of a clone of Grenache. Secondly, it should be higher quality than Kurni, which is ambitious to say.

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Kolos, 2004, Edi Simčič, Goriška Brda

Kolos, 2004, Edi Simčič, Goriška Brda, Red wine from Slovenia

6,5 points

For me it is rather difficult to begin with an article about Slovenian wine, because I know it rather well. So far I wrote only a few reviews about it, perhaps already more than you would find in any other blog. I am big fan of Slovenia, a small country with three very different faces: Alpine, Mediterranean and Balkan. Cuisine and wine in Slovenia are a fusion of these three cultures. There is a – yes we can say – famous chef who represents the variety, richness and capacity of “Slovenian” cooking at its best: Ana Ros. (Hisa Franko, Restaurant, Staro Selo Kobarid (2nd report)). Her husband Valter is responsible for my knowledge of Slovenian wines because he once got me drunk on some extraordinarily good and rare wines.

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Columella, 2001

Columella, Liberatus in Castro Bonae Spei, Vindemia 2001, red wine from South Africa

7,0 points

I don’t know very much about South African wines. Once in a while, my friend Grant Hill – who is the most generous wine lover I know – and I spend an evening together, tasting wines and talking about the world! He always opens some rare wine that I haven’t tried before, sometimes I can even surprise him with a wine he doesn’t know.

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Grant is from Australia and therefore much more open to wines from the so-called New World. He simply knows many more wines from there than I do. Maybe it’s also that he’s a bit older than I am, so he’s had the chance to taste more broadly.

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Magnus Merlot, 2011, Villa Tolnay

Magnus Merlot, 2011, Villa Tolnay, red wine from Hungary

5 points

One of the most beautiful areas in Hungary is located between Tapolca and the north-western shore of Lake Balaton: hills, soft valleys often with cottonwoods, beautiful views – a place of relaxation and peace.

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The countryside is a mixture of Mediterranean views and volcanic landscape. Lovely: wine almost everywhere, mainly still owned and cultivated by private families – not as winemakers but private gardeners. Continue reading “Magnus Merlot, 2011, Villa Tolnay”

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