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!
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.
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.