Poor but sexy – said the city’s mayor in a speech a few years back when describing Berlin. I don’t know about poor any more, but sexy, vibrant and overgrown. Its like a controlled chaos: bombed down buildings, street art and untended vegetation mixed with clean, modern and orderly. The same goes for the food scene: national street food delicacies like currywurst and Döner kebab from run down kiosks, mixed with sleek bistros, wine bars and even Michelin restaurants. Its like the Bangkok of Europe – where you can, during the same day, eat from a cheap looking food cart , and then continue to a restaurant with white table cloths and fancy pants service. We only had a few days in the city, but here comes a few tips for food, coffee and wine Continue reading “The Berlin Beat”
Riesling – one of the most well known grape varieties in the world, and the enormous gap in my knowledge of wine. I have been dodging Riesling for years. Probably because it is one of those varieties that produces so many different types of wine. Learning Riesling has just felt like too much work. But now I have come to my senses. During this fall, we have been taking a walk on the sweet-side, so Rieslings have no longer been on the list of “too much sugar”. But to be able to become serious about Riesling, one has to do some studying. So here are some of my findings about my new grape-obsession. Continue reading “Wineweek 170: Decoding Riesling”
When people ask me which is my favorite grape, I hesitate saying Pinot Noir. It might be because of Sideways. I don’t really want to be mistaken with getting my wine inspiration from a movie; although in reality I don’t really care. I love light red wines with subtle herbal and mineral flavors, and I love full blanc de noirs champagnes. I love French Pinot from Bourgogne with some age and complexity in them, and I love fresh young and slightly salty Pinot from the US west coast. A Pinot seldom lets me down, although it is often quite pricey. However, there are some good exceptions: German Spätburgunders (late harvested Pinot) are on the rise and very good value for money. The price represents the effort that goes into growing Pinot, so I thought I would do a dip into the basics. Continue reading “Grape Love: Pinot Noir”
Every year, we do a few trips back to our former home city of London. To be honest, I did not live there that long that I could credibly call it home. But there is something about that city that is always on my mind. I am going crazy as we speak just thinking about walking down the early spring streets of London in a few weeks time. As it is my lazy week, I am not going to write much new today. However, I though I would lift up some of my old posts on the wine-spots I long for. We have some exciting reservations for new places and restaurants, so I promise some new material soon. Continue reading “London on my Mind”
One of the things I love about working with wine is the people you meet in the process. Growers, distributors and shop-owners, all share the same passion and love talking about it. With wine ter is always more to learn, so every conversation gives something. Some people you of course do not really connect with. However, sometimes it just clicks and you end up making lifetime friends. Continue reading “Cava and Friends in Berlin”
I must admit, I rarely open a bottle of white wine. Perhaps I have replaced it by having sparkling and also the absence of fish (and vegetarian) food from our diet might have something to do with it. However, when I go for a white, it is often a Riesling. And I definitely do not regret opening the bottle of Emrich-Schönleber as it was well worth the try.
Emrich-Schönleber is a true family business. The father Werner Schönleber is focused on the vines and that they thrive as they should. The son Frank has his main responsibility over the cellar and follows the process from wine to bottle. The mother of the family (Hanne) and Frank’s wife Anja are managing the customers. So the entire family is involved.
They are focused on high-quality single vineyard whites and are in the market to make an impression. They focus on bringing out the distinctive flavors and characteristics of the grapes and terroir and making wines with a personality. They mainly have Riesling (85%) but also Grauburgunder, Weißburgunder and Müller-Thurgau in their vineyards.
The dominance of Riesling can be seen in their production but with this high quality Riesling’s I am not objecting to that. They have won numerous awards during the years so it is no doubt that they are a high quality producer. Producing around 130 000 bottles a year they are not small but still not huge either. Still the benefit of this level of production is that their wines are reasonably easy to find.
The wine we tasted was their 2012 Riesling Nahe. We had opened the bottle already in the summer with the Coravin (more on the Coravin to come in separate post but for now we will just say that is does what it is supposed to), but it did not show any signs of oxidation when opened six months later.
The color was golden yellow and the initial impression on the nose exotic with fruity elements. When tasting the wine I expected something sweeter but instead was met with a fresh mouthfeel, nice citrus zest and clear and distinct notes of mineral. Not surprising with the mineral but more interestingly there were hints of cucumber and saffron (!). Very exotic indeed. It felt like a cool and humid summer morning (like the ones we have here in the Nordics). A truly wonderful wine experience, have it with food (could go well some seafood or chicken) or just as it is. I would rate it as a 4 for quality and at 179 SEK (around €20) at the local monopoly it is also a solid 4 for value for money.
As I described in the last Wineweek, we did quite a comprehensive wine tour while in London. Most of the shops we visited were in South Kensington or in the central parts of the West End, but this jewel, The Winery, required a bit more work to get to. It was a tip from another shopkeeper that led us to to this boutique with (supposedly) the most comprehensive selection of German wines in the whole of London. I think I have been mentioning that we are quite interested in German and Austrian Pinots, so it was a no-brainer whether to make the extra journey. Already lugging around closer to ten bottles of wine, we set out in the London drizzle towards The Winery located in Maida Vale. We were actually not sure if the shop was even open as it was New Years eve, but luckily we did not have to be disappointed.
Stepping in, the shop was everything we had hoped for; shelves bulging of German wines; accompanied by some treasures from France, Spain, Italy and California. The shop had a cozy library-like atmosphere with a fireplace to warm up the holiday mood. We knew we had arrived to the right place. Shelf after shelf we went through the selection on Spätburgunder, Riesling and Champagne, many from small or medium sized producers. The shop did not have a specific focus on bubbly, but there were some interesting grower Champagnes and German sparkling wines. The shopkeepers could see we were there to do some serious shopping, so they indulged us with their expertise and also some nice tasters.
We left the shop with five more bottles and the realization that this was it when it comes to luggage space. We bought a few high class German Pinots, two German sparkling Rieslings, and a Champagne. Prices were very reasonable, however the current strong Sterling is doing some damage when it comes to value for money. These were however wines we knew we would not run into on the shelves of the Monopoly (probably not in the special order selection either), so it was totally worth the small investment. We were really intrigued by the Champagne we bought from a producer called Marie-Noel Ledru. She is a tiny grower with only 3 hectares of land to work with, so her wines are not available in many places; and M liked the label (he is a sucker for marketing too). The shopkeeper also told us that the producer might be retiring soon, so we just had to pick up one bottle. If its great, we might need to make an extra trip to London before the stock runs out.
Loved shopping at The Winery! If you find your self in London, I suggest you look it up too. Home is where the wine is (slogan from The Winery’s website).