November ambience in a Saar vineyard

November 29, 2010

Vineyard near Schoden, Saar

When I recently visited my home town Trier, I also had the chance to explore mother nature in nearby Schoden, Saar.

It was a grey and rainy November day as we like it. The weather makes you wish for a hot tea in a warm place, maybe near a window with a view. Or a walk through the steep vineyards in the Saar valley.

Individual vines trained on a “stick”

Some of the vineyards were already pruned. One could spot pruners here and there, alone or in small groups. Please note the pruning style of these vines. November is a good time to visit wine regions. It is less crowded and people have time for a yarn.

Gianni Masciarelli – Villa Gemma Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

November 26, 2010

Villa Gemma Montepulciano d’Abbruzzo

Another very nice wine which I tasted recently is the ‘2007 Villa Gemma Montepulciano d’Abruzzo’ by Masciarelli.

More than twenty years, Gianni Masciarelli started to produce grapes and wine from a 2.5 ha vineyard which has “grown” to more than 220 ha under vines today. Also the yield level with about 10 tonnes/ha is not particularly low.

However, I liked this fruity wine which shows the characteristic of the Montepulciano grape. The wine is round and smooth with lots of black fruit but also vanilla and spicy notes. It also went very well with the Asian food we had it with.

In the tropics we tend to drink wine young (very young indeed), because storage can be a problem. It is a pity that Gianni died in 2008 at the tender age of only 53.

Try is wine with Asian cuisine, you will not regret it.

A great white wine – Pinot Blanc by Doerflinger

November 23, 2010

Pinot Blanc by the Doerflinger Winery

Recently I had the opportunity to enjoy a couple of glasses of a very yummy German Pinot Blanc, it was a ‘2009 Pinot Blanc Muellheimer Reggenhag dry’ (13%) by Doerflinger, a winery in Muellheim, Baden.

The wine guide Gault Millau awarded to the 2008 vintage 89 Parker points.

The winery was founded in 1900. Today, Hermann Doerflinger is the owner-vintner and he manages 16 ha under vines. The annual production is about 140,000 bottles.

Apart from Pinot Blanc, Doerflinger grows Gutedel, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, the wines of which reached 85 to 89 points for the 2008 vintage.

I liked this wine, it was fresh and zesty, soft and round, a great summer wine.

Weingut Hermann Dörflinger
Mühlenstraße 7,
D-79379 Müllheim
Tel.: +49 7631 2207 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +49 7631 2207      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +49 7631 2207      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Fax: +49 7631 4195

Mo.–Fri. 08.00 – 12.30 h, 13.30 – 18.30 h
Sat. 09.00 – 16.00 h

Restaurant review: Der Schützenhof, Würzburg, Frankonia

November 21, 2010

Der Schützenhof

A great place to eat and be merry in the town of Würzburg in Franconia is Der Schützenhof, a German country inn with a long and strong tradition. The views from it’s terrace are spectacular. You sit above the roofs of the historical city, so to say.

Great views

On top of the world and above the roofs – below: the city of Würzburg

The “Schützenhof” is not only famous for its views, but for it’s traditional German cuisine as well. I just love these tasty, robust, rural dishes made as if grandma had prepared them herself. Look at the pictures below, are they not mouthwatering? The food is just excellent, German country cuisine at it’s best.

Local Franconian sausages

Potato dumplings with roasted pork

Noodles/pasta with salmon

A local Franconian wine

I ordered the house wine, a local drop made from the Silvaner grape. My friends Romy and Friedel prefer other grapes for instance “Gutedel”, also known as Chasselas grape in France. But they also like Mueller-Thurgau, Pinot Blanc and Gris, Kernen etc.

With about 6,000 ha under vines Franconia produces excellent wines. It is famous for it’s dry Silvaner wines bottled in the so called “Bocksbeutel”, a rounded and flattened bottle type.

Franconia is a wine land (or German wine region) which wine enthusiast should explore. You’ll find amazing drops. Check it out.

Der Schützenhof
Mainleitenweg 48
97082 Würzburg,
Te.: +49-931-72422 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +49-931-72422      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +49-931-72422      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Korean home style cooking – 비빔밥

November 17, 2010

I am back to my recent Korean experience. Apart from the fine dining at expensive restaurants, I had also the chance of “home style cooking kind of food”. One of them is Bibimbap (비빔밥), which literally means mixed rice. The photos below show you what you can expect.

Frankly speaking I was very apprehensive when I saw what was put in front of me. The metal bowl put me right off. But, boy, this was a delicious meal, I tell you. You should definitely try it, if you visit Korea.


Every Korean meal starts with various kind of Kimchi, which are usually very tasty. The metal bowl for the Bibimbap was next. We mixed everything right through. It was a strange feeling, I must say.

The next dish was a soup.

The metal bowl for Bibimbap

Mixed in with noodles or rice

The soup

Korean beef on table grill

The beef was very tender. We wrapped it the Korean way in sesame leaves with garlic and chili paste. Just the right stuff for someone like me whose taste buds have become used to hot dishes.

Fresh sesame leaves

Meat on leaf

Makgeolli (막걸리) from a plastic bottle

We washed the food down with Korean beer and “makgeolli” (막걸리) the fermented drink on a rice-wheat basis and low alcohol (max. 7%).

Two Hills Vineyard in November

November 16, 2010

The mothballed Sauvignon Blanc block

Today, my brother in law, Michael, send me some photos from our vineyard. The above one depicts our 2 1/2 acres of Sauvignon Blanc which have been mothballed for the coming season. It look a bit wild. I will slash the grass in a few weeks.

Michael also met a snake in the grass. Is it a black or a tiger snake? Anyway, they are all poisenous.

Thanks Michael for the great photos.

Franconian treasure: Weingut Schmitt’s Kinder

November 14, 2010

2007 Randersackerer Sonnenstuhl by Schmitt’s Kinder

One of the best Franconia wineries is Schmitt’s Kinder in Randersacker, a lovely village of about 3,500 people along the Main river, about 30 minutes from Wuerzburg, the capital city of Lower Franconia.

We have visited Randersacker in 2008 and cultivate fond memories of this (much too short) visit.

The name “Schmitt’s Kinder” (in English Schmitt’s children) goes back to 1910 when the children of the vintner (Schmitt) did not, as is the custom in Lower Franconia, divide the property after the fathers death among the siblings, but instead opted to jointly cultivate the land.

The winery is currently under the management of the 10th generation of vintners: Karl Martin and Renate Marie Schmitt. The total area under vines is bout 14 ha in the locations “Randersackerer Sonnenstuhl”, “Marsberg”, “Teufelskeller”, “Pfülben” and “Ewig Leben”.

Main variety is Silvaner, followed by Riesling, Mueller-Thurgau, Scheurebe, Pinot Blanc, Bacchus, Domina and Pinot Noir.

The ‘2004 Randersackerer Sonnenstuhl Pinot Noir’ won the 2006 Pinot Noir Cup for best Pinot Noir wine of the world!!!! Can you imagine? That’s just great, a German Pinot Noir beating the best of France and Australia.

The back label, very modest and unassuming

Our friends Romy and Friedel Engisch in Wuerzburg offered exactly that wine when we visited last August. I tell you also the 2007 vintage of this Pinot Noir is first class. Amazing what Pinot Noir wines Germany can produce.

If you have the opportunity to get your hands on a bottle of this wine, do so immediately. Total production is quite limited but the price level is very reasonable.

Romy and Friedel Engisch with their guests from Bangkok

Weingut Schmitt’s Kinder
Am Sonnenstuhl 45
D-97236 Randersacker
Tel.: +49-931 / 70 59-1 97
Fax: +49- 0931 / 70 59-1 98

Restaurant review: Ocean Pine, on Jeju island

November 13, 2010

Ocean Pine seafood restaurant

It was too dark when we arrived for dinner. Therefore I could not take any good photo of the surroundings, the ocean, the cliffs, the view. But I have photos of a truly spectacular seafood dinner, maybe the best I ever had in my life. Breathtakingly delicious the food was.

Ocean Pine was the name of the seafood restaurant at the Southern coast of Jeju island. We ordered a set-menu, consisting of fish and other seafood. The pictures of my photo blog entry speak for themselves.

A tray of crockery and condiments is put before you

It starts with a soup of mussels

Followed by a piece of art

As starter some raw fish was presented to the diners

Followed by more raw fish

Some more condiments as well

A spectacular boat of assorted raw seafood was one the main dishes

Many shell fish and other delicacies

..some slugs among them

And raw fish again..

….this time, eaten the Korean way with a sesame leaf

Then the main courses were coming

A white fish

some prawns

and another fish

Abalone were the highlight of the meal

It also ends with a soup

In case someone should be still hungry, rice with fish eggs and seaweed is served

We had Korean beer with the food. I missed white wine I must admit. Here there is tremendous capacity for development on Jeju island. They could import some of our Australian wines many of which are ideal for the pairing with seafood.

I suggest you visit the island when you are in Korea next time. I also hope that many of the journalists and professionals attending the G-20 summit had the chance to check Jeju out. I will come back, for sure.

Korea: Seafood is just excellent

November 12, 2010

I hope some of the G-20 delegates in Seoul have the chance to stay on for a couple of days and go to Jeju island. This is a great place for nature lovers, famous for it’s mandarins, it’s abalone divers, it’s volcano mountain and good seafood.

You have the choice: some Korean fish or Japanese sushi? Your wish is my command. I just loved the food on the island and will show you some exceptional photos in some of my next blog entries. Stay tuned.

Delicious fish

Sushi collection

Where to eat in Seoul – Restaurant Review: Min’s Club

November 11, 2010

Tradition and…

Today Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is the host of the G-20 summit. Thousands of government officials from 20 major countries and journalists have converged on the city. The place is crowded, and very busy.

This summit is maybe one of the most contentious so far. South Korea, an OECD country, is the 13th largest economy of the world but was embedded in poverty only 50 years ago. Then per-capita income in South Korea was lower than in Nigeria, the Philippines and even North Korea. All together a different story today.

When I visited Seoul about two weeks ago, I had the chance to look around and get a feeling for this East Asian capital city. Of cause I also explored it’s culinary sides (as far as I could and my schedule allowed).

..the modern city

Seoul is a fabulous place, a modern city with many restaurants and eateries. Korean food is amazing; and distinct from other Asian cuisines. We were invited by our South Korean hosts to have dinner at Min’s Club, a Western style fusion restaurant housed in a traditional style Korean compound (the residence of Queen Min), the most beautiful surrounding one can imagine under such circumstances.

The gate

The main hall of the restaurant

The menu of the Min’s Club

Our hosts had ordered a set-menu. It started with a fabulous tuna fish – incredible, the texture and the flavours -, followed by a pea soup (also with a very intense taste), reminding me of winter days in my native Trier, Mosel.

The next dish was a mussel decorated “fine cuisine style”, followed by a white fish with lemon on a bed of vegetables. I even did not say no to the dessert, vanilla ice cream with a crusty waffle cover.

The tuna carpaccio

The pea soup

An artisan’s mussel

White fish with lemon on vegetables

Dessert: ice cream with a hat

The rice water to conclude the meal

I might have missed to photograph a couple of dishes.

Interesting was that at the end of meal, a kind of sweet rice-water was served. It balanced the stomach acids which were heavily tilted towards acidity by the many fermented vegetables consumed as side dishes.

We drank French red wine with the meal, wine from one of the many Mouton Cadet Bordeaux lines. I could not find out which one. It would have been impolite towards out hosts to ask, I guess. My picture-taking was already embarrassing enough.

Red wine cabinet

The décor

The décor of our dining room was just beautiful with lots of Chinese calligraphy, wall paper made out of fabric with flowery motives, and antique European furniture.

A very happy camper

Our dinner was very lovely with lots of interesting and stimulating discussions and conversations. What a wonderful evening. If you are in Seoul look out of Min’s Club; it’s worth it.

Min’s Club – Fusion restaurant
66-7 Kyungun-Dong Jongno-Gu (Insadong),
Seoul, South Korea
Tel.: +82-2-733-2967 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +82-2-733-2967      end_of_the_skype_highlighting (Korean only)