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Wine and Food

Alexander van Dülmen

Mayacamas, Cabernet Sauvignon, 1979

Mayacama, Cabernet Sauvignon, 1979, Red wine from USA

7,5 points

The first thing my friend Grant said was that he doesn’t really like Cabernet Sauvignon and, in particular, the ones from California. The second thing he did was to put a bottle of a Cabernet Sauvignon of Mayacamas on the table. When I saw the vintage, I piped down for a moment: 1979. He had opened the bottle some hours before, so it had enough time to breathe.

I have never had such an old American wine. I also think that Californian Cabernet Sauvignon is vastly overestimated and certainly much too expensive. Most of the time, these wines are too heavy, too fruity, too oaky – plump and show-off wines. Continue reading “Mayacamas, Cabernet Sauvignon, 1979”

Bandol sur Mer, Restaurant, Berlin

Bandol sur Mer, Restaurant, Berlin, Germany

7 points

In German, we have the word „Kulinarik“. The German language contains so many substantives that describe a very specific thing very precisely. Translating this word into English is a challenge, and I am curious to know how any reader of this blog who speaks German and English would translate it. According to leo.org, one of the best online dictionaries, I should use the term “culinary art”. Although I don’t really think that this is a correct description of my understanding of “Kulinarik”, I like very much that it connects it with art. This said, Berlin’s Kulinarik has such great variety, incomparable with many other places in the world. Perhaps only New York and Chicago. A Michelin star punk restaurant, probably possible only in Berlin!

bandol-innen

Continue reading “Bandol sur Mer, Restaurant, Berlin”

Sushi Girl, Street Food, Hanalei

Sushi Girl, Hanalei, Kauai, USA

5 points

This Sushi place really represents the attitude toward life in the northern part of Hawaii’s greenest island Kauai. Chilled, relaxed, stress-free and unbelievably friendly. The real Sushi Girl is Taylor Lowe who runs this very tiny place, which is listed in many guides and has an impressive internet presence. Actually, there aren’t even many restaurants, food shops, or fast food places between Hanalei and Wainiha, the last housing estate before the Hanea State Park and the start of famous Kalalau Trail. You either own or rent a house in this area – most  people are there on vacation – or else you pass the place on your way along the northern coast of Kauai.

DSC_0479.JPG Continue reading “Sushi Girl, Street Food, Hanalei”

Melisse, Restaurant, Santa Monica

Melisse, Restaurant, Santa Monica, USA

7 points

Let me begin with perhaps an unfair quote: This restaurant is cursedly expensive. This is quite a controversial statement since passionate chefs, engaged restaurant entrepreneurs, and audacious sommeliers all have to calculate very carefully: top quality, super fresh, preferably organic vegetables, fish, seafood, meat and other ingredients, and exotic or rare fruits. Regional does not automatically mean less expensive, since the work and desire of farmers, fishermen, and cultivators is the same almost everywhere on the planet. Raising organic shrimp in Vietnam is probably cheaper than in Louisiana – but causes pollution due to long transport distances. And how many hours does a chef spend just on thinking, testing, and creating a new dish? And to what end? Isn’t it well known that salaries in the field of gastronomy are rather low? In the US, tips are a crucial part of the income of any server.

Continue reading “Melisse, Restaurant, Santa Monica”

Restaurant Sassafraz, Toronto

Restaurant Sassafraz, Toronto, Canada

5,5 points

Sassafraz is an intelligent combination of a French café and restaurant in the middle of Toronto’s affluent neighborhood Yorkville.

Due to my profession, I travel yearly to Toronto. This year I chose some restaurants for business dinners, but also to test them out. How did I found this place? It is listed on some internet sites as one of the best restaurants in Toronto. Of course, I could have asked some of my friends from Toronto – but I like to follow such recommendations although they are very often not the best ones. My visit to Sassafraz was not a bad experience, although it was not superb either.

Continue reading “Restaurant Sassafraz, Toronto”

Clos Vougeot Grand Cru, Nicolas Potel, 1997

Clos Vougeot Grand Cru, Nicolas Potel, 1997, Red wine from France

7 points

I’ve hesitated to write about Nicolas Potel since there are already so many interesting articles and reports online about him. I also missed two chances to meet him in person. I’ve appreciated his wine-making for a long time, although it has to be added that I haven’t tried any of his wines younger than five or six years. Part of his biography is quite affecting as – according different sources – he experienced the early death of his father, whom he was meant to succeed as the operating manager of the Domaine de La Pousse d’Or in Volnay. He made his way and actually became one of the most relevant and legendary winemakers of Burgundy. His name on any label ennobles excellent reds from the Cote d’Or vineyards. He did not become owner of his “own” vineyard or winery, but, since very the end of the nineties, he’s been producing his wines from purchased grapes and wines. Someone called him a négociant – although I guess the real meaning of this description would fit the wine “dealers” in Bordeaux better than the passionate winemaker  Nicolas Potel certainly is.

Continue reading “Clos Vougeot Grand Cru, Nicolas Potel, 1997”

Quán Cơm Gà Thượng Hải, Restaurant, Ho Chi Minh City

Quán Cơm Gà Thượng Hải, Restaurant, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

6,5 points

Food in Vietnam is wonderful and much more diverse than you might experience traveling through this Southeast Asian country. In particular, as a tourist you may end up in rather – from a touristic perspective – popular locations. I guess travel agencies and hotels have arrangements with certain places, like for instance one of my favorite restaurants in Hanoi, the Four Season (https://avdwineandfood.net/2015/04/15/four-season-restaurant-hanoi/). However, there is obviously much more to discover. All kinds of street food anyhow. Restaurants meant only for locals, for the establishment, some with a modern western style, others more like a typical cantina (the Vietnamese version of fast food). Aside from of all these, there are a few around the country with particular traditions – sometimes because they offer specialties that you cannot find anywhere else or because of their concept and simply, how long they have been around. Remember my review about Bánh tôm Hồ Tây (Bánh tôm Hồ Tây, Seafood Restaurant, Inn and Biergarten, Hanoi) at the West Lake in Hanoi. This is one of the oldest and most famous places in Hanoi.

Continue reading “Quán Cơm Gà Thượng Hải, Restaurant, Ho Chi Minh City”

Nhà Hàng Hương Xưa, Restaurant, Ho Chi Minh City

Nhà Hàng Hương Xưa, Restaurant, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

5,5 points

While writing this review, I am expecting protest. I had the turtle! Yes! It is taboo and forbidden in many regions of the world. Actually, it depends on the species of turtle – certain types are strictly protected; for others it seems that eating them is allowed. Like many other countries, Vietnam has implemented official protection and prevention programs due to the fact that authorities, left to their own, don’t enforce their own laws strongly enough. Poaching is also certainly an issue in Vietnam in particular, since there is such a great demand in China for forbidden and really exotic animals.

Continue reading “Nhà Hàng Hương Xưa, Restaurant, Ho Chi Minh City”

Colle Vecchio, Offida Pecorino, 2007

Colle Vecchio, Offida Pecorino, 2007, white wine from Italy

5,5 points

I never believed that this experiment would end well! Two or three years ago I discovered that I still had one bottle left of a rather typical – certainly not top – white wine from Cocci Grifone, vintage 2007. If someone had asked me – even five years ago, I would have said that this wine had very likely gone bad. I would have been wrong. And I was wrong. From the first nose it was clearly not off. But would it be a good wine? To my great surprise, the wine was still very good and, due to its age, had probably become something special.

Continue reading “Colle Vecchio, Offida Pecorino, 2007”

Quail’s Gate Pinot Noir, 2014

Quail’s Gate Pinot Noir, 2014, red wine from Canada

3 points

Some of my friends recently said ‘Canadian and wine are two words which don’t really go well together’. I am afraid it is true in certain regards. This Pinot Noir comes from an area not really well-known for wine: British Columbia in Canada. Quail’s Gate sits on the west side of Okanagan Lake, a 3 1/2 hour hour drive northeast from Vancouver. I haven’t been there yet and I’m not sure if I’ll ever get there. My knowledge of this wine region is very limited – perhaps Stefan Hartmann – the former chef at Berlin’s restaurant Hartmann, currently chef at Vancouver’s restaurant Bauhaus, can contribute some interesting notes on the area.

qg-panoramic-9-14x5.jpg Continue reading “Quail’s Gate Pinot Noir, 2014”

Michael’s Restaurant, New York

Michael’s Restaurant, New York, USA

5 points

If you like to see expensive, ugly outfits and dresses, go to “Michael’s” in New York. Tasteless but certainly posh combinations of grey and light blue, unsuitable suits, tight rose sport coats with beige trousers…  and most of the guests aren’t young and beautiful either – wealthy bankers, elder show hosts and politicians – a sophisticated New York cosmos which, as an outsider, you might not experience very often. “Look, there’s the former Secretary of the Treasury! And he’s having lunch with …” Michael’s restaurant is a sort of institution in New York, which most inhabitants have heard of but perhaps have never been to. As a foreigner, you wouldn’t even know about it. It is located in a midtown business district. Continue reading “Michael’s Restaurant, New York”

Chateau Brillette, Moulin de Médoc, 2006

Chateau Brillette, Moulin de Médoc, 2006, Grand Vin de Bordeaux, Red wine from France

4,5 points

This wine is much nicer than I expected! Spicy, dark berries, very dry, with strong tannins, but still very enjoyable. There is tobacco and even a note of bitter chocolate. The wine is full-bodied and quite potent. However, somehow it’s like a volcano that just can’t explode due to being covered by a huge layer of stones. You’re always expecting that something might still happen with this wine, but it doesn’t. For what it is: it’s good wine! A Bordeaux blend which is affordable, made from Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon and little bit of Petit Verdot. In other appellations, the winemaker would add Cabernet Franc, which of course could make the wine a bit more elegant. This certainly wasn’t the intention of this maker; therefore it’s a rather bulky if not a fat wine. If I were asked what’s missing, I would say: some elegance. Continue reading “Chateau Brillette, Moulin de Médoc, 2006”

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