Surprise surprise

October 31, 2011

Because of a technical defect of a Lufthansa aircraft I had missed my connecting flight to Bangkok and was stuck in Frankfurt for a day.

Upon my return the next day, I was surprised by a group of kids in our apartment block. The door bell rang and voila I found myself opposite a group of “Halloween”-kids (our family doesn’t do Halloween).

The kids in front of our door

Fortunately my daughters had prepared some sweets and even backed some Halloween biscuits. They tasted very nice.

PS: All photos courtesy of Lucy Adam

Wine bar Kesselstatt, Trier – Mosel

October 28, 2011

The main market place in Trier

My favourite wine bar: Kesselstatt

The view from the Kesselstatt garden

Pinot Noir from the Mosel

If you visit my home town Trier, please explore the wine bars in this beautiful old Roman town. Kesselstatt should be among them. Apart from the Mosel Riesling wines, you should also try the Pinot Noirs. The Mosel produces some of the finest Pinot Noir wines in Germany.

Eating experience in Mongolia – fast food

October 27, 2011

A long history of Mongolian civilization

Mongolia is a great place to visit. There are quite a few fast food places in Ulaan Baatar. I liked the Mongolian barbecue place. Altai was its name.

You select your ingredients and your selection will be ‘cooked” on a very hot metal “plate”.

The menu

The cook at work

The result

We drank beer with the food, neither wine nor vodka; after all it was lunchtime only. But as a bonus our host ordered a cooked sheep’s head. You need a sharp knife and off you got and cut off the piece you like. Our host wanted to expose us to “the real stuff”.

Experienced travelers cannot be shocked though.

Delicious sheep’s head

Culinary delight in Berlin – Currywurst

October 26, 2011

At Friedrichstrasse train station

One of the culinary delights in Berlin, the capital city of Germany is the curry sausage or ‘Currywurst’ in German. I could not resist and even tolerated the long lines of people waiting patiently for their turn to order this very “special” fast food.

The original Berlin “Currywurst”

It does not look as good as it tastes.
You can even have a glass of wine with it, though most people order a beer or a soft drink.

From the long queues, by the way, you can tell the quality of the sausage dish (this felt like Asia where the same rule applies). So do not worry, the service is rather fast and efficient. But try it when next in Berlin.

Restaurant review: Capital M, Beijing

October 22, 2011

City gate and Tian an men square seen from Capital M, Beijing

When in Beijing I try to visit at least two places, both my favourite destinations: Red Gate Gallery run by my old friend Brian Wallace and Capital M is a wonderful eatery located right next to the South gate of Tian an men square with a splendid terrace with a great view,. The former I visit to immerse my senses in modern Chinese art, the latter to indulge in good food and enjoy fine wines.

Both places you should visit if in Beijing.

Part of the terrace at Capital M

The menu

A picture of parts of the wine list

I was with a dear friend of mine, and we were ready for lunch after a walk around Tian an men square. We made our way to Capital M. One has a great view from the terrace. It was a sunny autumn day, just the right temperature to sit on the terrace and have lunch.

I did not feel “meaty” and ordered some greens as a starter and a seafood pasta as a main. Needless to say, the food was most delicious. Awesome, especially after days of “only” Chinese food (I do not complain, Beijing has wonderful eateries with great Chinese food), I am craving for something else.

Salad and veggies

Seafood pasta

I was delighted to find a ‘2010 Sauvignan Blanc’ by Shaw and Smith from the Adelaide Hills in South Australia.

2010 Sauvignon Blanc by Shaw and Smith

Shaw and Smith are one of the best producers of Sauvignon Blanc in Australia. The wine is bone dry. Aromas of grapefruit and lime came to my nose with some floral notes as well. It is crisp and clean. This medium bodied wine has a great balance, good acidity and a long finish.

And after lunch, a coffee

We had a very enjoyable lunch at Capital M. The service was, as always, perfect. This is value for money and if you happen to be in Beijing just check it out yourself.

Capital M
3/F, No.2 Qianmen Pedestrian Street
(just south of Tian’anmen Square)
Beijing 100051 China
邮编 100051
Tel (86 -10) 6702-2727
Fax (86-10) 6702-3737

Riesling from the Nahe – 2008 Monzinger Halenberg by Emrich-Schönleber

October 21, 2011

I love to eat fish. Red snapper is a good one. That one can prepare it with mushrooms was new to me. Alas there is Marcella Hazan and her cookery book which are always an inspiration.

Dinner in the making

Mushrooms on the fish

Unfortunately, I messed up the pictures of the food on the plate. I do not know how it happened. At times I am just too stupid to handle my new camera, it seems. Sorry folks, you have to be content with the two pictures above. I assure you that the fish was delicious. We served it with a bean salad in onions but had also some peeled tomatoes as a salad. We did not need carbohydrates.

A delicious fish, I usually enjoy with a good wine, not always white, sometimes red, but tonight it was white. From my last visit to Germany I had brought a bottle of my favourite winery in the Nahe valley, Weingut (winery) Emrich-Schönleber in Monzingen, a small village next to where my grandfather used to live (Martinstein) and where I spent almost all my school holidays.

The winery Emrich-Schönleber is one of the best wineries in the Nahe region and in Germany. It is famous for its dry and off-dry Riesling wines, mainly from the locations Halenberg and Fruehlingsplaetzchen. I usually visit them coming straight from the airport during my annual sommer break or home leave as it is called.

It is hard for a German Riesling lover who resides in Bangkok to find good Riesling wines. I am spoiled in this, I know.

But look at this colour? Golden, pure, with a fragrance of delicious grape fruit and citrus flavours. It has some residual sugar, so it’s not bone dry but the wine is creamy and dense, round and full, with good structure and a wonderful long finish.

It stays on the palate. If you ask me, it could stay there for ages. I was in paradise for the duration of the meal and woke up to the hard reality: no more Riesling from Emrich-Schönleber in my wine fridge.

Sigh, life can be hard.

2008 Monzinger Halenberg R by Emrich-Schönleber

Weingut Emrich-Schönleber
Soonwaldstraße 10a
D-55569 Monzingen
Tel.: +49-67 51-27 33
Fax: +49-67 51-48 64

Mongolia – how to cook a meal in the steppe

October 19, 2011

The Mongolian grasslands

My work kept me so busy that I was even too tired in the evenings to update my beloved Man from Mosel River blog. After such a long absence I find it hard to get back to my writing.

Today I revisited the photos I took while travelling in Mongolia a couple of weeks ago. The waste grasslands made a deep impression on me. I greatly admired the hospitality of the Mongolians.

Almost a cliche: a lone rider with his horses traversing the grasslands

Cooking in these circumstances, maybe in a ger (yurt, a Mongolian felt tent), but more likely somewhere out there looking after the herds, is not an easy undertaking. One does not have the kitchen and cooking utensils necessary to prepare a gourmet meal.

The more I was surprised to learn about the “magic of the milk can”-cooking method. Alas there is human ingenuity.

This is how it goes:

One drops a couple of hot stones (usually larger river pebbles) in an old milk can (which were used in the good old days in our dairies), stuffs it with potatoes, cabbage and chunks of meat (mutton and beef), and closes the lid tightly for about 30 minutes, and voilà: the meal is ready.

I was told that a famous master chef confirmed that he had never eaten a better cooked piece of beef in his life.

The photos below give you an idea what it looks like.

It is an exciting moment when the cans are opened and they reveal their secret.

It looks a bit rough

But served on the table it regains stature, especially when Russian bubbly is on offer

A beautiful meal is waiting for us

..with some preserved vegetables…

..and potatoes and white cabbage as staples

PS: It was a delicious meal, I must say. I have to get used to the way the Mongolians cut their meat.

Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to taste the Russian sparkling wine. It was given to the women; we men drank vodka, of course.

What do you expect in Mongolia?

GranMonte Estate – 2009 Sakuna Rosé

October 9, 2011

“New latitude wines”, is a catchphrase coined in 2004 by Bangkok based wine writer Frank Norel.

For a long time the tropics were not considered suitable for the production of grape vine. The territory between latitude 30 and 50 were vintners “nowhere land”, so to speak.

This has certainly changed over the last decade. Nowadays grapes are grown in places like Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Brazil, and of course Thailand.

In November this year (12.-18.11.) already the 3rd International Symposium on Tropical Wine will be held in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Beautiful colour – Rosé is ideal for the hot days in Bangkok

So far, I have visited about half of the Thai wineries. I love the wines produces by GranMonte Estate, a Thai wine producer from the Khao Yai wine region in the Asoke valley.

GranMonte is a family business and boutique vineyard. At this years Decanter World Wine Awards GranMonte won two silver and one bronze medals. This is recognition of the hard work of Nikki and her parents, Sakuna and Visooth Lohitnavy.

GranMonte Estate – 2009 Sakuna Rosé

Recently I discovered that I had “forgotten” a bottle of 2009 Sakuna Rosé in my wine fridge. Since it was a beautiful sunny day, the GranMonte Rosé wine was my natural choice to accompany our lunch.

Thai wines lend themselves to be paired with Thai food as well. The high acidity of the whites is a good requisite for such food and wine pairing. The Colombard and Chenin Blanc varieties are doing well in the tropics and are producing stunning examples of New Latitude Wines. But also Syrah and Cabernet are doing well.

The back label advised to consume the bottle within one year. Oh, I thought, it’s 2011 now and the wine was from 2009! Would it be too late?

Alas, it turned out that the bottle was perfectly fine. The Rosé made from Syrah grapes tasted fresh and fruity as the previous bottles I had served.

In an earlier blog entry I have described how to get to GranMonte Family Vineyard. The winery is definitely worth a visit. The trip from Bangkok to the Asoke valley takes less than two hours. However, I do know how the current monster floods have affected the region and the roads to get there. Maybe the end of the rainy season is a better time for a visit.

Luckily there is shop in Bangkok where you can get the GranMonte wines.

Granmonte Co,Ltd.
17 / 8 Soi Sukhumvit 6, Sukhumvit Road,
Klongtoey, Bangkok 10110
Tel : +66-2653-1522 Fax : +66-2653-1977
Mb. : +66-8-9169-7766

Address at Khao Yai
Granmonte Vineyard & Wines
52 Moo 9 Phayayen, Pakchong,
Nakornrachasima, Thailand
Tel : +66-36-227-334-5

Pinot Noir from the Yarra Valley with Peking Duck

October 8, 2011

The beautiful “off-red” colour of a Pinot Noir

Well, I gave it almost away in the title of this blog entry.
Yes, it is a Pint Noir and yes, it comes from the Yarra Valley in Victoria.

But please answer me:

Mirror mirror on the wall which is my favourite wine of them all? ,

asks the wicked queen alias “the critical consumer of fine wines”?

Well, the answer is just below; on my wine cabinet so to speak.

Can you identify the producer?

I guess now you can.

2009 Bloody Hill Mayer Vineyard Pinot Noir

And yes, you are right, this is an awesome wine from the Yarra Valley, the eastern part of which has a truly cold climate. Timo Mayer is a great wine-maker. In his boutique vineyard near Healesville he produces outstanding fruit. His philosophy of minimum interference in wine-making does the rest and out of this comes a wonderful product of a vintners craftsmanship.

The bottle has DIAM cork, the real thing

It is just a shame that we cannot get this wine here in Bangkok.

In the UK, Ireland and in Germany you can order it.

By the way, right now Timo is on a sales tour in Europe. On September 28th he was special guest at the K&U Weinhalle, a wine merchant in Nuernberg. There is a nice story about Timo written by Martin Koesler.

Our Sunday lunch table with the Peking duck

PS: We made the Peking Duck ourselves. It was a beautiful feast on a warm tropical Sunday. Timo’s Pinot Noir is an ideal wine also with Asian food. The proof is in the eating and drinking. Trust me I know what I am talking about.

Which distributor in Asia is interested? Now is the time….

Wine village Kasel, Ruwer – Mosel Riesling at its best

October 7, 2011

This is the coat of arms of Kasel, a small village located at ther Ruwer river not far from my beloved Trier. The Ruwer river is one of the tributaries to the Mosel.

Originally our wine region was called ‘Mosel-Saar-Ruwer’ which named the two smaller rivers explicitely.

Grape vines all over the place

The slopes around Kasel are planted with grape vines

The Pauliner Landgasthof is part of Weingut von Nell

Von Nell Estate – Weingut von Nell

The newly refurbished Pauliner Hof is part of the Weingut von Nell.

We wanted to check it out and dropped in for lunch on a beautiful late summer’s day. The sky was blue and the Ruwer valley showed its most beautiful side.

I must say that I love this country inn right in the middle of Kasel, the lovely wine village.

During our high school days my brother Wolfgang and his friends used to help in vintage time and picked grapes at the steep slopes in the vineyards of the Von Nell Estate.

The interior of the inn is light and bright. The air well is covered by a glass roof and the subdivisions with rod iron and sheets of textiles give it a warm feeling. The big olive tree right in the middle of the restaurant gives the place a mediterranean flair. The service was excellent.

We had pork nuckle and a delicious mushroom dish, great German country food in my view.

Pork knuckel

The mushroom stew

My old folks

A shot of the wine list

I had an estate grown Riesling of course. The ‘2010 Kaseler Dominkanerberg Hochgewaechs’ was a very nice and fresh house wine, something for easy drinking and enjoyment with hearty country food. I just wish I would have access to it here in Bangkok (sight). Well, one cannot have it all.

The Ruwer valley is a true jewel, you should go there and check it out.

Pauliner Hof
Bahnhofstraße 41
54317 Kasel
Tel +49-651-9679090
Fax +49-651-96790916