Three treasures and my new knife

September 26, 2010

Three treasures

I just got back from a business trip to Mongolia where I had a great time (but none for blogging). Unfortunately, I had no time to look for a Mongolian herdsman’s knife.

However, I bought a new knife during our summer holidays in Italy. I just love the knives produced by Scarperia Consigli near Florence. I choose a fisherman’ knife, called Anconetano typical of the central Adriatic coast.

So what are the three treasures? Well, in the photo above you can see my new knife from Scarperia Consigli, a DIAM cork used by the Mayer Vineyard (coming a chardonnay recently) and a my favorite cigar from Nicaragua.

Crêpes de Paris

September 26, 2010

As mentioned before, to many of this summers’ stories I only slowly get around to. As you can see Crêpes do not need to be sweet. Our friends Norbert and Myria took us to a wonderful little Crêpes restaurant where we had lunch. Crêpes lend themselves to fusion. One can combine them with all kinds of different raw materials and spices. Most were made with buckwheat.

Chicken curry crêpe

Crêpe with avocado

Crêpe with tomatoes and cheese

A salad

Crêpe with cheese only

Crêpe with ice cream, chocolate and pears

The drink of choice was not wine, but apple cider. Delicious stuff on a hot summers day in Paris.

Thrown off the blog

September 21, 2010

Confused goat in the vineyard

Man, do I find it difficult to get back into my blogging routine this time. The longer I am prevented from writing for my beloved blog, The Man from Mosel River, the more difficult it is to get started again.

How can this happen after more than three years of blogging? Was I not until very recently extremely disciplined and full of stories?

Instead I feel sheepish and stupid now. Moreover, I have all this material collected, brochures, tasting notes, newspaper clippings, photos and so on, but I cannot make sense of it.

I do not find the entry point. “Where is the door”, I hear myself shout?

My concentration is gone, withered away as old grape leaves in late autumn.

I lost the famous red threat.

Bear with me, and give me some time to find my feet.

They must be somewhere.

PS: I took the above photo in the City museum of Paris in July this year.

Wild pig from Schoden, Saar

September 15, 2010

I am afraid some of you might not like this post and the pictures which I present today. But meat comes from animals and they have to die so that we can enjoy the meals we make from it. Wild pigs are a real pest in Germany theses days, and very difficult to hunt and kill. My friend Heinz shot the little boar in Schoden, Saar.

My mother prepared a wonderful Sunday lunch with the best parts of the meat. We enjoyed it together with a bottle of our Merlot (2004 Two Hills Merlot), and I tell you that was just heaven on a stick, as we say in Australia.

Wild piglet hide

The carcass

…from a different side.

The butchered boar meat

…and in the pan

…and finally on the plate

How tender is this?

My favorite Australian Merlot

Restaurant review: Sjoebaren in Gothenburg, Sweden

September 13, 2010

While walking the streets of Gothenburg, Sweden (which is a very lovely city) where I attended an international conference, I noticed the many Japanese sushi restaurants. Well, I thought the Swedes love to eat fish; why not Japanese?

For dinner, however, my colleague Jules and I, we wanted to check out the original, a Swedish fish restaurant. The receptionist at the hotel pointed us to a couple of interesting places. We decided on a restaurant nearby, the Sjoebaren as it was called (freely translated as “seal” or “sea bear”). We were told that there are two restaurants with that name. We went to the one in Lorensberg.

The entrance of the restaurant

We had not made a booking and the place was full when we arrived. Fortunately, the waiters were very kind and accepted a booking for 20 h. We had an hour and a half of additional time to kill but that was not a problem for us (more about this later).

Kuentz-Bas, 2007 Pinot Gris Tradition from Alsace, France

It was clear, we wanted to eat fish. The first thing I selected was the wine. I opted for a ‘2007 Pinot Gris Tradition’ by Kuentz-Bas from Alsace, France. Decanter awarded 87 points to this wine.

The vintner of Kuentz-Bas is Jean-Baptiste Adam, an icon of the Alsatian wine industry. He runs his vineyards following biodynamic production methods. I am not related to Jean-Baptiste despite the coincidence with the family name.

Wine prices in Sweden are a bit on the high side. We went for only a glass. I loved the Pinot Gris. It was not overpowering, but fine and firm with a complex acidity and an impressive finish.

The starter

The herring was just too good to not order it. We did not expect what was put in front of us by the cheerful waiter. Look at that. This beautiful arrangement was just amazing. One piece of herring was marinated in a cinnamon heavy marinade, the other piece came with fish eggs on top in a white sauce. In addition we were given potatoes, onions, cream cheese and some other delicacies. I t,ell you this starter is to die for. My taste buds went ballistic. What a wonderful start to an Swedish meal.

Two kinds of herring

Fish of the day

My friend Jules ordered the fish of the day. Very tasty.

Graved lachs

I went for “graved lachs” (marinated salmon), my favourite dish from Sweden. Ever since a Swedish friend of ours had introduced us to this delicacy and ever since my wife makes her own version of it, I just cannot resist this fish. The portion was huge. And for the first time ever, I could not finish my plate. It was just to much. Unbelievable. I had to apologize to the waiter with a compliment to the kitchen.

Potatoes in dill-cream sauce

The painting in the middle of the restaurant.

Sjoebaren Lorensberg, when we left it

Sjoebaren is a hot tip if you are in Gothenburg. Do yourself a favor and treat you to something very special. The service is great, prices affordable and the quality extraordinary.

To cork or not to cork – the problem of wine closures

September 10, 2010

Book cover

Recently, I finished reading the above book by George W. Taber. It is an excellent work. I was amazaed that one could write so much about the different aspects of this little think: the stopper in a bottle. Nowadays, quite a few different materials and techniques are available and every poor vintner needs to make up his mind what to chose.

At Two Hills Vineyard we went for the DIAM solution (technical cork) for our Merlot wines. Our German customers want a cork to pull and DIAM has never let us down. We have experimented with other corks but found that DIAM suits us best.

Moreover, I hate plastic. It does not do the job. I love glass. It is elegant and suggests superior quality of the wine because of its high price. In Australia screw caps are very widespreach. Almost 100% of white wines and maybe 80 % of all bottles are now under screw caps.

I learned from “To cork or not to cork”, that the last word is not yet spoken. It will be interesting to see how wine ages under screw cap and glass stoppers. If we make white wine again, I would chose screw caps for our Sauvignon Blanc, but maybe DIAM for Chardonnay. Our Merlot will definetely stay under DIAM. For Pinot Noir I would remain undecided. Hmm, I wonder what would be the best solution?

Restaurant review: Chez Clément, Paris, France

September 8, 2010


During our summer vacation we also visited Paris for a few days. It is only about 2 1/2 hours by train from my hometown Trier. So why not seeing the French capital?

One of the highlights of the visit was a lunch on the Champs-Élysées. We chose a nice “little” place (the inside is huge but quite lovely, as we discovered when looking for the bathrooms) called ‘Chez Clément’ , a chain restaurant though, but nevertheless very attractive.

The entrance of Chez Clément

Oysters was one of the starters we could not refuse. The unpasteurized Camembert was the other. For the main course three of us went for the Toulouse sausages, one took the Charolais beef tartar. The house white was just the right wine, a Sancerre if I am not mistaken.

The food was just divinely delicious. The service was great. It might have helped that we arrives slightly before the lunch time crowd did. It was one of the best meals we had in Paris during our stay. I can highly recommend the place. Just walk up to the triumphal arch and look out for Chez Clément.

Oysters from Brittany

Croustilland de Camembert

Toulouse sausage

Charolais beef tartar

Rucola salad with parmesan

And a espresso afterwards

Chez Clément
Paris, France

PS: I was traveling in Vietnam and had no access to for that time. This is why I had to postpone updating my blog. The above story is form this summer.

“Rain rain rain rain beautiful rain”

September 4, 2010

This is how a song line from South Africa goes. Paul Simon and Ladysmith Black Mambazo made it famous in my circles. Now the drought in Victoria seems to have come to an end (after 13 years or so). It rains and rains in northern and central Victoria.

Of cause rain brings also destruction, landslides at Mount Buller for instance, flash floods, rivers rising, people had to be evacuated, in short chaos across the state of Victoria. In some places they had 150 millimetres.

But our dams at Two Hills Vineyard are full now. That’s the good news. I have not seen our big dam as full as now. ‘Brownies landing” is floating for the first time in years.

Dam at Two Hills Vineyard

Just flowers today

September 3, 2010

That’s my poem for today.