In Vino Ver­i­tas

Tough job, but some­one had to do it. Hilda Hoy set out to de­cant Berlin’s very best spots for wine. Cheers to that!

Where Berlin - - Contents - BY HILDA HOY

De­cant Berlin's best spots for wine, from Italy to France and quaint, old-fash­ioned Ger­man cel­lars.

Wine is a con­stant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy,” Ben­jamin Franklin wrote in 1779, his ebullient words no doubt fu­elled by a glass or two of a full-bod­ied red.

As far back as Bib­li­cal days and beyond, wine has been at the fo­cal point of many a culi­nary cul­ture around the world, in­spir­ing po­etry, trig­ger­ing en­coun­ters, and bring­ing peo­ple to­gether. Berlin has no short­age of fan­tas­tic wine bars for en­joy­ing fine reds, whites, rosés, or some­thing bub­bly. Here are some fa­vorites, star­ring bot­tles from Ger­many’s vine­yards and beyond.

PROST!

Given that Rutz restau­rant (Chausseestr. 8, www.rutz-wein­bar.de, p.52) has been awarded a Miche­lin star, it’s not sur­pris­ing that its in-house wine bar is world class as well. If the ex­haus­tive 54-page wine list is

a lit­tle daunt­ing, the som­me­lier is ready to dis­till down the op­tions – or let the menu’s list of staff fa­vorites be your guide. (For the record, som­me­lier Christoph Geyler’s pick is a 2011 Ger­man Ries­ling from the Peter-Jakob Kühn vine­yard in Rhein­gau.) Wines can be en­joyed ei­ther up­stairs in the Miche­lin-starred restau­rant or in the ground-floor wine bar, which of­fers its own menu of re­fined Ger­man cui­sine.

Cor­do­bar (Große Ham­burger Str. 32, www. cor­do­bar.net) only opened in 2013 but has quickly be­come a fast fa­vorite amongst Berlin’s wine fans, one of the most fa­mous be­ing lo­cal star chef and restau­ra­teur Tim Raue. The wine list spe­cial­izes in Ger­man and Aus­trian wines, plus some from France and else­where, while a chang­ing menu of “cold bites” and “warm bites” el­e­vates a night at Cor­do­bar into a full gourmet

ex­pe­ri­ence. Think op­tions like sal­mon carpac­cio with peach, grilled lamb hearts, or pizza with blood sausage, beets, and wasabi.

For a quirkier but no less charm­ing ex­plo­ration of Ger­man wine, visit Char­lot­ten­burg’s Kurp­falz We­in­stuben (Wilmers­dor­fer Str. 93, www.kurp­falzwe­in­stuben.de). Time seems to have stood still at this quaint, old-fash­ioned Ger­man wine cel­lar, which dates back more than 75 years. The fine wines and tra­di­tional cui­sine stem from the Palati­nate re­gion in south­west Ger­many, and re­gional dishes like Sauma­gen (stuffed pig’s stom­ach) round out the cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence. To dis­cover a more mod­ern take on Ger­man wine her­itage, Char­lot­ten­burg is also home

to Ru­dolf's Wein­bar (Kne­se­beck­str. 16, www.rudolf­swein­bar.de, p.53), a brand-new spot just off Sav­i­gny­platz. The thor­ough se­lec­tion of lo­cal wines is matched with a menu of up­dated Ger­man dishes and in­ter­na­tional del­i­ca­cies, avail­able as both full por­tions or small plates. The aim is to let guests sip, sa­vor, and nib­ble their way through a wealth of tastes.

VIVA IL VINO

Few coun­tries have a wine her­itage like Italy’s. For a re­fined Ital­ian enoteca wine bar ex­pe­ri­ence, head out west to Il Cal­ice (Wal­ter-Ben­jamin-Platz 4, www.enoite­cail-cal­ice.de). The Ital­ian wines avail­able in the restau­rant and ad­ja­cent shop are se­lected with the high­est stan­dards, and the restau­rant’s menu of home­made pasta, grilled meats, and di­verse an­tipasti more than do the fine wines jus­tice. Muret

la Barba in Mitte (Rosen­thaler Str. 61, www.muret­labarba.de) is part wine shop, part restau­rant, its walls lined with 200 ex­cel­lent wine va­ri­eties sourced from 16 re­gions across Italy. Ta­bles are in­ter­spersed through­out the space where guests can not only en­joy a chang­ing menu of de­li­cious Ital­ian lunch and din­ner spe­cials, but also se­lect their bot­tle of choice straight off the shelf and en­joy it with their meal for a small cork­ing fee.

AH, LA FRANCE!

If any­one can ri­val Italy in wine pas­sion, it’s France. At Chez Mau­rice (Böt­zow­str. 39, chez-mau­rice.com) in Pren­zlauer Berg, Mau­rice is more than happy to serve as am­bas­sador for the Gal­lic wine her­itage. More than 200 French wines, with a par­tic­u­lar fo­cus on the Bordeaux and Bur­gundy re­gions, are avail­able for pur­chase in the wine shop and served in the restau­rant. The menu of clas­sic French spe­cial­ties like es­car­gots, onion soup au

gratin, and Boeuf bour­guignon goes per­fectly with those bold red vin­tages. For an equally great dish of Boeuf

bour­guignon, pay a visit to Les Cli­mats (Pohlstr. 75, www.lescli­mats.com) where the owner has cho­sen to spe­cial­ize almost ex­clu­sively in French bot­tles from Bur­gundy be­cause "No other re­gion... pro­vides such a va­ri­ety of wines." En­joy light meals of quiche and cheese plat­ters un­der the dan­gling chan­de­lier of wine bot­tles and the sunny vine­yards of France may feel closer than ever. Only one dilemma re­mains: so much great wine; so lit­tle time.

Les Cli­mats is the place to

go for Bur­gundy wines.

Ital­ian wines are the spe­cialty at Muret La Barba.

Ger­man wines fill the shelves to the ceil­ing at Cor­do­bar.

The tra­di­tional set­ting of the Kurp­falz We­in­stuben.

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